Friday, November 18, 2011

Psalm 41 – You Will Uphold Me, LORD

The psalmist, David, proclaims his confidence: “Happy are those who consider the poor; the LORD delivers them in the day of trouble.” ~Psalm 41:1 (NRSV).

Justice is joined to justice in this psalm that ends Book One of five in the biblical Psalms. David sees himself as a just ruler and, therefore, he is afforded the confidence of proclamation that, though he is a sinner (verse 4), he is upheld by the Lord in his integrity (verse 12).

And we might come to such belief also. We naturally connect those works such as faithfulness with the remittance of God’s blessings. This is the general Wisdom of the Lord at play in our world—not a perfect rule, though a general premise we can rely on.

The Lord Protects the Upright

The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) uses the word “happy” throughout the book of Psalms where other versions would use the word “blessed.” Such blessedness is a sanctuary for these who are advocates for the poor, indefensible, and needy.

Verses 1-3 discuss the cosseted nature for those who innately do God’s bidding, for no one avenges defenders of the poor like the Lord. As God is beyond reproach so, too, are the actions of those acting strictly on behalf of the Lord.

Safety, Despite “My” Sin, and the Mischievousness of the Enemy

It’s an ironically good state to find himself in; the psalmist is repentant for his sins against God, but he also laments the deviousness of those scurrilous enemies who wait like dogs to lap up the blood of his body even before his death. It is good he goes to God in prayer.

He is found trusting no one but the Lord his God.

That fact we may find disturbing; that there is no one to trust but God (not even a best friend [verse 9]). Clearly, however, there are times, or have been times, when antitheses of trust force us to batten down our hatches unto the Almighty. Our foremost trust must, always, reside in the Spirit of truth. Of course, it’s easy to trust a Faithful One.

The Enemy’s Confidence Misleads Them

True integrity trusts in the invisible power of the Lord, despite the gregarious cynicism of the unfaithful ones waiting for the downfall of the good.

Verses 8-10 carry that flame of quiet confidence, to know that the final word rests with God; that the wicked might be “repaid” for their proud but ignorant insolence.

That is the psalmist’s prayer—that the Lord be gracious to him.

Signs of God’s Faithfulness Lead to Fresh Confidence

The final three verses of Book One (Psalms 1–41) summarise the outcome for the person dependent on God. Faithfulness is their ally. And as their faithfulness toward God requites the Lord’s faithfulness in return, vision of such triumph is made known; the enemy has not crushed David yet (verse 11b).

As we consider the number of times we have felt saved because of our integrity in deciding moments, there is new cause for thanks.


Despite anxious feelings for those things or people against us, we can have confidence when we target justice for others—particularly advocacy for the poor, indefensible, and needy. Integrity is stayed in faithfulness to God through passage along the narrow path illumined by Light. Stay on that road.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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