A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.
I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said,
‘I shall never be shaken.’
Lord, when you favoured me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
‘What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.’
You turned my wailing into dancing;(Ps. 30:1-12 NIV)
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you for ever.
The Psalmist has been ill, and he was brought close to death (v2). The Psalmist exalts the Lord because the Lord has exalted him by lifting him out of the depths of illness so that the enemies would not be able to rejoice in his death. Clear evidence of mockers gloating in someone’s death is seen when Christ was dying on the cross. God is exalted but he stooped down to lift the Psalmist out of the pit. The Psalmist prayed and the Lord heard his cry for help and came to his aid. The close relationship between the Psalmist and God is expressed by the Psalmist saying, ‘O Lord my God’. It is the covenant LORD that has brought the Psalmist into this relationship.
The Psalmist calls upon the people of God to praise God’s holy name. The Lord forgives and the Lord restores. The Lord has been angry with the Psalmist. While the Psalmist deserves God’s anger, he is pleased to reflect on God’s mercy. God’s anger only lasts for a moment, but God’s mercy and favour lasts a lifetime. There was a period of weeping in his sorrow, but that did not last, because with the morning came the dawn of rejoicing. We find the cause of God’s anger in the Psalmist’s attitude as he confesses in v6.
The Psalmist’s confidence was self-confidence. He boasted that he would never be shaken. Perhaps it was the many times that his prayer had been answered, that made him feel that there was something special about him that God would bless him. The Psalmist has been brought to his senses. He realised that it was God alone that made the difference. When the face of the Lord was turned towards the Psalmist, he experienced the favour of the Lord. The Lord made him stand firm. But that all changed when the Lord turned His face away. When that happened, the Psalmist was dismayed. The Psalmist called out to the Lord for mercy. He had nothing to offer, he had learned painfully that his confidence should be in the Lord. But we see that it is the Lord’s delight to restore the soul. Today we see in society that there is no hope of redemption. The media dig up past sins of public figures and quite often it costs people their jobs. There is anger and resentment expressed through social media. But with the Lord there is redemption, there is recovery. The Psalmist asks what benefit there is to the Psalmist being taken down to the grave. Again he pleads for mercy and for God to hear him. The Lord heard his cry and turned his wailing to dancing; and exchanged the garments of mourning for robes of joy. The Lord was not silent, so the Psalmist vows not to be silent. His heart will sing the praises of God forever.
Lord we are thankful that You show us mercy. When we experience forgiveness and restoration, help us to be willing to forgive others. Help us not to harbour anger, but to show mercy and a willingness to forgive. We have so much that needs to be forgiven, we are thankful that your anger towards us is for a moment, but Your favour is with us all our lives. Help us to be Christlike for it is in Christ’s name we pray. Amen