Psalm 41:11

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 11. We are all cheered by tokens for good, and the psalmist felt it to be an auspicious omen, that after all his deep depression he was not utterly given over to his foe. By this I know that thou favourest me. Thou hast a special regard to me, I have the secret assurance of this in my heart, and, therefore, thine outward dealings do not dismay me, for I know that thou lovest me in them all. Because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. What if the believer has no triumph over his foes, he must be glad that they do not triumph over him. If we have not all we would we should praise God for all we have. Much there is in us over which the ungodly might exult, and if God's mercy keeps the dog's mouths closed when they might be opened, we must give him our heartiest gratitude. What a wonder it is that when the devil enters the lists with a poor, erring, bedridden, deserted, slandered saint, and has a thousand evil tongues to aid him, yet he cannot win the day, but in the end slinks off without renown.

"The feeblest saint shall win the day
Though death and hell obstruct the way,"

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 11. By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me: not because I have no enemies, or because I have no trouble which would overcome me. Therefore when he wrote down many troubles, he blotted it (as it were) with his pen again, as a merchant razes his book when the debt is discharged; and instead of many troubles, he putteth in, the Lord delivereth. Because he forgiveth all sins, he is said to deliver from all troubles, to show that we have need of no Saviour, no helper, no comforter, but him. Henry Smith.

Verse 11. By this I know that thou favourest me. In this text we see two things.

  1. How David assures himself of God's love towards him.
  2. How thankful he is to God for assuring him of his love. The first he doth by two arguments; one is taken from his enemies, they were prevented of their expectation -- "Therefore thou lovest me." The other is taken from his own estate, which was not one whit hurt, or impaired, but bettered by them ... Here the prophet speaketh of his knowledge, and telleth us that though he knew not all things, yet he knew that God loved him, and so long as he knoweth that, he careth not greatly for other matters, how the world goeth with him, etc. And, to say the truth, he need not, for he that is sure of that, is sure of all. God loveth all his creatures as a good God, and hateth nothing that he made, but he loveth his elect children with a more especial love than the rest, as a Father in Christ Jesus, and he that is sure that God doth so favour him, is sure, I say, of all. For to him whom God loveth, he will deny no good thing, no, not his own Son; and if he gave us his Son, because he loved us, how shall he not with him give us all things else?

When the child is persuaded that his father loveth him, he is bold to ask this and that of his father: so may we be bold to ask anything of God our heavenly Father that is good for us, when we be sure that he loveth us. As Mary and Martha put Christ in mind but of two things; the first was, that Christ loved their brother Lazarus; the second was, that Lazarus was sick; "He whom thou lovest is sick:" it was no need to tell him what he should do, for they knew he would do what might be done for him, because he loved him. So we may say to the Lord, when we are sure that he loveth us: Lord, he whom thou lovest wanteth this or that for his body or his soul. We need not then appoint him what to do, or when, or how; for look what he seeth most convenient for us, and for his own glory, he will surely do it. Therefore whatsoever David knoweth, he will be sure to know this; and whatsoever he is ignorant of, yet of this he will not be ignorant; to teach is that whatsoever we seek to make sure, this must first be made sure, or else nothing is sure. Peter bids us make our election sure; Job, when he saith, "I am sure that my Redeemer liveth," teacheth us to make our redemption sure. And here David teacheth us to make God's favour sure: now if we make that sure, then our election is sure, our redemption is sure, our vocation is sure, and our salvation is sure. William Barton, 1602.

Verse 11. Because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. When God doth deliver us from the hands of our enemies, or any trouble else, we may persuade ourselves thereby, he hath a favour unto us, as David did. But then it may be demanded, If God doth love his church, why doth he suffer his church to be troubled and molested with enemies? The reason is this, because by this means his love may be made more manifest in saving and delivering them. For as a sure friend is not known but in time of need, so God's goodness and love is never so well perceived as it is in helping of us when we cannot help ourselves. As Adam's fall did serve to manifest God's justice and mercy, the one in punishing, the other is pardoning of sin, which otherwise we had never known: so the troubles of the church serve to manifest, first, our deserts by reason of our sins; secondly, our weakness and inability to help ourselves; and, thirdly, the lovingkindness of the Lord our God, in saving and defending, that so we might be truly thankful, and return all the praise and glory to God, and none to ourselves. So that the church of God may have enemies, and yet be still the beloved of God, as Lazarus was beloved of Christ, although he was sick; for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, and therefore he correcteth them because he loveth them. William Burton.

Verse 11. God preserves his own, and bringeth their foes to nought: after Passion week comes Easter. J. P. Lange's Commentary.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 7-12. On a sick bed a man discovers not only his enemies and his friends, but himself and his God, more intimately.

Verse 11. Deliverance from temptation a token of divine favour.