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Vindication of the Infirm (Psalm 41)

Aug 15, 2023 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: Psalms Scripture: Psalm 41

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9)

As we read the Psalms, there are essentially three (3) approaches that we ought to consider in seeking to gain the most from the text. (1) Most obviously, we should read the Psalm in its historical Old Testament context (i.e., the author’s perspective). This is necessary for us to make an appropriate application. The Psalms can be an intensely emotional and personal book; so, it is important that we understand the original context before we then (2) read it from a personal perspective, as God speaking directly to us to apply its words or use the words of the psalm to pray to God. But it doesn’t end there. When reading the Old Testament, it is also important that we do so in light of Jesus’s words in Luke 24:44-47: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance forthe forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Knowing this, we can read the written words of the Old Testament keeping an eye out for shadows of Christ, his death, and resurrection. Sometimes this will be obvious, as in the case of Psalm 41:9, which Jesus quotes at the Last Supper as having been fulfilled by Judas; as Christ blesses the apostles, he clarifies: I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ (John 13:18, Ps 41:9). A good study of any psalm will utilize all three of these perspectives; our study of Psalm 41 will serve as an example of how to use the three different perspectives that one might use to approach any Psalm.

This week, read Psalm 41 three times, with three different lenses. First, read it as it was originally written – a Psalm of David. Secondly, read the Psalm for personal instruction in how to live and as a personal prayer to God that you might pray amid sickness. Finally, read Psalm 41 through the lens of the New Testament. As a Messianic Psalm, we can read the words of this Psalm as coming out of the mouth of Jesus. Consider the circumstances under which the words of Psalm 41 might be spoken by our Savior, the Word made flesh.