Gracious Lord, I rejoice today that ‘grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home’. (Amazing Grace hymn by John Newton)
Read PSALM 30
A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple.[b] Of David.
1 I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8 To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Give thanks for all the times when you have found God ‘a very present help in trouble’.1
David in difficulty is nothing unusual in the psalms, but the heading to this one suggests that his personal reflection has become a song to sing at the dedication of either his house or the later temple. Is this because the personal experience of the psalmist was paralleled by that of the nation, as we are seeing in Numbers? Or perhaps it was because he always saw himself as a member of the whole covenant community, where what affected one member was shared by the whole. Certainly, David wants everyone to join him in praising God, who has answered his prayer and delivered him from a life-threatening condition.
David begins with praise, but the psalm shows that his prayer was not immediately answered. He realized that God’s seeming absence was because of his own arrogant confidence (v 6) so that he needed to realize that it was only through God that he had any strength. There are words here that are very similar to those of Hezekiah in his prayer to be delivered from a fatal illness.2 Sadly, although his prayer was answered, Hezekiah’s self-pride increased rather than abated. A personal relationship with God, which we and the psalmist cherish, should not make us forget that we always stand before God as one of his people because of his grace and mercy.
The psalmist’s argument as to why God should spare his life – so that God would not miss out on his worship – is not one that a Christian is likely to use in the light of the hope we have because of Jesus’ resurrection. But what confidence there is in speaking to God in this way! Knowing that he will turn our mourning into dancing and that we are assured that his favor lasts beyond a lifetime – forever.
Praise the Lord together with his people, proclaiming all you have experienced of his love and mercy.
Father, you are certainly a turn-around God. Sometimes I need extra grace to continue through the ups and downs of life. I rejoice that nothing in life or death can separate me from your love.
1 Ps 46:1, AV 2 Isa 38:10–20
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