Care for the weak

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
Psalms 41:1 (NIV)

Read:  Psalm 41:1-13

Consider: The sentiment expressed by the psalmist in verse one of today’s reading reveals the heart of God with regard to the weak and vulnerable.  Those being envisaged are those who cannot defend themselves because of physical weakness, or their economic or social position.  It is the heart of God that the weak and vulnerable should not be exploited by those who can wield power over them.  This is something that is picked up in the New Testament, where we read: Religion that God your Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27).  This is also picked up by Jesus when he said: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me (Matthew 25:35).

There is, however, another weakness that is mentioned in the New Testament and that is ‘spiritual weakness’.  This might be someone who is a relatively new convert, as well as those who might have been a Christian for some time, yet are easily influenced by the actions of others.  In Romans 14:1 we read: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters.  While in Romans 15:1-2 it says: We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  Each one should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up.  Concerning the exercise of Christian freedom, Paul says this: Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling-block to the weak (1 Corinthians 8:9).

Returning to Psalm 41 there is a verse that might strike a chord for some of you.  We read: Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me (Psalm 41:9).  You may have been let down by a close friend, or perhaps been deserted by your friends when you were going through some particularly difficult situation.  If so, you will know just how hurtful this can be and how difficult it is to heal the rift that it causes.  You may not have realised that Jesus uses this very verse when he speaks of the one (Judas) who would betray him (see John 13:18).  If you have been let down by those you thought were close friends, you can be assured that Jesus knows what this feels like and the pain it causes.  He has been there too, not just when Judas betrayed him, but also when his close disciples deserted him and when Peter denied him.  It is clear that after the resurrection Jesus sought to be reconciled to the disciples, clearly forgiving them for their weakness.

Do you have any concern for the weak and vulnerable in society?  Do you take responsibility for how you exercise your Christian freedom, particularly in front of those  who may be spiritually weak?  Are you prepared to follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness towards anyone who may have hurt you in the past and show them that, despite their weaknesses, you are willing to renew your friendship with them.

Pray:  Father, give us your heart for those in society who are weak and vulnerable.  Forgive us for any hard-heartedness we might have towards those who need assistance.  Help us to think of others and their needs, not allowing ourselves to use our Christian freedom in ways that might harm others.  Amen

Every blessing

Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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