We have in this psalm the cry of the merciful. It is the cry of the merciful man in trouble. And he knows that he will be delivered.
The first verse is the main theme: Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble.
The writer is David. David in trouble, but trusting in God.
First, we find a description of the blessedness of a merciful man; second, we hear of the trouble of the merciful; and third, we listen to his pitiful plea, which is at the same time a testimony of firm trust and confidence in his God.
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. Yes, indeed. We have heard the same truth from the lips of Jesus: Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
In the light of the following it is plain that David is describing himself. David is that merciful man even though the application of this fundamental truth is as general as the church universal. The truth is to be applied to all God’s own.
The man who bows down to his brother who is in misery is blessed because God beholds in such action His own life. God is merciful to His miserable church; and when He beholds us reflecting that same Divine virtue He will beam upon us and cause the whole universe to serve us to our eternal benefit.
The Lord always maintains Himself, hence He will preserve the merciful man. In preserving the merciful He maintains His own virtue which dwells in the merciful man. No one is merciful of himself. You will never find Christian mercy in natural man. The mercy of the wicked is cruel.
The merciful man is blessed upon the earth. Oh no, that does not mean that you will always have a great deal of earthly goods and riches, but it means that you will be blessed. And a blessed man is a man unto whom all things work together to his good. It means that all things tend to draw you ever closer to the fountain of your mercy, that is, God.
The merciful man is never delivered unto the will of his enemies. Does that mean that the merciful man will not suffer at all? Oh no, for many are the afflictions of the righteous and Paul told the newly organized churches in Asia Minor that through many tribulations they would enter into the Kingdom of heaven. What then does it mean?
To be delivered unto the will of your enemies would mean that you perish. You find it expressed a million times in our day when they say: Go to hell! They will sometimes even ask that God may damn you. And whereas wicked men often do not even realize that such is their will over you, the devil certainly always endeavors to seek your damnation. He is the murderer of man from the beginning.
But when God’s image is found in you, when you are of the merciful, you will never be given over unto the will of your enemies.
If you would like to see a definition of the will of your enemies in this very psalm we would direct your attention to the 5th verse: “Mine enemies speak evil of me, when shall he die and his name perish?” There you have the will of your enemies.
But this blessed man does not perish. He will live and praise the name of God forever.
David was sick or had been sick when he composed this psalm.
And in the midst of this sickness he experienced the mercy of the Lord.
Therefore we would say, finally, that the merciful is blessed because the Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing, He will make all his bed in his sickness.
It means that David experienced the nearness of his God when he was sick. God would hallow all his suffering unto his heart and soul and mind so that his sickness was a blessing in disguise.
That is the first part of the psalm.
The second part speaks of a great infamy.
There are depths of infamy which are really staggering.
An example of such base transgression you will find in this part of the psalm. It is so base that the Holy Spirit has taken it and laid it in the mouth of Jesus when He spoke of Judas’ treachery. Read John 13:18.
David received visitors in his sickness. Well, that is rather usual.
But some of these visitors were his enemies, they were evil men. And it is plain that they were godless men too. For they would whisper against the anointed of the Lord. And they would devise his hurt, while he would be unable to defend himself.
In the English translation we find this statement with regard to these evil people! They say: An evil disease cleaveth fast unto David!
But the Hebrew original carries a deeper and a more horrible accusation! Literally they said: “A thing of the devil cleaves unto David.” They meant that David had done some grievous and wicked thing in his immediate past and that God for that reason had made him sick.
And among all those evil men there was one who was worse than they all. He was supposed to be the familiar friend of David. The original says of him that he was the man of David’s peace! David himself says of this man that he trusted him. He ate with him from the same table. He ate David’s bread.
But now? He also came to David’s bedside. And he would speak vanity. In this connection that would mean that he would speak his conventional piece. He would assure David of his sympathy but with a lying heart. Because when he went abroad he would tell his vanity. That means that as soon as the door of the sickroom would close behind him he would laugh and joke about poor David’s plight. Worse yet, he would raise up his heel against David. He would try and destroy David’s good name and make him an off-scouring among the people.
All this is fulfilled in wicked Judas who would so treat the very Son of God.
But it is very dangerous, it is suicidal to so act against the sons of God. Where is Judas? Where are these false friends of David? They are reserved in darkness forever.
Dangerous because the child of God tells it all to his Father. And that is the third part of the psalm. And He will surely requite. Listen to David: I know, Father, that Thou favourest me, because I can plainly see that my enemies do not triumph over me.
Dangerous, for God will requite them. It shall be terrible to fall into the hands of the living God.
But David is blessed because he is a son of the Almighty.
Listen to this testimony: Thou upholdeth me in mine integrity and settest me before Thy face forever.
Of course, they are blessed. It could not be otherwise. In all their affliction they were suffering for God’s sake. They suffered because they were the bearers of God’s own virtue. And the enemies hated them because they hated God. So God will maintain His own cause in them.
And the end?
The end is heaven itself. Hearken to it: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting and to everlasting: Amen and Amen!
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.