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FRAMEWORKS: Psalm 41: Failure, Conflict & Prayer


For the director of music. A psalm of David.


[Preliminary Comments: A song of David when he is under conviction of sin [v.4]. Various views are taken of v.1 – a) that God delivers the weak, b) that God blesses those who look after the weak. v.1a could therefore be taken to act as a rebuke to his enemies and wayward friend of v.5-9. David is very much aware of them [v.10b] but pleads with the Lord to help him in his confidence that God is for him [v.11,12] and is worthy of praise [v.13]. It is a psalm about failure, conflict and feeling down because of it, and yet having confidence in the midst of it to pray.]


v.1-3 The Lord blesses the Merciful: a declaration of truth


v.1  Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
    the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
v.2  The Lord protects and preserves them—
    they are counted among the blessed in the land—
    he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
v.3  The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
    and restores them from their bed of illness.


v.4 David, again aware of his sin cries to the Lord to have mercy


v.4  I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord;
    heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

v.5-9 His enemies – and even close friend – are against him


v.5  My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die and his name perish?”
v.6  When one of them comes to see me,
    he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
    then he goes out and spreads it around.

v.7  All my enemies whisper together against me;
    they imagine the worst for me, saying,
v.8  “A vile disease has afflicted him;
    he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
v.9  Even my close friend,
    someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
    has turned against me.


v.10 Petition for help


v.10  But may you have mercy on me, Lord;
    raise me up, that I may repay them.

v.11,12 Assurance that God is for him


v.11  I know that you are pleased with me,
    for my enemy does not triumph over me.
v.12  Because of my integrity you uphold me
    and set me in your presence forever.


v.13 Concluding praise for God


v.13  Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.



[Additional Thoughts: Failure & conflict, we noted, are at the heart of David's cries, his awareness of both his enemies and his friend who has turned on him, as well as his confidence in God which, despite all this, enables him to pray and praise.]



Continue to Psa 42