Psalm 41

Psalm 41  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The blessedness of him who understands and enters into the position of the poor of the flock
Psalm 41 shows the blessedness of the man who understands this position of the poor of the flock and enters into it. (Compare Matthew 5:33Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) and Luke 6:2020And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20).) It is spoken in the person of one of the suffering remnant-doubtless with the psalmist’s own experience. It is one of the psalms in which Christ takes up an expression to show how, in the close of His life, when He entered into their sorrows, He tasted fully their bitterness. Still the poor man is upheld in his integrity, and set before Jehovah’s face. The apparent triumph of the wicked is short.
This closes the book. It is the experience, as a whole, of the remnant before they are driven out, or at the least of those who are not so. And the covenant name of Jehovah is used. Hence, the place of Christ is entered into, so far as He came and set Himself among the poor of the flock upon earth, and led the life of sorrow and integrity in the midst of evil. Of this last psalm He is not the subject, as verse 4 shows.
The subject of the first book
We have seen an introduction in the first eight psalms, in which the whole scene is brought before us in its principles and result in the purpose of God; then in Psalms 9-10, the actual historical circumstances of the Jews in the latter day. Thus, as to historical facts, their state forms the groundwork and subject of the whole book; while the way in which Christ could enter into their sorrows, and they be encouraged by His example, is fully introduced. His whole life amid the nation is passed in review; but particularly the close, when, after declaring God’s righteousness in the great congregation, He passed into the deep sufferings of the last hours of His passage on earth, going on to His being forsaken of God. Yet it was for Him-surely for us, blessed be God-the path of life.
The peculiar interest of Psalm 40
Psalm 40 has this peculiar interest, that it gives us, not merely the history of Christ, His faithfulness, but His freely offering Himself to accomplish all that the Father’s counsels required of Him; and then shows Him waiting in obedience till Jehovah was pleased to come in. And then He has the new song to sing. Of this intervention of God the resurrection was the grand witness; through which, as we have seen in Psalm 22, He has awakened, or rather created, it in so many other hearts. As is common, the first three verses give the thesis-the rest all that led up to this: only here it is traced from His first offering Himself to do it.
Additional remarks as to Psalm 41
The reader will remark in Psalm 41 what we have noticed as characterizing the remnant-the acknowledgment of sin (vs. 4), and the declaration of integrity (vs. 12). We have Christ using it as to Himself, showing, though the psalm be not of Him, how He took the place to which the spirit of the whole applies. The proud and wicked could despise and trample upon the meek and lowly, and perhaps chastened remnant. Here it is more the false and treacherous spirit of those whom he ought to have been able to trust. Blessedness is with those who understand, the meek and lowly ones who are chastened, for they understand the Lord’s ways; the meek one himself looks to the Lord when His hand is upon him. The point of the psalm is the blessedness of those who understand and enter into the position of those with whom Jehovah is dealing. This place, Christ fully took, though not chastened with sickness.