Scripture: Psalm 41:3 The Lord sustains (the righteous) on their sickbeds; in their illness you heal all their infirmities. 4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” 5 My enemies wonder in malice when I will die, and my name perish. 6 And when they come to see me, they utter empty words, while their hearts gather mischief; when they go out, they tell it abroad. 7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me. 8 They think that a deadly thing has fastened on me, that I will not rise again from where I lie. 9 Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me. 10 But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.
Observation: This psalm is attributed to King David when he was very ill. He asks God to help him against his enemies, who are people he thought were his friends. They visit David in his sickbed with long faces as if grieving his imminent death – but it’s a sham. Inwardly they are praying for his demise, even as they smile to his face. Verse 9 mentions “my bosom friend in whom I trusted” who has also betrayed him. David would like nothing more than to recover. What a surprise that would be to those who were already angling for positions of power in a new regime.
Application: If you’ve been alive for any length of years, it’s likely you’ve run into this sort of person. They smile to your face, then stab you in the back. Happens to everyone at some point, so what do we do? David wants to be healed so he can take his revenge (v.10), yet I don’t think that’s how Jesus wants us to handle such things. Rather than seek revenge, I believe the Lord wants us to forgive our betrayers and pray for them – that they may repent of their sin and change from the inside out.
As for you and me, when we experience a betrayer, we can be tempted to mistrust everyone. We don’t want to risk being hurt again, which is perfectly understandable. Yet we are the ones who suffer most when we put up emotional walls, creating a prison of self-imposed isolation. That’s no way to live.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it hurts so badly when people betray us – especially those closest to us. Give us grace to forgive rather than seek revenge. And help us to avoid the temptation to retreat behind emotional walls. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.