March 30 2023
Today, Thursday March 30
A Plea For Mercy and Grace
“But You, O LORD, be merciful to me, and raise me up, That I may repay them. By this I know that You are well pleased with me, Because my enemy does not triumph over me. As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And set me before Your face forever. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.”
As we close our meditations on Psalm 41, we need to remember that David is writing Psalm 41 during a very difficult time in his life. It is the last of the four Psalms (38, 39, 40, 41), that closes out Book One in the book of Psalms. They 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. All four of these questions deal with our relationships with God and others.
Years ago, I heard someone say, “When God created Abel, He created an individual. But when God created Eve, He created society.” When you think about it, life is really all about relationships. First and foremost, it is about our relationship with God, and secondly our relationship with others around us. The first and great commandment teaches us that our greatest responsibility is to; “Love the LORD your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength, and with all of your mind… and the second is like it, (of equal importance), you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ((Matt. 22:37-40; Luke 10:27).
That is why these four questions are so important. They deal with how do we treat others (vv. 1-4)? How do others treat us (vv. 5-9)? How does God treat us (vv. 10-12)? And how do we treat God (v. 13)? We are all on a spiritual journey, and as on any journey, you must know where you are before you can take the next step in going to where you should be. David wanted to please and glorify the LORD (vv. 11, 13), and that should be our goal also.
How does God treat us (vv. 10-12)? God in His mercy doesn't give us what we do deserve, and God in His grace gives us what we don't deserve, and He does this because of Jesus Christ His Son who died for us on the cross. David prayed for mercy because he knew he had sinned (v. 4). He also affirmed his integrity (v. 12), for he had walked before the Lord in humility and submission (Psalm 7:8; 18:19-25; 25:21; 78:72). When David was confronted with his sins, he confessed them and sought the face of the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13). David wanted mercy for himself but not for his enemies, except for his son Absalom (2 Sam. 18:5). Why? Because his enemies (especially Absalom) had committed treason against the Lord's chosen and anointed king. This was not a personal vendetta on David's part, but a concern for the future of the nation of Israel and the dynasty of David. As ruler of the land, David wielded the sword of justice (Rom. 13:1-4), which is God’s way of maintaining order, security, and peace in any society.
But more than anything else, David wanted to please God (v. 11). (See also; Psalms 18:19; 22:8; 35:27; 2 Sam. 15:26). He had confidence that the Lord would heal him, restore him to the throne, and deal with those who opposed him. Even more, he was certain that one day he would be in the presence of the Lord and serve in His holy courts in heaven forever; “And set me before Your face forever (v. 12). (See also Psalms 16:11; 17:15; 21:6; 101:7; and 2 Sam. 7:16).
Verse 13 deals with how we treat God. It is possible that this verse was added later by an editor to mark the end of book one of the Psalms. Each of the first four books ends with a similar doxology (Psalms 72:18-20; 89:52; 106:48), and Book Five ends with a praise psalm (150). Verse 13 reminds us that the main thing in our lives must be the eternal praise and glory of the Lord. "Hallowed be thy name" is the first request in the Disciple's Prayer (Matthew 6:9), and it governs all the other requests. God answers prayer, not to make us more comfortable, but to bring glory to His name.
The Lord still had more work for David to do, particularly the preparation for the building of the temple, and for His glory that one day would move into that holy sanctuary (1 Kings 8:1-11). We all have more work to do for the Lord Jesus and for His glory! Can we also honestly say, "Amen and amen!" to the prayer in verse 13?