Raise Me Up To Return The Favor
A Devotional Thought From Psalm 41:5-13
5 Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? 6 And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: His heart gathereth iniquity to itself; When he goeth abroad, he telleth it. 7 All that hate me whisper together against me: Against me do they devise my hurt. 8 An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: And now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. 9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, Which did eat of my bread, Hath lifted up his heel against me. 10 But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, And raise me up, that I may requite them. 11 By this I know that thou favourest me, Because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. 12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, And settest me before thy face for ever. 13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.
David was being kicked while down. Behind his back his enemies berated him, even wishing for his death. Those hypocrites were caring friends to David’s face, no doubt asking how he was doing and offering help while secretly plotting against him whenever his back was turned. Speaking specifically of one individual David says that he was a familiar and trusted friend. This fake friend that had shared many a meal at the psalmist’s table had now turned against him and broken his heart. Oh, the pain of a close friend’s betrayal! Is there a cut any deeper?
There is a great comfort for the Psalmist. He may have unfaithful friends that break his heart, but he has a faithful one that is always true.
Psalm 41:12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, And settest me before thy face for ever.
There is a friend on which you can always rely and he sticks closer than any brother.
The surprise from this passage is that David asks for mercy from God in order to recover but his reason seems surprising.
Psalm 41:10 But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, And raise me up, that I may requite them.
“Raise me up that I may return the favor”, that is basically what David said in verse 10. It certainly appears that he is asking to recover in order to seek revenge. Doesn’t it seem like he is asking for mercy so that he can show no mercy? I have read many explanations for this seemingly unspiritual request.
Some say that he is speaking as a king whose job is to exercise justice for the good of society.
There are others who point out the Psalms record examples of honest discourse with the Lord not pretty recitations of insincere words that are expected.
Is the Psalmist praying, “Raise me up for revenge”? I don't know.
One thing I know for sure is that my Lord Jesus applied this passage to himself and the betrayal of Judas.
John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
Judas, an apostle of Jesus Christ, had been a friend that followed the Lord closely for over three years. Judas had on the night of his ultimate betrayal shared bread dipping from the same bowl as the Lord. This fake friend would betray the Lord with an insincere kiss that would lead to the arrest and execution of Christ. Judas wasn’t the only betrayer of the Lord that night either, all the other apostles would leave his side. Even Peter, the most famous of all the followers of Christ would deny him with a curse. I can’t throw stones; I too have let him down many times.
In mercy, God would raise up his Son to requite them. He would raise Jesus to return the favor. How would the one who was risen repay? Mercy! He would return evil with good and grace to all who come to him.