March 28 2023
Today, Tuesday March 28
Leaning on God’s Promises
“Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed. I said, "LORD, be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You."
In today’s video chat you might notice the white paper taped on my desk behind me. My granddaughter Abigail has been in my office and posted a note: “I love you so so so so so so so so so so so so much Paw Paw, Abigail Grooms - Can you find three hearts near your desk?” Well, I found two. I will have to ask her later today where is the third one! How sweet is that? She and her sister Alyssa are visiting us on spring break.
David is writing Psalm 41 during a very difficult time in his life. It is the last of the four Psalms that close out Book One in the book of Psalms that were born out of his time of dealing with the rebellion of his son Absalom and the betrayal of his counselor and friend Ahithophel. David was prompted by these circumstances to take spiritual inventory and basically ask himself four questions in this Psalm.
The first question had to do with his integrity and how we treat others (vv.1-4). Before we can claim God's promises, we must examine our own hearts to see if we have sincerely met the conditions the Lord had laid down. David no doubt based his prayer on the stipulations given in the covenant (Lev. 26:1-13; Deut. 7:13-16; 28:1-14). He knew that he had no right to claim mercy from the Lord if he himself had not shown mercy to others. “Blesses is he who considers the poor…” (v. 1).
Most of God’s promises to His people are conditional. In other words, God promises to do something on our behalf if we have hearts of integrity in keeping His commandments. Even in the New Testament the Lord Jesus taught us in the Beatitudes, that “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). In Psalm 18:25, David had previously written when he was fleeing from Saul, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful….”.
No doubt these promises were foremost in David’s mind as he is looking to the LORD for help in this difficult time. David had fully obeyed the Lord's rules and had shown mercy to King Saul, to Saul's grandson Mephibosheth, and to the needy in the land. (See Matt. 5:7 and Luke 6:37-38.) "Poor" refers to the helpless, the miserable people whose lot was difficult and who depended on the help of others. To "consider" these pitiable people meant being attentive to their needs and assisting them. It also meant not judging and blaming them, as Job's friends blamed him, and the disciples blamed the blind man (John 9:1-4).
We have every reason to believe that David sought to care for the poor and needy in his kingdom and therefore was praying with integrity. Notice it said, “considers the poor”. To consider the poor involves more than just giving them some money, food or clothing. It means that we consider what their real needs are and take time to help them. Remember the old saying, “You can feed a man a fish and feed him for a day. Or you can teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime”. Have we truly considered the poor?
In verse 1, David referred to himself in the third person, a true mark of his humility before the Lord. In verses 2-3, he listed the blessings God would send because he confessed his sins and asked God to be merciful to him (v. 4). God would protect him from his enemies and prolong his life in the land. That in itself would bear witness to his enemies that David was a man favored by God. God would also heal him of his sickness and raise him up from the sickbed. "Sustain him on his sickbed" (v. 3) simply means "heal him and raise him up." This would be the gracious and merciful act of the Lord, undeserved by David but lovingly granted by Jehovah.
"If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Psalm 66:18), so it's important that we confess our sins to the Lord. If we haven't been merciful to others, how can our heart be right to ask Him for mercy? (James 2:13).