The Word Made Fresh
(For the worship leader. A psalm of David.)
1Those who are poor and weak shall be glad,
for the Lord will rescue them from their trouble.
2The LORD will watch over them and guard them.
They will be rewarded in the land
and you will not give them to their enemies.
3The LORD helps them when they are sick,
and brings healing to their sickbeds.
4As for me, I prayed, “LORD, be kind to me.
Heal me even though I know I have sinned against you.”
5My enemies wonder maliciously when I will die
and leave all my belongings behind.
6They visit and pretend to care –
they say all the usual nice things
but have nothing but mischief in their hearts.
When they leave they get together and talk about me.
7The ones who never liked me in the first place
are carrying out a whisper campaign,
saying the worst things about me.
8They think my situation is terminal,
and that I’ll never get out of my sick bed.
9Even my best friend whom I trusted,
who often dined with me, has turned away.
10Be kind to me, LORD!
Raise me up so that I might prove them wrong.
11I will know you are pleased with me
when my enemies have not defeated me.
12Praise to the LORD, the God of Israel
from now on and forever. Amen and amen.
Superscription: The 37th psalm attributed to David.
1-3: We begin with a premise: God helps those who help the poor and the weak. That sentiment is carried further into the psalm, and we quickly discover that the psalmist is the one who is poor and weak.
4-7: This is the prayer of a sick and dying man. It is, indeed, a confession. He has done something that he knows God doesn’t approve, and he thinks people around him are wondering how long he’ll last. They are rubbing their hands together imagining what they’ll get when he’s gone.
8-10: Yet he is a man who is well enough off at least to have fed others – his best friend specifically. Perhaps his friend, then, is poor, and he is basing his plea for God to restore him on the evidence that he has helped someone else.
11-12: Whatever the situation, these verses indicate that it has been resolved favorably for the author. But we do wonder what happened to his best friend – was their friendship restored?
13: This is the end of Book 1 of the Psalms. The first 4 books end with a similar expression (see 72:18-19, 89:52 and 106:48), and the last with a song of praise (Psalm 150).
In the days of the psalms, an illness that today can be easily cured was oftentimes deadly. All of us should “have our affairs in order” to some extent so that we won’t have to worry about what is to become of our belongings if we find ourselves with a life-threatening situation. Our things shouldn’t control our lives, but we don’t want our loved ones to be without when the LORD calls us home.