Psalm 41 has David explaining what it means to take care of the poor. “Blessed is the one who considers the poor”! The idea behind the word here translated poor may include economic poverty, but is broader. It has the idea of weak or helpless. David described the blessings that come to the righteous man or woman, and he summarizes the life of that righteous one by their generosity to the poor. David didn’t think that this was the only thing that marked the godly, but it was a significant thing. How we treat those with less reflects on who we are.
Guzik calls out these things about the one who considers the poor:
- He who considers the poor trusts God, willing to give from his own resources
- He who considers the poor is kind to those in need
- He who considers the poor helps those who likely will not help him in return
- He who considers the poor has a generous heart
- He who considers the poor gives for their good, not simply to make himself feel good
Today, however, money and assistance that is often given merely contributes to chronic dependence and deeply ingrained social problems. We miss much of what God intends us to do to help the poor.
David cries out to God for forgiveness and healing. “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you”! Without saying it directly, David seemed to appeal to God on the basis of his own good works, especially consideration of the way he has touched the poor. David expresses the need for healing for his soul:
- Heal my soul from its great distress
- Heal my soul of the effect of sin
- Heal my soul of my tendency to sin
He confesses his sin completely and seeks God’s forgiveness. He knows God doesn’t owe it to him, but is gracious and just and willing to heal if we confess and seek His grace.
David acknowledges that God is the source of his integrity. “You have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever”. David felt that in contrast to his enemies he was a man of integrity. Still, he needed God to uphold him in his integrity – recognizing that it was God’s work in him. Being set in God’s presence was the most important thing to David, more important that defeating his enemies. To be set ‘in your presence forever’ meant to enjoy God’s favor and fellowship. It was the ultimate goal that David was seeking – eternity in God’s presence!