Sermon: Concerning the Helpless and False Friends Psalm 41

Truth Taught: God will deliver His suffering people though they sin and even though no one else cares. 

     Psalms is separated into 5 “books.” Jewish tradition says that it was set up this way to resemble the Pentateuch, the lst 5 books of the Bible. Each of the 5 books of psalms ends in a doxology. A doxology is simply pronouncing blessing or honor on someone. Ps. 41 is the last song in the lst book. 

     In Ps. 41, we see David at a low point in his life. There is brokenness and misery because of sickness. There is severe discouragement and loneliness because of betrayal. We’re prone to run through this without any depth of emotion, so we get through this without considering the weight and struggle that exists. We see similar accounts like this in Ps. 6 and Ps. 38. More than anything, it certainly reminds us of the story of Job.

     I believe this is a psalm that will resonate with us. Every one of us has experienced those days; weeks; of pain or sickness; where we’re praying and trusting. At times, instead of God coming immediately to our rescue, things get worse. It seems as if God, at best, doesn’t hear us. At worst, He sends more pain and suffering our way. The worst form of pain may be in the rejection of those we thought were on our side. That is the severest form of agony we could ever face. The few times I’ve faced this, I have not handled it well, to say the least. David is quite a different teacher. He gives to us the more obedient way, the more faithful way, to handle this.    

 I. The Blessings of Compassion V. 1-3 

(V. 1a)

     Once again, David brings up the principle of blessings. We saw this in our last psalm, Ps. 40, v. 4. Of course, it starts off the entire book of Psalms in Ps. 1. “Blessed is the man who does not walk…..” This word for helpless can mean, “poor or weak.” The inference is someone who is sick. David says he who has compassion will be blessed, then immediately lists a few of the blessings he receives. But more importantly, it’s primarily the other way around. We don’t receive blessings primarily because we are so generous and loving to the helpless. Because Jehovah has done SO MUCH for US, we should do that for others.  

     Why is one blessed because he helps the sick or needy? Because he is being like our God. This is what truly forgiven sinners do. Since WE are lowly, He gives us a heart for others who are lowly. They say misery loves company, I guess. This is that proverb in a positive way. It’s the story in Luke 10 of the lowly Samaritan helping his enemy who fell among thieves. Jesus said at the end of that to go and do the same.  

(V. 1b) 

     The LORD will deliver him. The day of trouble is literally evil. If we’re more concerned about serving others and less concerned about serving ourselves, the LORD takes care of us. Who would you rather have meeting your needs, you or Christ? This principal is all over Scripture. We meet the needs of others; the LORD will meet our needs. “Give and it shall be given to you.” “Humble yourselves and He will lift you up.” Now, we shouldn’t do it JUST SO WE get something out of it. That’s selfish. That’s usury. 

     V. 1 is the exact opposite of the world’s philosophy, which is “The LORD helps those who help themselves.” I’ve had many people tell me that. That’s not what Jehovah God says. Those that take care of the helpless save up provisions for a day of evil that is sure to come. I think we may already be in one. We store up rewards the way the evil stores up wrath and punishment. We seem so consumed with retirement; with saving money “for a rainy day.” What would it be like if we had compassion for the sick, and poor, and lowly, and the destitute, and invested in them now and waited for the LORD to give us that compassion in return?  

     We see this in Job’s life. Jesus reminds us that no one hides a lamp under a basket but puts it out so all can see. When we do it to the least of these, we do it to Him. Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.

(V. 2)

     The LORD will protect him. Sometimes, He quickly gets us out of the danger we’re in. Sometimes, He will keep us there but will always be with us. But have you ever thought of all the times you COULD HAVE succumbed to danger or injury or even death and He didn’t even let you enter into that situation? When I get to be with Him, I hope He fills me in on all the occasions I never even knew He saved me from. I think they will be many.

     But this isn’t a doctrine of health and wealth. This doesn’t mean we’ll never get sick. It doesn’t mean we will never be in danger. Delivering one IN A DAY OF EVIL could mean when He comes back to separate those who are not His from those who are. The day of His wrath is also known as the day of evil. “He will keep him alive” could also refer to eternal life. 

     There is another thing I need to point out that not many give voice to. I’ve seldom heard anyone express gratitude for it. We’ve had very few major tragedies–in my family or in this church for a long time. No fires, no losing everything, no tragic deaths, no severe harm at the hands of evil men. That’s not to say we won’t have them. But to go this long with this many is a miracle of dynamic proportions. He truly is the defense of our lives, whom shall we fear?  

(V. 3)

     We WILL have sickness. I’d like to know what our health and wealth friends think about David and his faith! We MAY have a sick bed, but the LORD will not abandon us. He will not leave us to ourselves or to our sickness. Like a compassionate Father, He WILL nurse His children back to health. What does that mean? I believe that He is willing to heal us more than we think. I wonder if we keep His healings at a distance because we don’t want to appear to be of the health and wealth cult. But like the deliverance issue, that healing doesn’t necessarily mean we will continue on in this place. The healthiest we will ever be is when we are in His presence. 

II. A Plea for Spiritual Healing v. 4

     Now, David pleads for his SOUL. This is much more serious. This is far more important. We OUGHT to plead more for our souls than our bodies, yet oftentimes, it is the other way around. We’re reminded here of the old belief that physical suffering was always because of sin. Sometimes, it is. Many times, it is. Spurgeon says that, “sin and suffering are inevitable companions.” That is not the case with all suffering. We don’t know whether sin is the reason for David’s suffering here or not, but he still confessed his sin. He begged for mercy before the judge of all the earth. No prayer is complete without confession. Sin is the real sickness. Suffering is not always brought on by sin but sin always brings self-inflicted suffering. No request for ourselves or anyone else is whole without first asking our Father to forgive us of our many sins. That’s why I wanted Tyler to read Ezek. 16. It is such an accurate accounting of who we are and what God has done.  

III. From Friends to Enemies-v. 5-9

     This is proof of what we’ve been saying, that God will not always heal us in this life; or He will not always heal us right away. DAVID WAS SICK! AND TO TOP IT ALL OFF, THE “FRIENDS” WHO CAME TO HIM WERE USERS, THEY WERE CONNIVERS, HUSTLERS, GOSSIPS. 

2 Corinthians 11:14-No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 
     They were hypocrites. They came to visit him, but only for the purpose of gaining information to twist and use against him. There is an old saying, “Beware of those that bow at your feet. They may be reaching for the corner of the rug.” This is what is classically called “adding insult to injury.” They set the trap, they gather their information, then they twist words into what they want to make of them. They are lying gossips. In case you’re wondering, this was the birth of mainstream media. We are experiencing this exact same thing today from the media to those who are leading this country. We need to understand that “The lights of the world are not the delights of the world.” 

V. 6

     Don’t let this escape our notice. Jeremiah tells us (17:9) all hearts start out deceitful and desperately wicked. The Holy Spirit tells us hear that the heart CONTINUES to gather or collect wickedness for itself. This enemy speaks falsehood or “emptiness.” They were flatterers; back stabbers. They are plotters. Evil men plot. I believe many are plotting against the church now. I believe they have been plotting already. It is times like these; like what David experienced; like what we are experiencing; that try our patience and test our resolve. These times are dark and drawn out. We wonder where God is at. We wonder why He does not act. 

V. 9

     This could refer to 2 Sam. 15 where we read of the betrayal of Ahithophel, David’s trusted counselor who sided with Absalom in his revolt against David’s kingdom. This is similar to the saying, “kicking them when they’re down.” This was a close friend, but not only were they close friends, David was the one who fed this betrayer, which made it all the more painful. Some of our enemies will be those of our own household, Jesus said. 

IV. The Long-Awaited Uprising-V. 10-12  

V. 10

     This is backwards here. Our sins are an affront to God and we should receive no kindness from Him whatsoever. Man, on the other hand, should have pity on us because they’re in the same sinking ship as we are. Yet here we see absolutely no pity from man, but mercy and grace from the Holy God. 

          David does talk about revenge, but we need to be careful here. We are in a different position. We are not the Kings of nations with authority to do that. We are also of a different disposition. We are not allowed revenge but must leave that to our God, if that is what He wills. So often, we do not know whether these attacks against us will require wrath from God or their being given grace by Him. So, we must leave Him to that.  

Romans 12:19-Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 
     However, one of the best ways to get back at someone, (this is Christian revenge, by the way) is to GET UP after they knock you down and keep doing what you’ve been doing! Ha Ha. I love that! It really makes them mad! It generates a little fear in them. Imagine what the Pharisees must have thought when they lst heard Jesus might be alive! People that hateful deserve to be miserable. Just being raised up makes them angry. It defeats them. It lets them know they are in for a long haul! The church needs this. We need to toughen up. We’re too soft.  

(V. 11-12)

     When David was bedridden, with no way to rise up, he believed God’s Word. With his FRIENDS lying and gossiping and betraying him and his God not coming to the rescue yet, he believed in His promises. In hope against hope as it says about Abraham, David believed. Though my body cannot rise, yet still my integrity does! How can David talk about his integrity when he talks about his sin in v. 4? The only reason we have that integrity is because of Christ. It’s a resolve that says, “I believe in God and will not be disappointed.”

 2 Timothy 1:12-For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 
    When he was not cared about by a single human being, he was cared for by the Almighty God of the universe. 

     So where is it we see Christ in this psalm? We’ve already seen Him. 

V. 1-2

     He delivered His Son and would not allow Him to suffer decay. We see that in Ps. 16, but we also see that same message preached in Acts four times! Because of Christ, Jehovah delivers those whom He has chosen.  

V. 5-9

     Jesus, while alive, did not have a place to lay His head and in His death, laid not on a bed but a cross. People praised Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. They twisted His words. The chief priests and Pharisees took counsel together. We certainly know how our Christ suffered and was ridiculed by most everyone around Him. There were only a handful of those who did not condemn Him, but even those scattered at His most needful time. Judas, an apostle, the treasurer of the apostles, betrayed Him.

John 13:18I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’

     The difference in John is that Jesus did not call Judas His friend. He is indeed a High Priest who knows our sorrow and has been tempted with everything that we will ever be tempted with. 

     About 2 weeks ago, auntie fay attacked a church group in Seattle and shouted, “Where is your God now?” That’s the same thing they taunted Jesus with while He hung on the cross. 

V. 10-12

     Jesus always pleased His Father. He was raised up and no one has or will ever triumph over Him, not even Satan himself. Because of Him, His people will be raised up, no one will ever triumph over us and we will be in His presence for all eternity.   

     Let Him be Glorified. Blessed be the True One who considers the helpless!! God’s glory has never started and it will never end. It goes on for eternity. 

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