April 1, 2017: Verse of the day

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1 The phrase “blessed is” (ʾašrê) begins (see 1:1) and closes the first book of Psalms. It forms a magnificent envelopic structure enclosing forty-one psalms, representative of the literary variety of the psalms: lament, prayer, praise, confidence, wisdom, Zion song, and affirmation of Yahweh’s kingship.

How blessed are the children of God, as they receive grace upon grace! But God’s blessings are not automatically bestowed on his people. The Father in heaven looks for those who wisely conform to his heavenly kingdom on earth as it comes to expression in righteousness, holiness, love, and justice. He cares for the oppressed and delights to see his children’s concern with the things that are important to him—concern for those in need (cf. 35:13–14; 112:9; Mt 5:7; Jas 1:27). The need may take many forms—“times of trouble,” “his foes,” or a “sickbed” (vv. 1–3).

Expositor’s Bible Commentary

41:1–3 The Lord Sustains Those Who Are Kind to the Poor. The opening section expresses true covenantal faith: the person who considers the poor is kind to them because they are fellow members of God’s own people (usually “the poor” in the OT refers specifically to the poor in Israel); presumably his kindness includes both financial help and energetic protection of them from exploitation. These “poor” are “weak” (ESV footnote) in influence, and therefore this person’s kindness is also generous, extended in the knowledge that they cannot pay it back. God honors the person who shows such kindness in true covenant faith; he delivers him, protects him, and more specifically, sustains him on his sickbed.

ESV Study Bible

considers the poor. Understands or empathizes with those who are helpless and unable to take care of themselves. The psalmist is in this condition due to his debilitating sickness. Accordingly, the first three verses here may have been spoken to him by another person, perhaps a priest.

the Lord delivers him. Those strong in self-confidence do not turn to the Lord, because they think they have no need for Him. Those not so deluded, realizing their weakness, have nowhere else to turn.

Reformation Study Bible

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