Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. Psalm 41:1

Every believer ought to expect affliction in this world. But, with the affliction, God will also make a way out. Psalm 41 is about affliction as well as God’s deliverance.

David begins the Psalm with a reference to him who considers the poor. The poor is someone in a lowly state because of affliction. That affliction might be physical; but it could also be emotional or spiritual.

Although the wicked commit the most horrible treacheries against God’s people, we can still count our­selves to be in a blessed situation. In that knowledge, we can meet affliction with great comfort.

Although David was in great affliction, he neverthe­less counted himself blessed.

A blessed person is more than just happy; he is in a most desirable state. Scripture talks about the blessed person as one “whose transgression is forgiven” (Ps. 32:1), who “trusteth in” the Lord (Psalm 34:8), and who is chosen by God and brought near to Him (Ps. 65:4). In short, a blessed person is a child of God saved by grace and who therefore enjoys the benefits of salva­tion.

Of all the mass of humanity, we who belong to Jesus Christ are in the best situation of all. We of all people have every reason to be truly and lastingly happy, no matter what our circumstances.

Being in that blessed state, a child of God will give evidence of that blessedness by considering the lowly. David says, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor” (v. 1). Those who are blessed give careful and wise consideration to the plight of the poor and afflicted. Not like Job’s friends, who immediately concluded that Job must be under God’s curse because of some great sin. This applies to all the afflicted who cross our path; but David is especially thinking of the poor as God’s people in time of affliction. In David’s past, he had shown mercy to the poor and needy in Israel. In this particular Psalm, David refers to affliction that he himself experienced.

But even in that afflicted position, David still saw himself as blessed.

Perhaps, in the midst of afflictions, the last thing that crosses our minds is our blessed situation. Our natural tendency is to imagine our troubles as a sign of God’s curse. However, since David had already seen the evidence of God’s grace working in him to give him a care for the poor and afflicted, he understood he was in a blessed situation.

David gives six reasons why he considered himself to be blessed and why we ought to consider ourselves blessed even in the midst of the most difficult trials.

The first reason is found in verse 1 of the Psalm: “The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” Deliverance doesn’t mean that God always keeps us from experiencing trouble. Nor does it mean that God always removes our trouble as quickly as we would like. Sometimes God decrees that our troubles remain with us until the day we die—remem­ber Paul’s thorn in the flesh. But God does deliver us nonetheless. He delivers us by sustaining us and com­forting us in the midst of our troubles. He delivers us by working the trouble for our good. And He delivers us by quieting our minds to submit patiently to Him. Truly Jehovah delivers us in time of trouble.

The second reason why we ought to consider our­selves blessed during affliction is found in verse 2: “The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive.” Although we may faint and be brought very low, God will never allow us to die spiritually. None can ever snatch us from His hand (cf. John 10:28).

Thirdly, our blessedness rises above our earthly af­flictions. “[H]e shall be blessed upon the earth” (Ps. 41:2b). We need not wait until we are in heaven to experience God’s blessedness; we experience blessed­ness “upon the earth,” in the midst of this valley of tears. None of our afflictions can hinder or take away our blessedness.

In the fourth place, we ought to consider ourselves blessed because God will not allow our persecutors to drive us from Him: [T]hou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies” (Ps. 41:2c). Our enemies, including the devil, want us to fall away from God; but when we slip, God will continue holding us by our right hand so that we never deny Him.

In the fifth place, God will strengthen us to bear whatever trials He sends upon us. “The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing” (Ps. 41:3a). When the apostle Paul experi­enced his thorn in the flesh, God told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (II Cor. 12:9).

Lastly, we have reason to consider ourselves blessed be­cause God will always mitigate and moderate our afflictions so that we are able to bear them: “[T]hou wilt make all his bed in his sickness” (Ps. 41:3b). Just as someone tenderly ar­ranges a sick person’s bed to make him as comfortable as possible, so God arranges our circumstances so that we are able to bear them (cf. I Cor. 10:13).

This is the blessed situation of every child of God.

However, being in a blessed situation does not mean the wicked will love us. David was certainly blessed, and yet the wicked hated him and committed wicked treachery against him. Such was their malice and hatred that they would stop at nothing to utterly destroy him from the earth.

Although most of us do not experience that kind of treachery, the hatred of the world towards God’s people is becoming more and more evident.

David describes the treachery in verses 5-9 of the Psalm. “Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?” (Ps. 41:5). If the wicked knew that they could get away with it, they would an­nihilate God’s people from the face of the planet—just as wicked Haman in Esther’s day sought to get rid of the entire Old Testament church by killing the Jewish race.

Apparently David’s enemy visited him pretending to be concerned for his welfare. In fact, all he wanted to do was to collect information that he could use to destroy David. “And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt” (Ps. 41:6-7).

How bad did it get for David? “An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:8-9). Ahithophel, who had once been David’s closest confidant, had lifted up his heel against David, as one might violently kick with his heel when his enemy is down and hurting.

Most of us have never experienced that level of treachery. But Jesus did. Although Judas Iscariot ministered to Jesus and had eaten with Him from the beginning of His ministry, he treacherously betrayed Jesus for a mere thirty pieces of silver. Jesus quotes from Psalm 41 to refer to Judas: “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18). Horrible wickedness!

But is not that precisely what we ourselves did to God as we were in Adam? When Adam and Eve sided with the devil in the Garden, that amounted to lifting up the heel against God. In Adam, we are as guilty as Judas.

Thankfully, God turned the treachery of Judas to our good. Christ was betrayed by His familiar friend, so that we could be received again into God’s favor. He suffered at the hands of His own people, so that we could be blessed with all of God’s elect.

When we know that, when we know we belong body and soul to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, the treachery of the wicked takes on a completely different light. Friends, children, parents, siblings, and spouses might rise up in treachery against us (cf. Matt. 10:21-22). But even that treachery fits into our blessedness: “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [i.e., blessed] are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (I Pet. 3:14). Treachery fits into our bless­edness because God always works the treachery of the wicked to our advantage. Always! What solid material to comfort us in the midst of our trials.

Instead of dwelling upon our miseries, as if we had nothing to do except to weep and mourn, we should rather turn ourselves to God and confidently pray for His mercy. David does that: “But thou O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them” (Ps. 41:10a).

David is not praying for strength to carry out person­al revenge. Instead, as God’s officebearer, David desires to execute justice in God’s name. Even so, Jesus Christ, raised up from the dead and ascended into heaven, will execute justice. On the Judgment Day, every injury done to one of God’s children is an injury that Christ Himself will avenge.

But our comfort comes es­pecially from the fact that God delights in us. “By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me” (Ps. 41:11). We know God favors us because He will not allow the wicked to triumph over us. They might kill our bodies; but our souls they cannot touch.

Just like David, we ought to know that God is on our side: “And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever” (Ps. 41:12). God holds us up and will never let us go.

In that confidence, David expresses the truth that God is strong to save: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen” (Ps. 41:13). Jehovah is filled with strength to save and there­fore to be praised and adored. As long as the world lasts, from everlasting to everlasting, He will be the God of His people Israel. He will never desert His people.

So certain was David of God’s everlasting favor, he declares twice, “Amen, and Amen.” It shall surely be; surely! This truth is firm and secure.

No matter what afflictions believers may face, we may always count ourselves blessed!