Psalm 41 TALK: The Struggles of the Anointed King with his Enemies

(All bible quotes from The Holy Bible, New International Version)

PSALM 41 TALK

THE STRUGGLES OF THE ANOINTED KING WITH HIS ENEMIES

(TAKE IT ALL TO THE FOOT OF THE CROSS)

 INTRODUCTION

 So we come to the final Psalm of the first book of Psalms and as we have seen all through our study of this book that Psalm’s are placed in the book with specific purposes in mind. This Psalm brings most of the great themes of the book to a conclusion. It even has an extra verse added by the editors of this book to close the book with a final word of praise. Interestingly all the five books of Psalms has this editors words of praise in the final Psalm of each book. These verses appear in Psalm 41: 13, book 1, Psalm 72: 19, book 2, Psalm 89: 52 book 3, Psalm 106: 48, book 4 and Psalm 150: 6 (in fact whole Psalm is a praise to God) book 5.

The opening word of Psalm 41, “Blessed”, mirrors the opening word of Psalm 1. In psalm 41 the blessed life comes from living with regard for the weak or as Jesus taught in Matthew 5: 7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will show mercy”. David knew that the only way he and all people could have God’s blessing in their lives was through the love and mercy of God something he spoke a lot about in the Psalms of this book particularly in Psalms 30 to 40.

This Psalm’s middle section tackles the major theme of this first book of Psalms namely the struggle of the anointed King and his followers with the enemies of God. This theme is first raised in Psalm 2 verses 1 and 2, New International Version

“Why do the nations conspire and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One”.

This opposition not only comes from the Nations around Israel but also comes from people within Israel. David wrote Psalms 3, 4 and possibly 5 in the setting of the rebellion of his own son Absalom. David also refers to God’s discipline coming to him through sickness in many Psalms and sometimes he uses physical sickness to describe the agony of his soul and mind after he had fallen to sins, which include Adultery and Murder. All of the Psalms written in this book in the context of his sins of adultery and murder feature this theme of sickness being the tool of God’s discipline; they are Psalms 6, 32 and 38. Other Psalms that feature sickness are Psalms 22, 30 and now 41.

In verse 9 of Psalm 41 David speaks of the betrayal of a trusted friend which we read about in 2 Samuel 15: 12 where Absalom enlists David’s trusted counsellor Ahithophel in his rebellion against his father. What happens to Ahithophel will be revealed in the middle section of this Psalm.

Finally we have seen throughout our study of the first book of Psalms that God’s love and mercy and victory over all his enemies (evil) were achieved by the death and resurrection of his son. Jesus quoted verse 9 of Psalm 41 when he predicted the betrayal of his close friend and disciple Judas in John 13: 18 and therefore we have a direct link with this Psalm and the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Throughout this study we will see how we must all come to the foot of the cross for forgiveness and inspiration in our daily walk with our Lord.

I have divided this Psalm into 4 sections:

  1. GOD’S PROMISE OF BLESSING FOR THOSE WHO LIVE A LIFE OF MERCY AND LOVE (1 – 3)
  2. THE STUGGLES OF THE ANOINTED KING WITH HIS ENEMIES (4- 9)
  3. A FINAL PRAYER FOR VICTORY OVER GOD’S ENEMIES (10 – 12)
  4. THE PSALMS’S EDITORS FINAL WORD OF PRAISE (13)
  1. GOD’S PROMISE OF BLESSING FOR THOSE WHO LIVE A LIFE OF MERCY AND LOVE (1 – 3)

As I said before this Psalm like Psalm 1 and Psalm 32 begins with the word “Blessed”. I said in my study of Psalm 1 being “Blessed by God” is finding true deep and lasting happiness something every person is seeking in life. It is interesting to follow through the progression of thought of the use of the term “Blessed” in the first book of Psalms. In Psalm 1 we find this true and deep happiness by going or living the way God wants us to. This is in contrast to walking, standing and sitting with the Godless in this world.

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers”. Psalm 1: 1

In Psalm 32 we discover that the only way we can find this true and deep happiness is by discovering the forgiveness of God in our lives,

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”

Psalm 32: 1

Now we discover in Psalm 41 verse 1 that this true and deep happiness is found in putting the mercy and love of God into our lives and this is demonstrated by how we treat the poor and needing of this world.

“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak: the Lord delivers him in times of trouble”.

Jesus taught in a number of places that if we have truly experienced the forgiveness of God then that should show this in how we forgive others. As Jesus taught in Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount in Luke 6: 37 – 38,

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 This teaching is summed up beautifully by Jesus Beatitude or Matthew 5: 7,

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”.

Right throughout book 1 David has repeatedly gone back to the mercy or grace of God as being the grounds on which he depended. A good example of this is in Psalm 25:6 where David writes,

“Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old”

Or Psalm 32: 10,

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him”.

So David realizes in Psalm 41: 1 that if God shows mercy and love to him in his weakness then he should show the same kind of mercy and love to those weaker than himself and if he does this he has God himself in his life blessing him and delivering him from the troubles of life.

As Christians we come to the foot of the cross to find God’s forgiveness and grace as on the cross Jesus paid for all our sins by becoming sin for us. As Paul taught in 2 Cor. 5: 21,

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.

We should come to the foot of the cross daily and confess our sins to God as we learnt in Psalm 38 and then rise to new life in Christ because he has forgiven our sins and through his resurrection gives us a new life. I believe this is an ongoing continual process that bit-by-bit changes us into the new creature God is making us.

As Paul taught a few verses before our previous quote,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5: 17)

So we should show that we have truly come to the foot of the cross by the way we now live our lives. We are saved by the grace of God alone and by that same grace we now live our lives. If God’s grace is in our lives then we should show grace, love and mercy to others particularly those weaker and poorer than us. This is what verse 1 of this Psalm teaches us.

“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble”.

All of God’s blessings flow from the foot of the cross and so as we find his love and forgiveness in Christ death for us so we should be inspired to show this kind of love to others.

David then gives us six promises of God for those who show love and mercy to others particularly those poorer or weaker than ourselves. Those six promises are:

  1. Help in the time of trouble (vs.1)
  2. Protection in life (vs.2)
  3. Blessing in the land (vs.2) (Old Testament language for spiritual and material blessings)
  4. Not surrender him to evil foes (vs.2) (Protection from the assaults of the Devil)
  5. Help in the time of sickness (vs.3)
  6. Restoration from sickness (vs.3)

Note how David did not consider sickness here something only reserved for sinners but something that everyone or anyone can face in the normal course of life. Christians don’t escape the effects of living in a fallen world of sin but are helped by God through times of trouble and sickness.

This is something I learnt first hand on my recent mission trip to Myanmar and the Philippines. In the first week of this trip I was struck down with a strange and painful illness, which forced me to trust in God for help and deliverance. With God’s help in my time of trouble I was still able to continue my teaching ministry. I believe I was protected from the attack of the devil and found God’s healing and restoration in my time of sickness. The whole experience made me realize my own frailty and need to trust in God and his mercy and love and Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12: 10 came to my mind when I was able to continue my ministry when I was sick,

“For when I am weak, then I am strong”.

I had to go to the foot of the cross for not only forgiveness but to find God’s strength and healing in my life. God did not spare me from suffering sickness but used it to make me look to him in dependence and faith and when I went to the foot of the cross, God’s place of mercy and love, then and only then did I find his help and healing.

2.  THE STUGGLES OF THE ANOINTED KING WITH HIS ENEMIES (4- 9)

The middle section of this Psalm concludes a major theme of teaching in this first book. This theme is what I understand to be “The struggles of the anointed King with his enemies” which I pointed out was first raised in Psalm 2: 1,2,

“Why do the nations conspire and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One”.

David’s struggles with the enemies of God really start with his first great battle namely his victory over the Philistine giant Goliath and then quickly escalate with his struggles with enemies within his own country namely King Saul who knows he has been passed over by God as King of Israel. David’s struggles with the mad and evil King Saul provide a backdrop of many of the Psalms in this first book.

As I said in the introduction David’s struggles with his own rebellious son Absalom provided a rich background to many of David’s Psalms in this book. We know that David wrote both Psalms 3, 4 and possibly 5 when he fled for his life from Absalom. Absalom sought to kill his father and his wives and family so that he could become the absolute unchallenged King of Israel.

This Psalm seems to have been first written in that time as it refers to the betrayal of a close friend of David who is called Ahithophel David’s counsellor or adviser and friend who joins the rebellion of Absalom in 2 Samuel 15: 12.

Verses 4 to 9 seem to suggest David suffered some kind of serious illness at the time of the rebellion of Absalom. The 2 Samuel text does not mention David suffering an illness at this time but it is interesting that in the lead up to the Absalom rebellion David seems to be out of action in his daily courtly duties. In 2 Samuel 15: 2 – 4 we read,

“He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”

Why was there no representative of the King to hear the complaints of the people?

Some commentators have suggested that this could indicate David was out of action during this crucial time?

Maybe David was out of action because he was sick during this time.

Verse 4. Reads,

“I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

On many occasions in this first book of Psalms David has connected his sickness to the Lords’ discipline of him because of his sin. We saw this in Psalm 6, 32, 38 and now here in Psalm 41. The prophet Nathan predicted the rebellion of Absalom in the words of 2 Samuel 12: 11 – 12,

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

 Absalom rebellion was a direct result of David’s sins of adultery and murder and therefore falls in to the category of the Lord’s discipline of David’s sins.

God forgave David for his great sins of adultery and murder but he still had to face the consequences or fallout of these sins in a number of ways. However we now know from many Psalms in book 1 that David wrote that even as David faced difficult times during these times of discipline God was with him helping him through the struggles of sickness and his many battles with his enemies bringing him to a place of deliverance and healing.

This is why David is saying in verse 4,

“I said, O Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you”

David did not deserve God’s mercy and love as he faced the fallout from his terrible sins of Adultery and murder but he knew his God was a God of mercy and love and so he confidently prays this prayer for God’s mercy and love to forgive and heal him in God’s time of discipline.

Verses 5 – 9 now set down the struggles David had with his enemies at the time of the rebellion of Absalom. I see three problems David faced at this time:

1.     Deceitful Malice (5 – 6)

2.     Spiteful Rumor (7- 8)

3.     Bitter betrayal (9)

 

1.     Deceitful Malice (5 – 9)

Over and over again in this first book of Psalms David refers to his many enemies and because of the words of Psalm 2 David faced these vicious enemies because of his special relationship with God, namely, “The Lord’s Anointed King”. David’s enemies where in fact God’s enemies something we also see in the life and death of our Lord in the Gospels.

Here his enemies speak malice, which my Collins dictionary describes as,

“A desire to cause harm to others”.

Often David faced fresh attacks from both enemies outside of Israel and within when they thought he was weak and down for the count. In fact we saw in Psalm 30 when David saw the angel of the Lord turn away from destroying him and his people David says, vs. 1,

“and (you) did not let my enemies gloat over me”

 In there malice towards David his enemies say, vs.5,

“When will he die and his name perish”

Not much physical archeological evidence exists at this point of time of the life of King David but his name is far from perishing from history. In his writings, namely his 73 Psalms David’s name and life’s contributions live on. Also his story recorded for us in the Books of Samuel and Chronicles keep the name of David alive and active and in his great descendant Jesus Christ. Not only does David’s name live on but he too is living with God forever.

Verse 6 could also be written about our Lord on that terrible night he stood before the Sanhedrin when he was falsely accused of crimes and sins he had not committed,

“Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander: then he goes out and spreads it abroad” (vs. 6)

This is what the Pharisees and Sadducees did throughout the ministry of Jesus rather than accept the miracles and inspired words of Christ they gathered false slanderous lies, which they threw at Jesus on the night before his death at their Kangaroo trial.

David faced this kind of opposition as well and for the same reasons as Christ because he was God’s appointed King on earth and those who opposed God in their hearts opposed God’s King. Jesus is the King of Kings who David is only a shadow of so the malice he faced from his enemies was far greater and led to his painful death on the cross.

And at the foot of the cross these same Jewish leaders and many other people threw insults and abuse at Christ as he suffered on the cross. Matthew describes graphically the malice Jesus received from many at the foot of the cross, Matthew 27: 38 – 44,

“Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him”.

2.     Spiteful Rumor (7- 8)

In verse 7 David seems to say his enemies gang up on him behind his back to imagine the worst for him. They want David to die in disgrace and they then could install the treacherous Absalom as King instead of David.

Verse 8 seems to suggest that these enemies are seeking to spread a spiteful rumor of David’s undignified untimely death,

“A vile disease has beset him; he will never get up from the place where he lies” (vs.8)

When Jesus was on the cross I’m sure the Pharisees and Sadducees who helped put him their thought they had finally gotten rid of the troublesome Jesus Christ.

They thought as David’s enemies thought that Jesus was beaten by his death on the cross. How wrong they were because Jesus did die on the cross but three days later he rose in victory over death and sin in the resurrection.

3.     Bitter betrayal (9)

Verse 9 helps us pin down the possible background to this Psalm because during the time of the rebellion of Absalom one of David’s closest friends turns on him, giving us the verse,

“Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared bread, has lifted up his heel against me”

This friends name is Athithophel and read this about him in 2 Samuel 15: 12

“While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing”.

Who was this man Athithophel and what was his relationship to David?

Two verses in the second book of Samuel give us the answer to this question. First is 2 Samuel 23: 34,

“Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maakathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,”

We learn in 2 Samuel 11: 3 that Eliam was Bathsheba’s father making Ahithophel her grandfather.

The second verse that reveals Ahithophel’s relationship to David is 2 Samuel 16: 23,

“Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice”.

 So Ahithophel was both a grandfather in law and a close and trusted friend and advisor to David and his siding with the rebellious Absalom would have been quite a blow to David as verse 9 of Psalm 41 reveals.

“Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared bread, has lifted up his heel against me”

David not only had enemies turning on him because he was the Lord’s anointed he now had both family and friends turning on him as well.

Interestingly as I said in the introduction Jesus in Johns Gospel refers to this verse when speaking of the betrayal of his friend and disciple Judas.

We read this in John 13: 18,

“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this I to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me”.

 Straight after Judas took the bread Jesus shared with him we read in verse 27,

“Satan entered into him (Judas)

 Jesus obviously saw parallels of his life with the life of David as he is the Lord’s great promised anointed king also for told in Psalm 2: 6 – 9,

“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:  He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.

Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

 The end of Ahithophel and Judas strangely are the same they both end up hanging themselves. After Ahithophel successfully advisers Absalom to lie with some of David’s wives left behind by him he then unsuccessfully advisers Absalom to immediately attack and kill David but Absalom takes the advise of anther adviser to hold off and wait. Ahithophel seeing the writing on the wall so to speak of the downfall of Absalom goes back to his home gets his affairs in order and hangs himself (2 Samuel 17: 23)

Judas meets the same fate as Ahithophel as we read the sad tale of his death in Matthew 27: 3 – 5,

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself”.

 For both David and Jesus the bitter betrayal of trusted friends would have been a painful emotional and spiritual blow but this is part of what I have call the struggles of the anointed King against his enemies.

 3.  A FINAL PRAYER FOR VICTORY OVER GOD’S ENEMIES (10 – 12)

David moves from the painful thoughts of his trusted friend and adviser, Ahithphel, turning on him to a final plea for victory over his enemies. David has featured two great themes in many of the Psalms of this first book namely the great opposition he faced as the anointed king of God and God’s mercy and love that upheld him during these struggles with his enemies and gave him victory over his enemies who were in fact God’s enemies.

So he commences in verse 10 a plea for God’s mercy and love to raise him up from his hostile enemies. He asks that he might be raised up in victory over his enemies so that he might be able to repay them. This is another feature of the Psalms in book one of David asking for the downfall and judgment of those who oppose him and God. I have discussed the issue of imprecatory prayers, prayers for God’s judgment on David’s enemies.

As Christians we are told by Christ to love our enemies and to pray for them. We are also taught by Christ to leave judgment and punishment to God as Jesus taught in Matthew 7: 1 – 2,

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”.

And

Matthew 5: 44,

“However I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

However even David seems to end up leaving the judgment of his enemies to God. He had at least two opportunities to kill his enemy King Saul but chose not to leaving Saul’s fate to God. When on the run from his rebellious son Absalom a man named Shimel from Saul’s tribe of Benjamin lets loose abuse and rocks at David and his men and when one of his trusted soldiers Abishai asks David permission to strike down this man David replies in 2 Samuel 16: 11 – 12,

“My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

As the rightful king of Israel David had the legal power to put down and kill those who opposed him but David even did not want to do this to his own rebellious son Absalom and when he learns of Absalom death he mourns greatly and acts as though he did not want his son executed for his treachery.

In verse 11 David re states his true state before God as “The Lord’s appointed King”,

“”I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me”

So this first book of Psalms comes a full circle from the words in Psalm 2 that say,

“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill”. Verses 4 – 6.

To the triumph of King David over his enemies in verse 11 of Psalm 41.

These words are both true of David and The Lord Jesus Christ God’s great anointed and installed King of Heaven and earth.

As we come to the foot of the cross and see both the love of God and the justice of God being played out in the death of his son we learn how God has saved us from his terrible wrath.

However once Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead in victory over death and sin we learn that Jesus went back to heaven and from their he reigns supreme over all things and from their he will one day come again to judge this world and take those who have come to him back to heaven.

As we read in Philippians 2: 9 – 11,

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 And 1 Thessalonians 4: 13 – 17,

 “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever”.

At the foot of the cross the enemies of Jesus might have thought that they had triumphed over Jesus but as Revelation 1: 7 says,

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen”.

 Finally this vindication of David and Jesus over their enemies is spoken about in verses 12,

“In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever”.

As we come to Christ at the foot of the cross we have this eternal hope as well as Jesus promised in John 14: 6,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

When David speaks of “integrity” he is speaking of his sincere and real faith in God not his own righteousness. Even though David had fallen to terrible sins, a basis of many of the Psalms in this first book, he always came back to God in repentance and faith.

We too need to continually come to the foot of the cross knowing that our own righteousness is but filly rags and it is only because Jesus died for our sins on the cross that we too have forgiveness and the hope of eternal life with God in heaven.

4.   THE PSALMS’S EDITORS FINAL WORD OF PRAISE (13)

So we come to the final verse of this Psalm, which is the final verse of the first book of Psalms. It is interesting that the Hebrew word for “Psalms” is literally “Praises” and each book of Psalms ends with a word of praise.

Here in verse 13 we read,

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting Amen and Amen”.

I like the simple explanation of this verse by John Calvin,

“Here the Psalmist (or Psalm editors) confirms and repeats the expression of thanksgiving contained in a preceding verse. By calling God expressively the God of Israel, he testifies that he cherished in his heart a deep and thorough impression of the covenant, which God made with the Fathers; because it was the source from which his deliverance proceeded. The term amen is repeated twice, to express the greater vehemence, and that all the godly might be the more effectually stirred to praise God”.

The Psalms are always a source of inspiration and praise and my study of the first book of Psalms has led me to the foot of the cross from where I see the great God of love and forgiveness and from there I join with the editors of this first book of Psalms and say,

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen. 

AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

(BASED ON PSALM 41)

 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak

For they show that God’s love is real

And God will help them even in their strife

For at the foot of the cross they kneel.

 

The Lord promises to protect and guide his flock

And bring them to glory above

For as they kneel at the cross and see Christ

Then they know that their God is Love.

 

The Lord will sustain us when we are weak and ill

For he will help us in our pain

Even when enemies seek to bring down God

At the foot of the cross we’ll remain.

 

For through the cross Jesus defeated God’s foes

Even a friend turned against him

At the foot of the cross many cursed

But our Lord said forgive all them.

 

But God looked away from his Son who became

The penalty of our sin for us

At the foot of the cross we come

And by faith in God’s mercy we trust.

 

God did not leave us at the foot of the cross

For he raised his Son on high

To triumph over evil and sin

And to one day return in the sky

 

So each day we come to the foot of the cross

To drop all our sins on him

Rise to life in resurrection power

And praise his name as our King.

 

By: Jim Wenman

PART 2. THREE NEW TESTAMENT APPLICATIONS OF PSALM 41.

 This will be my last New Testament application of a Psalm for in my studies of the second book of Psalms I aim to only open up the Psalm and make New Testament application as it comes up in my explanation of what the Psalm is teaching us just as I did during this Psalm and all of the other 40 Psalms I have looked at.

My underlining New Testament theme of this Psalm has been, “Take it all to the foot of the cross” so I have chosen three New Testament passages which explore this concept. They are:

1. TAKE LIFES TROUBLES TO THE FOOT OF THE CROSS   (John 16: 31 – 33 and 17: 1 – 5)

2. TAKE YOUR PERSECUTION TO THE FOOT OF THE CROSS (John 15: 18 – 27 and 14: 15 – 27)

3. FIND GOD’S VICTORY OVER SIN AND DEATH AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS  (John 13: 31 – 32 and 16: 19 – 24)

 

1.     TAKE LIFES TROUBLES TO THE FOOT OF THE CROSS:  (John 16: 31 – 33 and 17: 1 – 5)

 All of my New Testament application passages come from Jesus teaching at the last Supper and his prayer in the garden of Gethsemanehe the night before he went to the cross. This long section of teaching by Jesus is found in Johns Gospel chapters 13 – 17 and you would find it helpful to read through these chapters as a whole before dipping into the three aspects of Jesus teaching I am highlighting in this New Testament section of this study.

All of Jesus teaching at the last supper and in his prayer in the garden before his arrest where particularly given by Jesus to prepare the disciples for his coming death on the cross and what would follow on that dark and terrible day in Jesus resurrection, glorification (ascension) and the sending of the Holy Spirit to all his true followers.

In Psalm 41 David opened with teaching about being blessed by God by showing God’s mercy and love to others and how those who do that God will help and protect when they face problems and difficulties in life particularly caused by sickness that might come upon us.

The three points I would like to highlight in this passage are:

1.     Why Christians will face trouble in this life (16: 31 – 32)

2.     What Jesus offers Christians in this life when they face problems  (16: 33)

3.     How coming to the foot of the cross is the answer to all life’s problems   (17: 1 – 5)

 

1.  Why Christians will face trouble in this life (16: 31 – 32)

 The question of why we all face suffering and difficulty in this life is a complex and often badly miss understood issue among Christians of all ages.

A number of times in my study of this first book of Psalms my understanding of the bibles teaching on this have been discussed. In short I believe the bible gives us four reasons why we might face some form of suffering in our lives. In my study of Psalm 6 I first set down these four reasons with a scripture reference to go with them:

  1. Suffering comes as a test of our faith (1 Peter 1: 6 – 7)
  2. Suffering comes to bring glory to God (John 9: 2)
  3. Suffering comes from living in a fallen world

(Genesis 3: 19 & Romans 8: 19 – 21)

  1. Suffering comes as a form of Discipline from God (Hebrews 12: 4-8)

The problem I think that causes miss understanding and often ultimate un biblical teaching about the question of suffering is that just one of these reasons for suffering is used to explain why we suffer and what the bibles answer is to it.

I have not got the time or space in this study to explore how each one of these reasons for suffering can become distorted teaching but I will illustrate my point by taking number two as the only reason for suffering.

If I believe all suffering is an opportunity for Christians to glorify God in healing then I will have real problems with the times that a persons sickness is not healed in this life but leads to their death.

Because I understand the third reason for the bibles teaching on suffering that suffering comes from living in a fallen world I am able to acknowledge that death and the decay of our bodies is part of life for all of us.

However for the Christian death is not the end or not the horrible fate those outside of Christ will face. This is because for the Christian we have eternal life in Christ and as Paul puts it in Philippines 1: 21 – 25,

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith’.

 This is not said to say that God does not heal us of our sicknesses in this life through the prayer of faith which James speak about in James 5: 13 – 14. But this healing I believe can come through the hands of doctors and the medicines which they provide for us just as much as the miraculous healing that also can happen which I have witnessed in times past on many occasions.

In our passage Jesus says in John 16: 33b,

“ In this world you will have trouble”.

 This trouble Jesus links with persecution, which could be a fifth reason for Christians suffering in this world. However I would consider suffering coming from persecution falls into the first category I mentioned namely: Suffering comes as a test of our faith (1 Peter 1: 6 – 7). This is because the Peter passage fits well into Peter’s general teaching of suffering which he speaks about in chapter 3: 8 – 22.

So whether we suffer because of persecution or because we are living in a fallen world where disease and death is all around us Jesus teaching is true,

“ In this world you will have trouble”.           

 2.     What God offers Christians in this life when they face problems (16: 33)

So Jesus is telling his disciple they will face persecution and trouble in this life but he offers help to combat the trouble they will face. In verse 33a he says,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace”

 David faced mighty trouble all through his long life sometimes that trouble was a direct result of his own shortcomings and sins. However through his Psalms in the first book of Psalms he speaks of God’s help and peace as we read in Psalm 29: 11,

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace”

 Paul taught the same thing in Philippines 4: 4 – 7,

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

Jesus then makes a veiled reference to the cross when he says at the end of verse 33,

“But take heart! I have overcome the world”

Through the cross Jesus defeated sin, death and evil and created the opportunity for us to have peace with God. This was his overcoming or victory he achieved for us through the cross. Paul in Romans 5: 1 – 5, makes this link between Jesus death on the cross and how it gives us peace with God,

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 Paul’s link with the role of the Holy Spirit in this outworking of God’s peace in Christ and what he has achieved for us and our ongoing Christian growth through suffering is apt here as Jesus had a lot to say about the coming of God’s Holy Spirit in John 13 to 17.

Listen to Jesus words in John 16: 5 – 7,

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned”.

Jesus has overcome the world, sin and the devil through his death on the cross and we need to continually come to the cross to find God’s forgiveness and the peace that offers us in this dark and fallen world.

3.     How coming to the foot of the cross is the answer to all life’s problems  (17: 1 – 5)

 In the first book of Psalms David seemed to often speak of how his only hope for peace and forgiveness is found in the mercy or grace of God. A good example of this are these three verses from Psalm 40: 11 – 13,

“Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; May your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me”.

 David did not have the full picture of how God’s love and forgiveness would be able to be given to us. His faith simply knew the covenant God of love and in that he trusted even after falling to great sins.

However as Christians we have the full picture of how God can and does forgive us. In John 15: 1 to 5 Jesus spells this out for us.

My two points from this passage I hope will help you take all your problems to the foot of the cross are:

1.     The cross brings glory and authority to Christ (verse 1 – 2a)

2.     The cross brings eternal life to those who believe in Christ (verses 2 – 5)

 

1.     The cross brings glory and authority to Christ (verses 1 – 2)

 What is Jesus speaking about when he says in verse 1 of his prayer before his arrest?

“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you”

 What immediately follows this prayer is Jesus arrest, false trials and then his suffering on the cross. So Jesus sees his death as his glory and this is what his Father in heaven wants him to do.

At the foot of the cross we look up and see both the justice of God and the love of God in one great act. Through the cross Jesus not only brings us to the glory of God but through it he establishes his authority over death, sin and the devil as it was through the cross Jesus achieved all this.

It is at the foot of the cross that God’s grace operates as Paul spells out in Romans 8: 1- 4,

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”.

 Paul teaches us in Ephesians 2: 1 – 10 how we are saved by this grace of God given to us through the cross,

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

 In John 17: 2a we read,

For you granted him authority over all people”

 This authority Jesus has gained through his death, resurrection and ascension is to determine the destiny of every person who has ever lived or will live. How this judgment will be conducted is spelt out in John 3: 18,

“Whoever believes in him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

 2.     The cross brings eternal life to those who believe in Christ  (Verse’s 2b – 5)

So Christ prayed that he might go to the cross to bring glory to God and give him authority over every living thing in heaven and on earth. Now in verses 2b – 5 he speaks of what coming to the cross will give us.

“That he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began”.

Jesus is saying here that through his death on the cross he won for us eternal life, which is not just life when we die but life in abundance (John 10: 10) from the moment we come to the foot of the cross and put our faith and hope in what Jesus has done for us. This is what John 3: 16 is saying,

“ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

The eternal life the cross of Christ brings us brings us into is a new relationship with God that Jesus prayer in John 17 spells out as,

“That they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (verse 3)

Jesus makes it clear that is through his suffering on this cross that this eternal life is won for us when he prays,

“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do”. (verse 4)

Finally he makes it clear in his prayer that his death on the cross was not the end of him but rather his resurrection and ascension would complete his mission to save us and win us eternal life when he prays,

“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began”. (verse 5)

So we need to go to the foot of the cross with faith in Jesus to find God’s forgiveness and love. To receive the gift of eternal life, a new relationship with God and to come to know his peace in our lives as we live in this troubled world.

2. TAKE YOUR PERSECUTION TO THE FOOT OF THE CROSS  (John 15: 18 – 27 and 14: 15 – 21)

In the middle section of Psalm 41 the main theme of the first Book of Psalms is explored again namely “The struggle of the anointed King and his followers with the enemies of God”. This struggle came about we learnt from Psalm 2 because David was God’s anointed King and those who opposed the true God of heaven and earth opposed him. Jesus is the great supreme anointed King of the universe so he faced even greater opposition from those who oppose the one true God and this led to his humiliating and horrible death on the cross.

Now we will learn:

1.     If they hated Christ then they will hate those who follow him  (John 15: 18 – 25)

2.     The help Jesus offers us as we struggle with persecution  (John 15: 26 – 27 and John 14: 15 – 27)

 3.     What actually happened to the first followers of Jesus

 

1.     If they hated Christ then they will hate those who follow him  (John 15: 18 – 25)

We come now the big theme of The Struggles of the Anointed King with his enemies in the first book of Psalms relates to us. Jesus in John 13 – 17 prepared his disciples for his death, resurrection now speaks of what will happen to his followers if they continue to identify with him and seek to truly follow him. We read this in John 15 verses 18 – 25,

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘they hated me without reason”.

So Jesus makes it clear that if they hated him then they will hate us as well. This is the basis of all Christian persecution. As Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 2: 15 – 16,

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life”.

Paul is implying that to those being saved we smell good but to those who reject the gospel we stink. For some our stink causes them to react negative to us. However just like David and Jesus they are not just reacting to us but they are ultimately reacting to God who we represent here on earth.

In some parts of the world right now this rejection of the message of the true God leads to persecution that causes the death of Christians. In western countries this persecution is in subtler ways like be laughed at or not given the same employment opportunities as non-believers or not being accepted in some social groups etc. This can make life as a Christian a struggle but God does give us help just as David had help with his struggles with his enemies who opposed him and his God who he so closely identified with.

2.     The help Jesus offers us as we struggle with persecution  (John 15: 26 – 27 and 14: 15 – 27)

In a number of places Jesus speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit who some translators call “The comforter” in John 14: 26. Jesus is promising to be with us through the coming of the Holy Spirit in our lives once we truly believe in him. In John 15: 26 – 27 we read,

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning”.

So Jesus is promising to give us the Holy Spirit who will help us to testify for him even in the face of persecution. Soon after Jesus ascended the Holy Spirit was given to all believers on the day of Pentecost and then Peter who not long before that day had denied the Lord to a slave girl and others stood up boldly proclaiming the Gospel leading to 3,000 people to follower Christ. This was a direct fulfillment of what Jesus promised in John 15.

In John 14: 15 – 27 Jesus promises three things through the coming of the Holy Spirit.

  1. The Holy Spirit will be Jesus in us (18 – 21 and 23)

Once Jesus went back to heaven the disciples no longer had a physical Jesus to relate to. If Jesus remained in bodily form on the earth he could only relate to a small confined area and group of people. However through the Holy Spirit Jesus can be with people all over the world in any time or age. This is what he is teaching in verses 18 – 21,

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

So Jesus comes into our lives through the Holy Spirit and just as he helped the disciples when in bodily form he now helps them and us in and through The Holy Spirit.

This is also spoken about in verse 23,

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”

2. The Holy Spirit will teach us everything we need to know (26)

The promise of the Holy Spirit teaching us and bringing Jesus teaching to our minds crops up in a few places in John 13 to 17.

Non-believers might ask how could the disciples who wrote the Gospels remember the teachings of Jesus. In chapter 16: 12 – 15 Jesus promises the disciple this very thing:

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

In John 14 verse 26 we have a more general promise to all Christians when Jesus says,

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you everything I have said to you”.

All that Jesus said to the disciples has been recorded in the New Testament for us and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the disciples to write it for us will remind us what we need to know when living our Christian lives even in the face of persecution.

    3. The Holy Spirit will give us peace (vs. 27)

The final promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit is the promise of the peace of God in our lives. As I said before David spoke a lot about God’s peace in the midst of his struggles with his enemies. The same God of peace promises all believers his peace through the Holy Spirit in our lives. As John 14 verse 27 reads,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.

David over and over again speaks of God’s peace and protection coming to him in the midst of great problems and difficulties. It as though he is saying God does not promise to never let us go through the storms of life but in the midst of life’s storms of life God is with us protecting us and giving us his great peace. As David wrote in Psalm 5: 11 – 12,

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield”.

3. FIND GOD’S VICTORY OVER SIN AND DEATH AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS  (John 13: 31 – 32 and 16: 19 – 24)

 In John 13 to 17 Jesus is preparing his disciples for the very dark day to come where it will appear the world or those who oppose God that they had victory over him. However in John 13: 31 – 31 and 16: 19 – 24 Jesus is not seeing this dark day to come as a day of defeat but a day of victory for him God.

He even indicates that his death on a cross is God’s glorification of him,

“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him”. John 13: 31

 We will now look at how:

1.     The cross is Jesus Glory

2.     The cross is the place of victory over sin and death

3.     The cross is the place where we need to come for our victory over sin and death

 

1.     The cross is Jesus Glory

Jesus was very clear in John 13: 31 – 32 that what was about to happen to him the next day, namely his death on a cross would be his glorification. Those at the foot of the cross the day Jesus was crucified all seemed to not see Jesus view of what was happening to him. However the Gospel writers do drop into the narrative of this painful event hints to something happening that most did not see that day at the foot of the cross. I will explore just two of them.

Both of these are found in Matthew and Marks accounts of Jesus death. The first is the Roman centurion in charge of Jesus execution in Matthew 27: 54,

“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

These soldiers would have witnessed the death by crucifixion of hundreds of people so their reaction to Jesus death was quite remarkable. This observation suggests that the death of Jesus was no ordinary run of the mill death and that something far greater and significant was happening through this death.

Matthew best describes this in the second incident recorded by both Mark and Matthew again we will look at Matthews account in Matthew 50- 51,

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks split.”

This incident that takes place right at the death of Jesus is the most significant indication of how Jesus death on the cross was his glorification. The tearing of the temple curtain is very momentous. In the Old Testament worship the temple was the focus of Israel’s worshipping activities. The Temple represented God’s dwelling with his people on earth and in that Temple was a place that was so holy and special that the Jewish high priest only entered it once a year. This Holy of Hollies place where the symbols of God’s covenant and presence dwelt which was the ark of the covenant containing the tablets of stone on which was written the ten commandments. This holy of hollies was blocked of from all people by a large heavy curtain. This curtain represented the barrier of sin that separates us from God.

Once Jesus died this barrier or curtain is torn from top to bottom which means God now opens up the way for all to enter into his presence.

The death of Jesus on the cross achieved a new and more wonderful way of coming to God. His death made a way for us to be accepted by God as forgiven sinners.

Finally Jesus of course did not stay dead because within three days God raised him from the dead and eventually after appearing to many people ascended into heaven. We looked at this concept of ascension in Psalm 26, which David wrote for the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, which I said was the climax of the Old Testament story. Jesus death, resurrection and ascension are the climax of the New Testament story. Finally Jesus return and our ultimate ascension into heaven is the climax of history.

Therefore Jesus is correct when he says in John 13: 31, 32,

“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once”.

2.     The cross is the place of victory over sin and death

 So we need to come to the foot of the cross for both forgiveness and victory over sin and death. This is something we do not just do once in our lives when we first come to faith in Christ but rather is something we need to do every day of our lives in Christ. Through the cross God constantly forgives us and gives us new inspiration to live for him.

In John 16: 19 – 24 Jesus again tries to prepare his disciples for what will seem to them as a terrible day. He describes exactly how they will feel when he is dying on the cross and how they will feel soon after that before he rose from the dead in verse 20,

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy”.

The scenes of Jesus followers at the foot of the cross certainly bare this out as we see Luke 23: 48 – 49,

“When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things”.

Mark records in Mark 16: 10 the state of the disciples before the knowledge of the resurrection,

“”She (Mary Magdalene) went and told those who had been with him who were mourning and weeping”.

Jesus does not just for tell of the great weeping and mourning to come but the great joy his death and resurrection would bring. We see this beautifully expressed by Jesus in John 16: 21 – 22,

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

This joy that come at the time of the Resurrection is expressed so well in Matthews account of it in Matthew 28: 8- 10,

“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

This joy comes because of the realization that Jesus death on the cross is not his defeat but his victory over death and sin. So we will find both joy and victory if we go to the cross of Christ and find his love and forgiveness won for us there.

3.      The cross is the place where we need to come for our victory over sin   and death

 So we have learnt that Jesus death was not his defeat but his glorious victory over sin and death. That going to the foot of the cross is coming to the place of forgiveness and love. That Jesus wants to give us a new life in him a life of glory and power. This is what Jesus goes on to talk about in John 16: 23 – 24,

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth; my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete”.

We relate to Jesus by faith in him and what he has done for us and by confident and bold prayer, which Jesus speaks about here. We are able to do this because God’s Holy Spirit who now lives in us.

David did not have this great clear and wonderful message of how we are forgiven and empowered to live for him through the death and resurrection of Christ but he trusted in the same God of love who sent Jesus some 700 years after his time on earth and I would like to finish this study with David’s confident words of faith in Psalm 41: 10 – 12,

“But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them.

I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.

Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever”.

 We have so much more reasons for having this kind of confidence in God. We have the message of the cross of Christ where he paid for all of our sins and made the way back to God where we have eternal life now and forever.

CONCLUSION TO THE FIRST BOOK OF PSALMS

 As I said in the introduction the last verse of Psalm 41, the last Psalm in the first book of Psalms seems to be a verse added by the editors of this book. In my introduction to the book of Psalms I suggested that David could have been one of these editors in both the first and second book of Psalms.

This editors note of praise becomes the pattern for the last word in each of the books of Psalms and makes us realise that no matter what problem or difficulty we might face in this life because of who our God is and what he has done for us we should learn to praise him in all situations.

The first book featured the theme of The Struggles of the anointed King against his enemies something that will be carried on in the second book of Psalms. This theme is mainly set against the turbulent life of David who wrote most of these Psalms.

David has taken us on a journey of pain and difficulty but always returns to the love and mercy of God that guides him though these difficult times and ends up giving him victory and peace.

David does not set down in his many Psalms in this first book of Psalms that the true follower of God will not face the storms of life rather he has taught us we might even face bigger storms in life if we truly identify and follow God. What he presents then is that as we go through the storms of life we have God with us helping us and protecting us and giving us his peace.

In Psalm 29 we learnt that God’s voice is like the sound of a great Thunderstorm but even in the middle a terrifying thunderstorm God is with his people giving them his peace. Psalm 29: 11,

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace”.

 May we find this God of peace in our daily lives, peace even in the midst of the storms of life as we seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

PRAYER:

Dear God in heaven we thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ into this world to give his life in his amazing sacrifice for our sins on the cross. Help us to live in the light of your love and grace for us. Even as we face the storms of life and those who oppose you help us to realize that you are with us protecting and guiding us and giving us peace, which passes human understanding. In Jesus powerful name we pray. Amen