41. How Blest Are Those Who Thoughtfully

Text Information
First Line: How blest are those who thoughtfully
Title: How Blest Are Those Who Thoughtfully
Versifier: Bert Polman (1985)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: CMD
Topic: Doxologies; Laments; Sickness & Health (2 more...)
Language: English
Copyright: Text and music © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: Roy Hopp (1984)
Meter: CMD
Key: f minor
Copyright: Text and music © 1987, CRC Publications

Text Information:

A prayer for mercy in time of illness, when friends betray and enemies attack.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 =vv. 4-9
st. 3 =vv. 10-13

As in Psalms 38 and 39, the psalmist prays for God's mercy and restoration in a time of illness, which he views as discipline for his sins. The psalmist's enemies seize the occasion to publicly discredit him. Even his "close friend" (v. 9) turns against him. Apparently betrayal was not rare in ancient Israel. Jesus himself experienced profound betrayal by Judas at a time when Jesus seemed powerless before the growing opposition of Jewish religious leaders. This psalm expresses our confidence that the LORD delivers the godly from illness and from the attack of enemies (st. 1). In it we appeal for God's mercy in the face of our enemies' gloating and a friend's betrayal (st. 2) and pray that God will restore us and undo the slander of our enemies (st. 3). Bert Polman (PHH 37) versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal, borrowing the opening lines from the paraphrase in the 1912 Psalter.

Liturgical Use:
Suitable as a confession of sin, but also appropriate during illness or other distress occasioning slander or the alienation of friends. Because Jesus experienced a close parallel in the betrayal by Judas, this psalm is also fitting for Holy Week.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

GREELEY, composed by Roy Hopp (PHH 11) in 1984 for the Psalter Hymnal, was first sung on tour by the Dordt College Concert Choir on March 31, 1985. Hopp named the tune after Greeley, Colorado, where his wife studied for a time. A classically designed tune (in which lines 1, 2, and 4 are similar and line 3 provides a suitable contrast), GREELEY is in the Aeolian mode and is well harmonized for part singing.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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