Saturday, August 30, 2008

Psalm 41 - Foreshadowing of Salvation Through Faith and Family

For the director of music. A psalm of David.
Psalm 41:1-3



1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD
delivers him in times of trouble.
2 The LORD will protect
him and preserve
his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not
surrender him to the
desire of his foes.
3 The LORD will sustain him on
his sickbed
and
restore him from his bed of illness.


Human kindness and brotherly love is at the heart of God’s message throughout The Bible. This is a point I never want to cease to drive home. What it amounts to is the love members of a family ought to have for one another.

In understanding God’s entire effort in concerning Himself with man, which is to save His Family, I see a lot of imagery and metaphorical use of language in the above three verses from Psalm 41. For example:

…Compare what verse one of Psalm 41 says, with what Jesus says in Matthew 25:40.
“Whatever you did for the least of these brothers
of mine, you did for me”

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells those who call Him ‘Lord’ (not missing the importance of ‘Lord’) who are on His right (the place of honor) that what ever they did for the least of the brothers of Him, they did for Jesus. (“least”, could be weak as in Ps. 41:1. It could also refer to those who have not come to a saving knowledge of Christ. “Brothers” is obvious in what "brothers" means. Jesus is acknowledging an understanding He has in God having created all of mankind to be God’s family.)

Psalm 41:1 speaks of a man concerned with helping the weak. The verse continues to say that the Lord will reward him by delivering him in his time of trouble. Not to exclude the troubles we have in this world. But, I believe this to be metaphorical. Certainly David wrote about God’s hand on him. But, what I want to consider is how this message seems comparible to saying that The Lord will rescue that man from his state of existence, his inability to have a relationship with The Lord in his natural self. Why should we not consider this? The Bible, on various levels will often say one thing and we see that what is being stated often applies to a higher purpose, as well. (We are not excluding the faith we must have in Christ first, when I say we are saved for our charity).

Let’s take an etymological perspective on the Psalm.

The word “deliver” is #4422 in Strong’s Concordance. #4422 references the Hebrew word, ‘Malat’. 'Malat' is a sense of being smooth. I.e. to escape, let slip: to deliver oneself, be delivered, be saved, be set free…etc.

In Greek, (Mt. 6:13) the word is ruomai – to drag out of danger, to rescue, save.

Our relationships to one another are just as important to God as our relationship with God is important to Him.

As I consider what verses 2 and 3 would add to my understanding of verse one, I feel that our enemies as David spoke of are real. Christianity, itself has many enemies who desire to see the Christian faith expunged. So, I can see how verse two would apply to our ‘spiritual’ (even eternal) enemies.

Verse three speaks of being delivered from the death bed. I have to see this as metaphorical because, let’s face it, not one person has outlived the ever present onsloght of illness and the decay of the human body. We will be reduced to helplessness even if we successfully ward off terminal illness. Our bodies will decay and weaken and eventually, we will lay on our death bed. So, let’s look at this verse in light of the most terminal illness we have as human beings. That is, our inability to rescue ourselves from eternal condemnation. God has made a way to restore us from the eternal grip of the grave. He has restored us from our ‘death bed’ through Christ.

Another blogger suggested I should attempt to state what scholars suggest, aside from my own understanding. So, I included Matthew Henry’s commentary on Ps. 41 below.

Matthew Henry Commentary
http://bible.somd.com/henry/H19C041.shtml



Psalm 41 in its entirety

For the director
of music. A psalm of David.
1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
2 The LORD will protect him
and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender
him to the desire of his foes.
3 The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed
and restore him from his bed of illness.
4 I said, "O LORD, have mercy
on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you."
5 My enemies say of me
in malice,
"When will he die and his name perish?"
6 Whenever one comes
to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he
goes out and spreads it abroad.
7 All my enemies whisper together against
me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,
8 "A vile disease has beset
him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies."
9 Even my close
friend, whom I trusted,
he who shared my bread,
has lifted up his heel
against me.
10 But you, O LORD, have mercy on me;
raise me up, that I
may repay them.
11 I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy
does not triumph over me.
12 In my integrity you uphold me
and set me in
your presence forever.
13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from
everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

24 comments:

Vicki said...

Love is a difficult commodity to describe, and yet it is central to the Christian walk. It begins with kindness when there is no reciprication. It waits patiently for the behavior that reflects the family of God. It is giving to those who can not give back.
Even though it does not keep us from a physical death, love often gives peace and adds years to our earthly lives. Following the Lord not only leads to eternal life, it also lengthens and strengthens this life.
Blessings to you, Dearest.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Vicki,
I had thoughts on two different levels here. And thought, 'Certainly David wrote in the present'. However, I understand that all scripture is inspired by God. And so, all scripture points to a higher cause than the temporal.

Gigi said...

I think as Christians, and therefore Children of God, we ARE called upon and expected to "have regard for the weak"...whether that weakness be physical or spiritual. As you quoted from Matthew, Jesus expounded on this principal. And as you say, Christianity certainly has had many enemies throughout the ages (and still does today) that would love to see it eradicated. Praise God that we have not been surrendered to our foes!! As for verse 3, I can only say that I have seen the Hand of the Almighty in action, both as a nurse and here in my own home. Whether a person is delivered from their illness or called home to Jesus, they are indeed restored.

I read Dr. McGee's study on Psalm 41 and learned this: It opens with the word "blessed" and closes with the word "blessed." It concludes the "Genesis" section of the Book of Psalms (Psalms 1-41) and is a Messianic psalm predicting the betrayal of Judas.

I wish you and Vicki a Blessed Sunday and a safe, happy Labor Day!

jeleasure said...

Thanks Gigi,
You understood what I was saying in all of the first three verses of Psalm 41. We agree.
Also, I would like to add that since Vicki and myself have family in your area (my Site Meter told me where you are, roughly) we would like to meet you and your husband one day for dinner somewhere near you.
Jim

Gigi said...

How delightful! Or we could meet during one of our trips to R'mond...

jeleasure said...

Hi Gigi,
I let Vicki know. She said she will exchange emails and work out some plans with you. So, expect some correspondence on this.
Jim

satire and theology said...

Henry:

Sin is the sickness of the soul; pardoning mercy heals it, renewing grace heals it, and for this spiritual healing we should be more earnest than for bodily health.

In this fallen world, we are all going to physically die.

Scripture promises everlasting punishment post-mortem to persons who do not know the Biblical God.

Only God through Christ provides spiritual healing which leads to everlasting life, and this is more important than temporal bodily health.

I have two new articles pre-scheduled auto for early Sept 1.

Happy Sunday, Jim and Vicki.

jeleasure said...

Russ,
Thanks so much!
I may or may not use commentaries. I randomly chose Henry and, Wa - La! I have a match.
What is so interesting about chosing Henry is I have never quite felt he reached to the depth of the scripture to give us the bottom line. He and I seem to agree here.
I have your links in real time. So, as soon as I see them pop up to the top, I will check them out.

Scott Packett said...

Jim,
I added your blog to my list of blogs. I appreciate the add and the input.

Scott

Tamela's Place said...

Hello Jim,

I am just now getting back onto my blog. We had a really rough weekend. Our daughter was in a three car collision, No one was hurt though, and we praise the Lord for that and are so very thankful. It was her fault so we are having a lot of issues to deal with.. We would covet your prayers and Thank you very much.

Love is everything. It is probably the hardest thing to do at times. I guess that is why it is the greatest. Faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love and we are nothing without it. So without Jesus in my life i would be nothing and definitely wouldn't have His love abiding in me.

This is a great post Jim, we can never fail when we are bringing the message of loving God and loving one another. God bless you! Tamela

Arlene Kasselman said...

You know this Psalm talk has made me happy :-)
Thought I would recommend a book I am working through right now and will blog about this week. It is Learning to Pray Through the Psalms by James W. Sire.

He writes early on in the book, "Initial readings are the foundation for any really fruitful understanding of a psalm - or for that matter any poetry or highly intense form of writing. They help prevent our reading into the text rather than reading out from it. ONly the latter willl assure our grasping what God is saying to us through the words of the ancient writers. Still, we should not think we have read well if we do not go deeper. We need to move on from a basic absorption of the text to a fuller understanding by the mind and a richer experience in the emotions."

This is a good post, a timely reminder and a call to living more like kingdom people.

jeleasure said...

Wow, Tamela! Pleased to hear that noone was hurt. Sad for the circumstances.
I had an accident that was my fault, once. It was difficult because someone was hurt. Broken ribs and lacerations. I thought I was going to go to jail, or something. When that did not happen, I felt it should have. I became a better driver. 19 years later, I have a perfect driving record. So, I learned how to be more careful. Somethings have a good long term affect.
I'll read your blog later this evening.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Scott.
I added yours this morning.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Thanks Arlene,
I will be reading and commenting on blogs this evening.
I really appreciate your wonderful consideration on my blog post. It appears you really got into it and said exactly what I needed to read. Your comment was encouraging.
I am having trouble. I have had to do something I did not want to do. And it makes me sad. So, I just have to put one foot in front of the other for now. Eventually, those moments when it seems a switch has been flipped will occur and for a time, the pain will go away.

Cheryl Russell said...

Hello there! I enjoyed this post. I think that the Greatest Commandement sums it all up. Love God. Love Others. Great stuff!

jeleasure said...

Hi Chreyl,
Ofcourse, I agree with you on the "greatest commandments".

thekingpin68 said...

Good to see your efforts and response Jim. If you have a chance please vote with my latest on thekingpin68, and anyone else too if they wish.

It is my salute to blog polls that state, rate my blog.

Arlene Kasselman said...

Jim
just checking in to see if you are doing okay.....

preacherman said...

Jim,
Wonderful post and thoughts brother. Psalm 41 is one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible. I have learned so much from the blog.
Keep up the great work.

Tamela's Place said...

Hope you have been getting your rest Jim. Just dropped by to say hello. Hope you are taking care of yourself and resting in the Lord and in the comfort of His Holy Spirit. God bless you!

jeleasure said...

To:

Tamela, Gigi, Arlene, PreacherMan, Jason, Cheryl and Russ - I have noticed by way of my Stat Counter that you all have visited my site in the last week. I want to say thank you for your concern and prayers. I have been dealing with a needed adjustment to my thyroid medication. And, with that, at times it effects my relationships. So, some depression for physical reasons and personal reasons as well. I have just not been able to process my thoughts and feel confident to post any new blog items. However, I have been stewing over something that has inspired me to first, forgive, and second, receive the lesson. I will more than likely have a post up in the next day or two.
Thanks you Christians
Jim

jeleasure said...

Scott Packet,
I saw your visit in my Stat Counter, as well. Thanks
Jim

Arlene Kasselman said...

Jim, thanks for updating us. I can relate on the thyroid issue - take the time you need.

Vicki said...

This Psalm means something so special to me tonight. The Lord loves us so much He rescues us uno Himself.

Thank you, Honey, for this post. I am looking forward to your next entry.
Love Always,
Wife