Psalm 41

My Life Flows on

The church will always be drawn to the poor and the vulnerable.  In the spirit of Jesus, we care for them, even though they are often not easy to see or to be with.  We care because we know that we are but one step from being lowly ourselves.  Psalm 41 reminds us that we are all in this together – this gift of life that God gives.

Our psalmist begins with a confession of faith: God does not give up on the poor, the weak, the helpless, the wretched, the ill.  This is what our psalmist has come to know as he sang the first fourty psalms in the Psalter. 

Running through the Bible is a passionate concern for the poor and powerless.

  • the widow who has no power.       
  • the orphan who has no parent.
  • the poor who have no money.

To care for the poor means not judging or blaming them as Job’s friends did or as the disciples blamed the man born blind (John 9).           

In a lovely image we read that God sits at the sick person’s bedside, and like a competent and caring nurse even changes the soiled bedding.  Often enough God is called the Great Physician; here God is the ‘Attending Nurse (v.3).     

‘[The LORD] nurses him on his sickbed,                                          

          He changes his bed when he is ill.’   [New English Bible]

But our psalmist is not just idly theorizing about being vulnerable.

In verses 4-10 he testifies to a personal experience of illness.  His illness and feelings of abandonment even from his closest friends (v.9) connect him with those poor who feel lost and abandoned.

The poverty of his own fear leads him to praise those who stand by the rejected.

But fear is never the last word.  The prayer moves from abandonment to delight.  We don’t know how long the interval was between vs.10 and vs.11.  Was it a long two weeks with Covid?  Weeks of chemotherapy?  A series of surgeries to repair a broken body?  We are not given details but the psalmist turns to gratitude (v.11-12). 

Gratitude is the most basic faith response.  The possibility of a living relationship with God; the remembrance of past blessings and future promise, reminds our psalmist of God’s inexhaustible goodwill toward him.  Our psalmist has been blessed beyond even what he had asked for.  Thanks be to God. - My life flows on



Psalms 1-41 is the first of five books of the Psalter which divides into five books like the Torah.  Verse 13 serves as a kind of doxology to all that has come before.

13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
   from everlasting to everlasting. 
Amen and Amen.