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Psalm 41 June 7, 2019

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Psalm 41.

Summary: In this passage, David asserts that those who seek the best interests of the less fortunate are “lucky bums” – as God will enable them to defeat severe illness and their enemies.

He then draws strength from this assertion, as he is severely ill; moreover, his enemies – including a close friend – delight in his condition and anticipate his demise. Thus, he prays that God would enable him to defeat his illness and his enemies – while reaffirming his confidence in Him.

He concludes with a doxology.

Thoughts: In verse 9, David bemoans the fact that a close friend has betrayed him. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point:

“The man of my peace,” so runs the original, with whom I had no differences, with whom I was in league, who had before ministered to my peace and comfort. This was Iscariot with our Lord: an apostle, admitted to the privacy of the great Teacher. The kiss of the traitor wounded our Lord’s heart as much as the nail wounded his hand.

Who was this close friend who chose to betray David? My (admittedly hazy) recollection of 1 and 2 Samuel spurred me to compile the following short list of hypotheses:

  • Jonathan; this would be odd, as we have no record of Jonathan betraying David
  • Absalom; this would also be odd, as it would seem more natural for David to refer to Absalom as his “son,” not a “close friend”
  • King Saul; I am most intrigued by this hypothesis.

A complicating factor is that we do not know when this betrayal occurred. Thus, I hope to meet David in the next life and probe him on this point.

This psalm concludes with a brief doxology. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point:

So let it surely, firmly, and eternally be. Thus the people joined in the psalm by a double shout of holy affirmation; let us unite in it with all our hearts. This last verse may serve for the prayer of the universal church in all ages, but none can sing it so sweetly as those who have experienced as David did the faithfulness of God in times of extremity.

This psalm marks the end of Book 1 of the Psalms. Overall I would say that I have mixed feelings after completing this “mini-stroll.” Some passages – especially those where David extols the wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God in creating and sustaining the universe – spur me to praise and glorify Him. Other passages – especially those where David makes sweeping assertions concerning the goodness of God towards His people – spur me to wrestle with Him. I am curious as to how my feelings on the Psalms will evolve as I stroll through Book 2.

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