David makes an interesting observation in Psalm 41.
Life for Israel’s king has not been going well. Although he acknowledges openly his own faults and wrongdoing (“Oh Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you” – v 4), many of his peers seem unforgiving, even turning to false accusations and public slander (v 6).
Enemies take advantage of his situation (v 7) and at least one close friend has betrayed him (v 9). Israel’s king can do nothing but fall on God’s mercy and pray for His help and deliverance.
With all of this in mind, David’s first comment in verse 1 might seem surprising: “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak”. He may, of course, be referring to his vulnerable situation, hoping that his friends and enemies might adopt a more merciful approach to him – come on guys, don’t be so hard on me! Look how blessed you will be if you cut me some slack!
He lists some blessings that would follow if they do show him some compassion: The Lord will deliver them in times of trouble, God will protect them, preserve their life, even when sickness takes hold of them.
But there is another way of reading this, I believe. David has determined, despite his grave situation, that he will still seek to bless others. He may be going through hell, but, almost as a show of faith in God’s eventual deliverance for him, he will look away from his own troubles for a moment and help someone else.
Lord, I trust you to protect me, sustain me and preserve my life and I will declare that trust in you by caring for those around me who are also doing it tough.
Jesus endorsed this kind of approach when He said, “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” (Luke 6: 38)
Sometimes the costliest gifts are those we give to others when we are most conscious of our own pain and desperation. But when we do, we bless others trusting that the Lord sees our need will come to our aid. And we take heart in how Jesus promises to come to us – in generous measure, running over, with abundance.
What are your needs today? Are you aware of the needs of those around you? Perhaps God is waiting for you to be an answer to prayer for a friend or a neighbour before someone can be an answer for you.
Suggested prayer: Lord, I trust you in my current situation. Please open my eyes to see what I can do to help someone else today.