Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen” (Psalm 41:13).
Behind every story there is always a back story. We often judge people based on what we see on the outside. Often our perceptions are changed when we hear the back story and understand what has shaped that person.
My professor at Moody Bible Institute told us every class that, “context determines meaning”. This is true for understanding the Word of God as well as people.
The verse quoted above from Psalm 41 seems safe and proper in the Psalms. But if you read the whole of Psalm 41 you realize that Praising God is anything but safe in the raw reality to what King David is going through.
David is gravely sick (v.3), he is wrestling with personal sin (v.4), He has enemies that wish him dead (v.5), he has people coming to see him on his sick bed and flattering him and then speaking slander abroad (v.6), his enemies are hoping his sickness kills him (v.8), and he has a close friend whom he trusted turn against him (v.9).
I don’t know about you, but that would ruin my day. I know people who have had these kind of things happen to them and they are still bitter and angry years later.
David models something for us in this Psalm that distinguishes the genuine person of faith verses someone who only has an exterior faith. He praises God in the midst of his difficulty. He is not destroyed, he does not despair. He struggles, but He does not lose sight of the glory and worth of God to receive his trust and praise in the mist of trouble. Instead of the ashes of bitterness David produces the fruit of praise!