Monday, 16 December 2013

Psalm 41 - The Righteous One unpitied in his time of need.

The melancholy interest attached to this Psalm has made it well known in Zion. Our Lord quoted it as his own, on the night when he was betrayed (John 13:18, compared with v9), when he saw the traitor take his seat at the Passover table with him, and sit down on his left hand, so near that he could hand him the sop, and dip with him in the dish. The strain, however, is such as suits his family as well as himself; they may use it in Him.

It is the Lord who says, "Blessed is he who acts wisely toward the poor", v1; the same who said "Blessed are the merciful!" and the same who on the day of his coming shall say, "Come, you blessed; I was sick and you visited me." He encourages us to do good works in his Name, especially to those of the household of faith.

What is written from v1-3 is a promise which Barzillai could have claimed; and Eded-melech, who drew Jeremiah from the pit; and Onesiphorus who often refreshed Paul; and the women of Galilee, Susannah and others, who ministered to Christ; and the daughters of Jerusalem, who gave him sympathy as he bore the cross, pitying his marred face.

Perhaps in v4 Christ may be understood as saying, "I, even I, myself, did that to others, and do, therefore, claim the blessing. But how differently my foes act toward me! All my miracles of kindness are forgotten, the memory of all my thousand benefits is drowned in their malice; they wish my death, "When shall He die;" and "his name perish?" (v5) "If he comes to see me" (i.e. to play the spy on me), he goes away saying "Some cursed thing cleaves to him" (v8, literally - is soldered into him.)

But the issue shall disappoint them; I shall not even once err, and I shall soon stand at your right hand;

"My enemy is not to triumph over me;
And as for me, you uphold me in my integrity,
And set me before your face forever." (v12)

In this he anticipates the reward of his obedience to death, and "the glory that should follow" as we may do.

In this prospect it is interesting to hear him say, "Blessed be the LORD, God of Israel" (v13). The rejected and despised One has not forgotten or given up the people who rejected him.

He will be their King, "King of the Jews" though they crucify him; he intends grace and glory for them in the latter day. "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." And that "Amen and Amen," how sweetly it dropped from the lips of the Faithful Witness, who delighted to preface his weighty sayings with "Truly, truly" and who fixes his mark to this blessed Psalm (resembling what Paul does in some of his Letters), as if to say "The signature of me, the Faithful Witness, with my own hand."

The Righteous One unpitied in his time of need.

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