The first part of the book of Psalms ends with this Psalm. Here, the Psalmist was clear in His conscience to declare that his life pleased God. This Psalm teaches us that everyone around us might be traitors and encourages us to live according to the standards of God, despite the snares placed by the schemers. One can not become an expert driver by navigating alone on traffic-free roads. One should learn to drive on the chaotic road, where offenders drive hazardously. Hence, the role of traitors is equally essential in our lives to ascertain whether our lives please God. Jesus told His disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Jesus is not feeding the wolves but training us to conquer wolves. He asks us to be shrewd and, at the same time, to remain innocent. Indeed, it is a rare phenomenon of blending evil and good. Jesus took the evil of the whole universe and amalgamated it with the love of God on the Cross.
The LORD Protects and Preserves
Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;Psalms 41:1-3 (NIV)
the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.
The LORD protects and preserves them—
they are counted among the blessed in the land—
he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
The LORD sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.
The Psalmist limited the protecting hands of God to the people who regard the weak. David would have kept in mind the destiny of the kings who worshiped gods other than the true God and did not abide within the jurisdiction of God. He might have narrated his healing experience from God whenever he was kind to the poor. Whenever he regarded the poor, God might have rescued him from his enemies and healed him from the consequences of sin.
God uniquely protects each person, and one can not generalize His actions from the perspective of their experience. God’s ways are higher than our ways. Indeed, God heals the sick, irrespective of their kind actions. Jesus healed the ears of the soldier who came to arrest Him. God saved us while we did not know how to care for the poor. God demonstrates His love for us in this: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Our kind deeds do not count for our healing but lead us to deserve what we did not merit.
False Spreads Around
I said, “Have mercy on me, LORD;Psalms 41:4-6 (NIV)
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die and his name perish? ”
When one of them comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it around.
Here the Psalmist was pleading for God’s mercy after sinning against Him. Often we assume that we are erring against people and society but do not realize that we are sinning against God. Understanding this truth helps us come to God to seek His pardon rather than longing for forgiveness from people. It also curtails us from sinning deliberately.
God revealed to David, in his sick bed, the true color of his friends and relatives, and David called them his enemies. In today’s scenario, friendship dominates our society, and churches miss out on knowing God because of their fellowships. The Psalmist understood the vicious hearts of his associates that they were waiting for him to die, and their perspective of his sickness came to his knowledge.
The LORD says: Cursed is the one who trusts in the flesh and draws strength from mere men, and whose heart turns away from the LORD (Jeremiah 17:5). In our sick bed, God draws us back to Him by revealing to us whom our trust is on. Is anyone else more trustworthy than our God?
All my enemies whisper together against me;Psalms 41:7-9
they imagine the worst for me, saying,
“A vile disease has afflicted him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned against me.
The Psalmist further explained his miserable state amidst the conspirators. In this world, we should trust God because none others are trustworthy. We will not rely on anyone if we put our trust in God. The Bible teaches us not to trust people but asks us to love them; because God loves everyone despite our demerits. People around us expect us to stick with some or the other problem, and they derive pleasure from our helpless situation.
This Psalm, while reminding the action of Judas Iscariot, also throws light on Judas-like characters around us. Jesus did not come to this world to learn about what we suffer but to save us, knowing well of our situations. When we believe that Jesus took all our sins, diseases, and curses on the Cross, we should also remember that Jesus eradicated the role of traitors from our lives by teaching us to trust Him. Jesus resolved every untoward circumstance of our lives right from the beginning of His journey towards Calvary to the end of death on the Cross. Hence, traitors do not separate the love of God from us but help us lean on Him to cherish His unconditional love.
But may you have mercy on me, LORD;Psalms 41:10-12
raise me up, that I may repay them.
I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me.
Because of my integrity you uphold me
and set me in your presence forever.
Every time David attributed his success to the unconditional love of God. He was particular that he should not be ashamed in front of his enemies. David continued to believe that his life pleased God. He reasoned his integrity for the intervention of God during the need of the hour. Nevertheless, integrity paves the way for a healthy relationship with our heavenly Father.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of his reverent submission (Hebrews 5:7). When the sins of the world disconnected the Son from His Father, His integrity gave Him the boldness to call upon God to save Him from the snares of satan to save every human subsequently.
Do we maintain our integrity beyond doubt to call our heavenly Father while forsaken by our friends and relatives? Do we have the integrity to call on His name when the darkness of this world blurs our eyes at the time of our last breath?
God, Thank you for not letting the predators devour us. Praise be to the LORD, the God our Father, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.