March 29 2023
Today, Wednesday March 29
God’s Disobedient Servant
“My enemies speak evil of me: "When will he die, and his name perish?" And if he comes to see me, he speaks lies; His heart gathers iniquity to itself; When he goes out, he tells it. All who hate me whisper together against me; Against me they devise my hurt. "An evil disease," they say, "clings to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more." Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.”
Remember 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. 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.
The first question had to do with his integrity and how we treat others (vv.1-4). Today, we will look at the second question in verses 5-9. This question deals with the treachery and deceit of others and how they treat us. The greatest hurts and pain in life usually comes from people around us, and it especially hurts when they appear to be a close friend or family member, but we find out that they have been secretly against us and are really someone who hates us.
Well, this is exactly what happened to David. It wasn't enough that David was sick in bed, but he also had to deal with treachery among his own family and friends, including men like Ahithophel, his official counselor, who sided with Absalom. It might surprise you to know that Ahithophel was Bathsheba's grandfather, and he no doubt secretly hated David for what he did to her and to her husband Uriah. You find this relationship in 2 Samuel 11:3, “… And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Along with 2 Samuel 23:34, in the listing of David’s thirty mighty men: “…Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite”.
When you read these verses (vv. 5-9), you see how these false friends visited the king and lied to him ("We hope you'll get well soon"), but they really wanted David to die and even plotted against him. They knew that if Absalom became king, that would be the end of the Davidic dynasty, for Absalom had no son (2 Sam. 18:18). God promised David that his descendants would sit on the throne of Israel forever (2 Sam. 7:11-16), a promise ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Luke 1:31-33). David was gifted at reading people (2 Sam. 14:17-20) and knew the truth.
Psalm 41 is also considered a Messianic Psalm because Jesus used verse 9 when referring to the traitor Judas (John 13:18-19; Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:18; Luke 22:21; Acts 1:16-20). You read similar phrases that make this connection in Psalm 55:12-14; 69:25; and 109:8. We should note that our Lord didn't quote the phrase "whom I trusted" from verse 9, for He knew that Judas had no saving faith (John 6:70-71).
This psalm opens with a statement about the poor, and Judas tried to identify himself with the poor (John 12:4-6; 13:26-30), but he was really a selfish thief. David's enemies wanted the king's name to perish, but it was Judas who destroyed a good name. "Judah," which means "praise." We call our sons David, but we would never call a son Judas. You can read 2 Samuel 16:15-17:23 for Ahithophel's part in the rebellion. The phrase "lifted up his heel" pictures a deceptive and underhanded attack.
We need to remember that even “Satan is God’s disobedient servant”. Remember Job’s friends. God allows the deceit and treachery of others around us to test and try our faith. And we soon realize that we need to always keep our eyes on Jesus as the One who will never betray us or forsake us! (Hebrews 12:1-6)
I trust that if you are going through this kind of suffering today, you will be encouraged to read the parting words of Paul to the church at Rome: “For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:19-20).