Psalm 41—Be Gracious To Me, Heal Me, For I Have Sinned Against You

(13 verses, :52 to read)

What I am about to READ
  • The conclusion to Book 1 of the Psalms, here, David speaks of God’s care of the poor, asks for mercy and help to overcome his enemies, and closes with a benediction.


  • The Psalms are divided into five books, Book 1, Psalms 1-41; Book 2, 42-72; Book 3, 73-89; Book 4, 90-106; Book 5, 107-150. Psalm 41 concludes Book One.
  • Verses 1-3, David describes the Lord’s care of the poor. One affliction of David, then, is that he was poor or ill, on his sickbed.
  • Verses 4-9, David describes the struggle against his enemies, including even a close friend who has betrayed him.
  • Verses 10-12, David implores the Lord to raise him up that, through him, God destroy his enemies.
  • Verse 13, David closes with a benediction.


  • “As for me, I said, ‘O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!’” When we pray the Kyrie, we ask for the same thing, “Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy! Lord have mercy!” Essentially, this was the prayer of the tax collector who went home justified (cf. Lk. 18:14).
  • “My enemies say of me in malice, ‘When will he die, and his name perish?’” What a terrible desire! Who hasn’t thought in anger, “I’d be better off without you!” Lord have mercy on me, a sinner! But there’s more to this verse than that. David’s name will endure because of the promise of a Son from David’s body who will sit on his throne forever. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ, the Son of David, who bore our sins that we would be healed! Amen!
  • “But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!” These words might sound like David is asking for God to “okay” revenge. That’s not it. David, as king, is tasked with carrying out justice. He’s asking that God’s justice be carried out through him and his vocation. Dr. Luther, in Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved, recognizes that it is God who kills or tortures when the soldier faithfully serves his vocation. The executioner who faithfully carries out his duties is not committing murder. The parent who disciplines his child, training him in righteousness, is not torturing. To ask God to do these things through you is a faithful prayer that recognizes God’s care for the poor through our various vocations.
  • The psalm begins and ends with a blessing. Note verse one, “Blessed is the onewho considers the poor.” Bless we the Lord! Verse thirteen, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!” Thanks be to God! Amen!


  • We pray: “Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your dear children. Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us, for You sent Your Son to bear our sin to the point of His death, that we would live with You. Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
-Pastor Tyler Holt

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