Psalm 41NIV New International Version Translations
1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. 2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? 3 Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. 4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. 5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD. 6 Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. 7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4 was written by David for the director of music. In other words, it was a song to be played with stringed instruments.
Absalom was one of King David’s sons. He tried to kill David because he wanted to become king. David ran away. One evening, David prayed to God, “Show my enemies that you are fighting for me”. God answered David’s prayer and he was able to sleep in peace. The peace that God gives means that we too, do not need to be afraid.
Verses 1 – 2: DAVID PRAYS TO GOD. David might have been a good man he was not a righteous man. David knew that only God can make someone righteous. David asked God for help. “Listen to me” in Hebrew means “answer me”. David told God what he (David) wanted to his enemies to hear from him. David wanted to say to them, “You cannot win”. This is because the enemies of David were fighting God. His enemies wanted David dead and Absalom to become king.
Verses 3 – 4: IN HIS MIND DAVID TALKS TO HIS ENEMIES. David gives more reasons why his enemies cannot win:
- the LORD chose David as king
- the LORD did not choose Absalom
- the LORD made David different from his enemies
- the LORD will listen to David and answer him
David knew that his enemies could not speak about their plan aloud and that they could only argue with their thoughts.
Verses 5 – 8: GOD GIVES DAVID JOY. “Offer the right gifts” means “kill animals on the temple altar”. In Leviticus we can find more about what they are. It also means offer bread and wine. Other gifts were to offer themselves to become the servants of God. Our response today is the same as the answer of David: the LORD. God will shine the light of his face on them. One example is that the LORD will help those in need through us.
Items for Discussion
- Why do you think David’s prayer for his enemies is so effective?
- How is David demonstrating his faithfulness in this psalm?
- What expectations did God have for David to uphold as king?
- Where will David’s peace come from?
- In what ways, then, does faith in God and an attitude of repentance and service to God provide us peace?
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence. 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Luke wrote two books of the New Testament (NT). Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the life and work of Jesus. His second book, Acts, continues the story after Jesus’ resurrection. These two books comprise about a quarter of the NT, exceeding even that which Paul wrote. Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14). He was often Paul’s companion in his travels. The book of Acts contains passages in which Luke includes himself as a companion of Paul (‘we’ in Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). Luke shared Paul’s work (Philemon, verse 24). He was a loyal friend. In prison, Paul says, ‘only Luke is with me’ (2 Timothy 4:11). Luke was a Gentile. He came from Antioch, a town in Syria.
Let’s take a different kind of examination and study the significance of the events being described here:
- We can see from these verses that Jesus is preparing His disciples and others for Pentecost.
- From the account in John we know that the doors were locked. John 20:19 has the same word. Jesus did not enter the room or go through the locked door. He simply appeared.
- Here “ghost” means a disembodied spirit. And “saw” means “actually viewing.” Despite what people maintain, there is no such thing as seeing or communicating with the ghost of a dead person. God forbids man’s attempts to communicate with the dead. Deuteronomy 18:11; Isaiah 8:19. Jesus, therefore, was present in the room.
- Jesus’ body was now glorified but He had not lost His physical identity. Compare to 1 John 1:1. They actually felt and touched Him. If and when people fear the presence of ghosts (which do not exist) we should think about the fact that our Lord Jesus is ever present with us also according to His human nature, though we cannot see Him, to dispel any fears and superstitions.
- The disciples show their disbelief and amazement but their joy causes them to be skeptical. And so, to cure this situation, Jesus asks a simple question: “Do you have anything food here?”
- He took and ate broiled fish proving that He had a living body. “In their presence” means “while they watched.” Here compare Acts 10:41. Because of His glorified state Jesus did not need to eat but that does not mean that He could not eat. He did it for their sake, not His own. In other words, Jesus’ eating was an utter necessity for the disciples.
- Jesus then summarizes:
- He gives His stamp of approval on the entire Old Testament as a prophecy and foreshadowing of Himself, His person, Word and work;
- The Old Testament concerning Christ testify of Him in their entirety; and
- The Word of God is never preached in vain. It will always bear fruit.
- In verses 46 and 47 we have the very heart of it all: the Suffering Messiah, the Risen Messiah, the Preached Messiah. “What is written,” it stands lastingly written in the Old Testament. “The Christ,” had always referred to Himself as the Son of man. Now He openly called Himself the Messiah.
- This is what the Scriptures teach, the death and the resurrection of the Messiah and the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins on the basis of His name.
- So what does Christ’s death and resurrection mean for you?
- You must still dispel your superstitious thoughts, verse 37;
- You must dispel the doubts that arise in your heart, verse 38;
- You must dispel your fears as Christ does because He is both man and God, verse 39;
- You must still control your emotions which sometimes get in the way of your faith, verse 41;
- You must still convince yourself that the whole Bible, Old Testament and New Testament centers on Jesus, verse 44;
- You must still open your mind, verse 45;
- You must still remind yourself of His suffering, death and resurrection – done for your salvation, verse 46;
- You must still ask for the forgiveness of your sins, verse 47;
- You must still remind yourself that you are His witness; and,
- You must not forget that you have been given the Holy Spirit.
Items for Discussion
- How does God show his love for us?
- Why is believing that God loves us important to our salvation?
- What separates man from God?
- Why is a faith and belief in Christ and his resurrection important to salvation?
- What is repentance?
- Why is this important to salvation?
- How would you describe God’s form of salvation?
- Why should salvation be viewed as a gift from God and why must we personally accept it?
- Do you know how to help someone seek salvation?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations