“O Lord, be gracious."
Psalm 41 from the daily reading in the One year Bible
How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.
2 The Lord will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
3 The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed;
In his illness, You restore him to health.
for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”
5 My enemies speak evil against me,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
6 And when he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood;
His heart gathers wickedness to itself;
When he goes outside, he tells it.
7 All who hate me whisper together against me;
Against me they devise my hurt, saying,
8 “A wicked thing is poured out upon him,
That when he lies down, he will not rise up again.”
9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.
10 But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up,
That I may repay them.
11 By this I know that You are pleased with me,
Because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
And You set me in Your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
The psalmist says: “O Lord, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Yet so often, unlike the psalmist, people tend to ask God for justice not grace. They complain that life is unfair, that they deserve more or better than their circumstance. In truth though, none of us should seek justice from God. As Romans 3:23 says: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and as Romans 6:23 says: the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. So then justice would be that we die for our sin. If it were not for the grace of God, we should expect or ask for nothing more. Those who deny God and sin, believe in the processes of evolution and natural selection, yet they embrace human philosophies which are contrary to those processes. In striving to make all people equal they no longer value and honor excellence, so that those who cannot achieve it will not feel diminished. The truth is though, we are not all equal and it is foolishness to try to create equality in all things. We are not all equal, but we are all loved and valued by the God who created us. He is not concerned that some are tall and some are short, that some are dark and some are light. God does not value the one with great physical abilities more than the one who is average. He does not value the one who excels academically more than the one who struggles. He has created each one individually, unique, exactly as He desires, perfect in His sight. Because of His love and by His grace, we are all spiritually healed, made whole, restored to the way He intended, created in His image and likeness.
The psalmist knows and speaks of man’s evil toward man. He says: My enemies speak evil gainst me…And when he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood; His heart gathers wickedness to itself; When he goes outside, he tells it. All who hate me whisper together against me; Against me they devise my hurt…Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. People, in their natural state are selfish and self centered. From the very beginning, because of envy and jealousy one rose against another, Cain slew his brother Able. In Matthew 10:21-22 Jesus says: “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” Even those who are family and those who are closest to us can turn against us. In our culture and our society we no longer even see the natural, sacrificial love of mothers and fathers for their children. Instead children are sacrificed to the gods of convenience and self gratification. Throughout history man’s inhumanity to man can be seen. In our day, because as a culture we are moving farther from God, relying on human goodness, rather than God’s goodness, His love and grace, we are falling deeper into division rather than becoming more unified.
The psalmist says: But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up… As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your presence forever. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. It is only because of the love of God that we can truly love others. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The love of God is demonstrated in the cross of Christ, so that while the wages of sin is death, by grace we are given the free gift of God, eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is only by God’s grace, in response to His love, that we can be raised up and love. Both history and the evidence of our present culture and circumstances, testify of man’s inhumanity to man. But because of the love and the grace of God, like the psalmist we say:
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen. Thank You for Your love and grace. Amen.