“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9 (ESV)
Psalm 41 is also a Psalm of King David. David tells how the LORD blesses those who help the poor. He also calls upon the LORD to heal him and thwart the plans of those who are waiting for him to die. A suggested outline for Psalm 41 is as follows.
I. God’s Favor (41:1–3): Special blessings are bestowed on those who honor the poor.
A. Protection (41:1–2)
B. Prosperity (41:2)
C. Help in sickness (41:3)
II. God’s Forgiveness (41:4): David asks the Lord for forgiveness and healing.
III. God’s Faithfulness (41:5–13): David calls upon the Lord to rescue him from his enemies, who anxiously await David’s death.
In the midst of our celebrating the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, it might be forgotten that not all prophecies concerning the Lord’s life on earth are pleasant. Some are dark and foreboding. Take the one from today’s text as an example.
David was lamenting that in the midst of his trials, even a close friend of his had turned against him. The Hebrew idiom has lifted his heel against me refers to a great effort initiated against someone. Biblical scholars explain that David had in mind the treachery of his friend Ahithophel, who betrayed him, and then hanged himself (2 Sam. 16:20–17:3, 23).
On the night prior to His crucifixion, Jesus quoted Psalm 41:9 while in the upper room with His disciples. John 13:18-21 says, “18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “David’s close companion betrayed him; he kicked him while he was “down.” The Greater David’s experience and the employment of this reference in John 13:18 was to Judas (cf. Matt. 26:21ff.).”
God the Father orchestrated all things which occurred in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Noting was left to chance. This includes our salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
That Jesus my Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
Soli deo Gloria!