Psalm 41 to 44
Once again this Psalm begins, vs 1-3, with the lesson that the Psalmist has learnt from his own experience, which he narrates from verses 4-9.
Here he shares how it feels to be bedridden with some kind of sickness and to have people who visit you appear to be friendly and sympathetic in your presence, whilst in their hearts, and behind your back, they slander you and believe the worst about how your sickness will end. Enemies, haters and even a close friend, seems to have turned against him, vs 4-9, and while he, himself acknowledges that he has sinned against the Lord, there is nothing left for him to do except repent of his sin and plead to God for mercy, vs 4,10!
As he does this, He becomes confident that God is once again pleased with him and so his enemies won’t be able to triumph over him and his sickness will not end in death as they expected, vs 11, and all this, simply because he has been honest about his sin, as a result of which he now has permanent access into God’s presence once again, vs 12. For this benevolence that he experiences from God, he concludes that the God of Israel deserves praise in future and forevermore, vs 13.
Now, as he ponders on this experience of his, he comes to an amazing revelation, which he shares right at the beginning of the Psalm, in verses 1-3. He realises that no matter what the reason be for another man’s difficult circumstances, it is not for us to judge him in our hearts, even if he may be suffering because of some sth and even if he may have committed that sin against us, vs 1! For as we maintain such a good heart’s attitude towards others, and even towards our enemies, in their hour of need, Romans 12:20,21, God will deliver us in our time of trouble as well, vs 1, and will bless and protect us and save our lives, and will not turn us over to our enemies, vs 2, but instead support us on our sickbed and completely heal us from our illnesses, vs 3.
As we ponder on the revelation that the Psalmist got, let us be wise and learn from his experience and do likewise, so that it may go well with us even as God so desires it to go, for each one of us!
This Psalm is said to be a Maschil, which means that it is a Psalm that ‘instructs’ or makes to understand’.
The Psalmist is recounting the stories told to them by their fathers, as to how God, in days gone by, delivered them from their enemies, and that too not by sword or by their own strength, but by the Lord’s mighty right arm and on account of His favour, vs.1-3. So, the Psalmist is now encouraged to ask the Lord to command deliverances for them too, in their generation, and so, is confident of them pushing down their enemies as they determine not to trust in their own bow or sword to save them, vs 4-8, but in God alone.
However, to his shock and surprise, things did not turn out for them as he anticipated! On the contrary, they retreated from their enemies, lost much spoil in the battle and were left rejected and embarrassed, vs 9,10!
It seemed like they were handed over like sheep led to be slaughtered, sold and scattered among the Nations for just a pittance, while being taunted, insulted and ridiculed by a vindictive enemy, vs 11-16.
And, all this happened to them even though they were faithful to God’s covenant and commandments, vs 17-22, and were not idolators at all! They end the Psalm with a plea to God to arouse Himself on their behalf and no longer ignore the way that they were oppressed and mistreated, but rather to rise up and rescue them on account of His loyal love, 23-26. Surely, there have been times when we have felt similarly too.
Times when we have followed God wholeheartedly, to the best of our knowledge, and yet, have seemingly been rejected, humiliated and set aside by God for no valid reason whatsoever! Would you believe me, if I told you that we are in good company, if we have ever felt like that!
This is simply because Jesus and the Apostle Paul had such experiences too, when God chose them to be beaten, rejected and ostracized for no fault of theirs, but, only because, that was the only way for blessing to flow to many others, Isaiah 53:3-7,10,11; 2Corinthians 4:8-15; Romans 8:36; Philippians 1:29.
How then should we respond in such circumstances? God’s Word tells us that we should be exceedingly glad and rejoice, Mathew 5:11,12; never returning evil for evil, but a blessing instead, 1 Peter 3:9,16; always keeping a clear conscience, 1Peter 3:16; and entrusting ourselves unto God who judges righteously, 1 Peter 2:23.
If we do so faithfully, by God’s grace, we will find that not only will we ourselves be blessed, but blessing will flow to many others too, for momentary light suffering will produce for us an eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison, 2 Corinthians 4:17, just as it was in the lives of Jesus and Paul!