Psalms 41

Psalm 41

O Lord, Be Gracious to Me

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

41   Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
    In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
  the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
    he is called blessed in the land;
    you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
  The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
    in his illness you restore him to full health.
  As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me;
    heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
  My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die, and his name perish?”
  And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
    while his heart gathers iniquity;
    when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
  All who hate me whisper together about me;
    they imagine the worst for me.
  They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
    he will not rise again from where he lies.”
  Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
    who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
  But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
    and raise me up, that I may repay them!
  By this I know that you delight in me:
    my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
  But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
    and set me in your presence forever.
  Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
      Amen and Amen.


Psalm 41 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The timeless and inspired Word of God never ceases to amaze us. It has the ability to speak to the situation in context while also providing truth for generations to come. We see this characteristic clearly in Psalm 41.

At the time of the writing, David was struggling with practical issues. He is physically ill and mentally unstable. He is emotionally weary. People are gossiping about him and slandering his name. He is being manipulated by those who pretend to be his friend. Even his so-called best friend has abandoned him and turned against him. He is experiencing one of the most trying times of his life as he is facing a depressing and hopeless situation. His only chance of rescue is at the hands of God.

All of us have been here. This is why I love this writing style so much. It is specific to a particular time in history but the psalmist is general enough to make it applicable to many different scenarios. We know from history that David’s enemies did not conquer him. God did come to his rescue time and time again. But this psalm has prophetic value as well. Read over the words of these verses and think about Jesus’ life.

All who hate me whisper together about me; they plan to harm me. [8] “Something awful has overwhelmed him, and he won’t rise again from where he lies!” [9] Even my friend in whom I trusted, one who ate my bread, has raised his heel against me. [10] But you, LORD, be gracious to me and raise me up; then I will repay them. [11] By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.

Psalms 41:7-11 CSB

Jesus’ enemies conspired against him. They devised a wicked plan to kill him and eliminate his ministry. Even His close friend Judas Iscariot, the one who “ate bread with him” turned his back on Jesus. In fact, Jesus referred to Judas as “friend” at the very moment He was betrayed.

And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

Matthew 26:50 NASB

In John 13, Jesus directly quotes Psalm 41 by referring to the one who would betray him.

“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’

John 13:18 NASB

This is a frequent occurrence in Scripture. There is often a situation described in the OT which has immediate ramifications for the present time (David) but also alludes to a future event in the NT (Jesus). Of course, it also carries a timeless application for all of us who are reading it today.

The obvious and practical application is that some of us are experiencing betrayal right now. This psalm offers encouragement to the faithful believer who has been slandered. It speaks toward Christ who “raises us up and seats us in heavenly places” (Eph 2:6) despite our current circumstances. But the other application is simply how Scripture has the ability to offer us timeless treasures of wisdom during life’s most difficult moments. This provides undeniable assurance that when we open the Scriptures with a humble heart, we will find exactly what we need.

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