Divine Blessings: An In-Depth Journey into Psalm 41's Message of Consideration this Ash Wednesday

Feb 14, 2024 – Ash Wednesday | Psalm 41

A Departure from Tradition on Ash Wednesday

In a remarkable turn of events, our prayers tonight led us into the verses of Psalm 41, setting aside the customary introduction designated for Ash Wednesday. Throughout the upcoming season of Lent, our focal point will be Psalm 41. 

The opening lines of Psalm 41, spoken by David, resound deeply: "Blessed is the one who considers the poor in the day of trouble. The Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive. He is called blessed in the land. You do not give him up to the will of his enemies."

The Artistry of Consideration

These words paint a vivid picture, akin to David skillfully crafting a portrait of a friend and, in a symbolic exchange, the friend reciprocating by painting a portrait of David. The phrase "blessed is the one who considers the poor" holds profound significance. 

David's choice of the word "considers" carries the weight of "pay attention to," "focus upon," or "think about intently." It parallels the meticulous attention one gives when painting a portrait, studying every feature closely. When David declares "blessed is the one who considers," he refers to someone who gives careful, attentive thought to a matter.

Moreover, David deliberately uses the singular form, emphasizing the individual nature of the act. "Blessed is the one who considers the poor one," highlights a personal, intentional consideration.

This deliberate singular usage is not a mere grammatical nuance; it holds significant meaning. David could have chosen a more generalizing statement, but he purposefully wanted us to think with a singular focus: "Blessed is the one who considers the poor one."

Singular Purpose and Unity

The crux of tonight's message centers on this singular purpose—boiling down the entire world to two entities: you and Jesus. Imagine a scenario where two friends exchange roles, each painting a portrait of the other. In this context, Jesus is the poor man whom you are blessed to consider, to focus upon, and to always bear in mind. This concept aligns with the Book of Hebrews, urging us to "look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith." 

Jesus himself reinforces this idea. When He returns in glory, He will commend those who are considered the least among his brothers.

Yet, there is a beautiful paradox—both you and Jesus are considered the poor individuals in this narrative, and both are blessed for considering the other. This apparent strangeness finds its roots in the truth that every Psalm, including Psalm 41, speaks about the Lord's work of salvation for you. Through baptism, you and Christ are joined as one, making every scripture passage about Jesus also about you.

Beautiful Exchange and Blessing

Reviewing the profound exchange that occurred in your baptism reveals the beauty of this unity. Your imperfections became Christ's, and His perfection became yours. His strength became yours, and your weakness became His. Your life became His, and His death became yours—an exchange of immense blessing.

Jesus, the quintessential Valentine, epitomizes love in a way no one else can. His consideration for the poor is seen in words such as pity, compassion, mercy, and grace. You are blessed by Jesus, the one who considers the poor one.

Prophetic Reward and Blessing

In Psalm 41, David prophesies the reward and blessing Jesus receives for considering the poor. The resurrection becomes a testament to God's complete blessing, as David observes, "The Lord protects him and keeps him alive. He is called blessed in the land. You do not give him up to the will of his enemies." 

These words speak to the triumph of resurrection. Jesus, having considered your poverty, is raised and glorified by God the Father.

The Promise and Consideration

In turn, David encourages you to switch places with Jesus and paint the portrait of your friend. Jesus is the poor man whom you are eternally blessed to consider. His borrowed bed at birth and in death, His self-emptying, and His lack of a permanent dwelling—these embody His poverty. Your consideration of Jesus involves faith, hope, and trust, as seen in scriptures that speak of trust in the Lord and the pouring out of God's love into your heart.

The promise of Psalm 41 unfolds as you consider the poverty of your Lord Jesus, a consideration that makes you rich in every way. David outlines the blessings: "In the day of trouble, the Lord delivers you. The Lord protects you and keeps you alive. You are called blessed in the land. He does not give you up to the will of your enemies."

Your Assured Blessing and Unity with Christ

This blessed exchange, rooted in the resurrection and your inseparable unity with Christ, assures that you are counted among the blessed. As we await the day of resurrection, God's promises will be fulfilled in Jesus' name and for His glory. Amen.


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