The Joy of Thanks!
"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5
Main Idea: Lord, I will truly and forever praise you from my
inner most being, I am truly grateful and filled with Joy! You have answered my heart's cry and pulled me up from my troubles. I am free from my enemies. I called for you and not only did you hear me, you answered me and you healed me. I was about to die, there were no options, you were my first and last call, and I sing your praises. I have always been and will forever be your faithful. I know I have done wrong, yet, your anger did not prevail over me; rather, your forgiveness and kindness is given when it is not deserved. I will take my gratitude and be content and loud in my thanksgiving for what you have done. I am secure in you, and will never be moved from my faith in you. As long as I have your favor you make my call to you stay on track, and my ministry continues. But, when you hide yourself from me, I can do no good thing and feel discouraged. Thus, I need your grace, forgiveness and help. I call for your kindness, as what good can I be if left broken. You took all of my faith and waiting and turned it into extreme gladness and my praise for you can't be silenced, as it will go on forever!
Contexts and Background:
This Psalm was, perhaps, written for the dedication of the Temple, as indicated by the title. Although attributed to David, there are controversies surrounding this. The Temple comes after David's reign and lifetime. There is no direct mention of the Temple. The Temple was built by Solomon. However, David gathered most of the building materials, foundation, plans; thus, he very well could have composed this for that occasion. The other possibility is this is a Psalm David composed after God's judgment for his sin of taking a census when he was told not to. David confesses, realized his depravity and begs for forgiveness. In this judgment, David sees God's mercy and patience. This Psalm, of course, could have been both, recognition of sin and deduction. During the courses of Temple dedications and rededications, this is the Psalm the High priest used for the invocation. It was and still used for synagogue dedications and important buildings like Jewish hospitals and museums (1 Chron. 21-22; 2 Chron. 24).
Commentary—Word and Phrase Meanings:
Verses 1-6: Something went terribly wrong with David. He is either very ill and or did something terribly wrong, to cry out in this way. Perhaps both. David, thinking he was about to die, prays and pleads with God reminding Him of His past interdictions to help him. Not knowing what Heaven would be like or if this life is all he had, does not think he can praise God when he is gone. In any case, David knows he can only live or succeed if he is faithful and has God's approval and favor.
- Exalt you / extol. A High from of praise. This means to give honor and gratitude and majesty, beyond praise, for a glorious, triumphant and exalted honor that can go only and truly to God Almighty. He alone deserves the right to be honored throughout the universe (Psalm 18:3; 110:1; 150:6; Luke 22:69; John 14:13; Acts 2:33-35, 42-43; 5:31; 7:55-56; Rom. 8:34; 2 Cor. 1:20; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 3:21)!
- Lifted me / drawn me up out of the depths. The same Hebrew word for drawing up a bucket of water from a well. This means to save someone so they do not die, as Joseph was saved from the cistern he was imprisoned in by his brothers.
- Lord my God. A firm statement of confidence in God, and a confession of faith, Yahweh, Lord God, Creator of all things, and Sovereign Lord over all. He made the universe and He gets to run it, including you and me (Ex. 15:11; Psalm 7:1-2; Isa. 6:3; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1-7; 20:28; Rev. 1:6; 4:11; 19:10; 22:9).
- Healed me. A thanksgiving for a miracle. This refers to a physical healing that could not be preformed from a doctor of the time.
- Me up / soul. A people's consciences sometimes referred to as their spirit and their real self, created by God and bears His image, whereas our physical body is a temporary holding shell. The soul is metaphysical and not seen in the material world, which is what is in need of redemption (Gen. 2: 17-23; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:35-49; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4).
- Realm of the dead / Sheol. The grave, place of the dead. Often referred to as a mud pit, hence the imagery of the Psalm attests to.
- The pit. The very worst part of Sheol, what is called Hell now.
- Sing the praises of the Lord. Giving God the proper honor, respect and thanksgiving that He deserves (Psalm 18:3; 21:13).
- Faithful people/ saints. Those who have a relationship with God, as His people in covenant. Also, the loving-kindness of those in our family, friends and here mainly referring to our worship community.
- Holy name. Meaning to be reverencing God without uttering His Holy Name Yahweh, to seek His glory. We are to honor God and act in accordance to His call and commands, and never manipulate to get what we want or to satisfy our own desires for power and control which was considered the utmost of wickedness. Because only God is to be in control and honored (Ex. 5:23; Deut. 18:5-7, 19-22; 1 Kings 18:24-32; 2 Kings 2:24; Psalm 9:2; 18:49; 118:10-11; Prov. 18:10; Jer. 14:14-15; John 2:23; 2 Cor. 5:20).
- Anger. David's has a heart cry out to God for His understanding, listening, and to turn away from anger. An appeal that God would not impose His just anger for the penalty for sin. The psalmist does not seek immunity from judgment; rather, tempering. God's anger is just. It can be nothing else. God's discipline is well-deserved. It can be nothing else (Psalm 6:1-3; 130:3).
- Favor. Meaning the blessing of God's special favor. The blessings are realized when the more we stay firm in our faith with trust and obedience, the more protection is given to us. Blessings are never mere monetary or physical comfort; they are the realization that our commitment and security are in Christ. (Psalm 3; Rom. 5:18; 2 Cor. 4:17).
- Rejoicing comes in the morning. What is done in the morning is forward-thinking and application for the entire day.
- Never be shaken / moved / place assured. Move means "make him go away," hear from God. Those who have a steadfast trust in God have the conviction of trust in God, so one's faith will not be moved no matter what. This brings about a faithful attitude, so doubts and circumstances do not rule over. Insecurity is a prime human dilemma (Psalm 10:6; 13:4; 15: 5; 30:6).
- Royal mountain. Meaning a symbol of power, strength and stability, and the protection of God. This refers to Mount Zion, David's place of power and the capital and home of the Temple. Ultimately, this refers to the heavenly city of God, where Jerusalem is figurative for God's dwelling on earth and the place of His giving us His Son in contrast to Mt. Sinai and the Law (Psalm 46:2; Isa. 2:1-4; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 11:9-10; 12:14-29).
- Stand firm. A pledge and commitment to stand firm in faith in God no matter what. There should be no material goal greater other than our deepening relationship with Christ as Lord. When we do not turn away from God in any way and, be faithful and humble, we will be deserving of His Work in us.
Verses 8-12: David cries out for mercy, he knows he is not ready to die and wants to continue his service to God and change his ways to be more faithful. He absolutely does not want to go to the bad place of Sheol, which we call Hell. He makes a proclamation to never be caught in the temptations of Satan again or fall for the traps of desire. To make his point, he bends to the humblest thing he can do, sackcloth, as clothes, while his heart sings out praise to God.
- Cried for mercy. Seeking forgiveness when one does not deserve it. David pleads with God for his life. His argument is "what good could I be to you if gone from this earth"? And, he would gain a voice of praise if spared. David did not have a good idea of what awaits him in the afterlife, he only thought of the here and now.
- Wailing / mourning. This means to express grief for a deep loss and or our sins! We must see the heinousness of our sin, and in humbleness and honesty, sincerely be upset so we can fully accept His grace and forgiveness. There was a connection in the ancient Jewish world between grief and self-humiliation. At funerals, families would wail loudly; when they tired out, they hired others to continue on, to pronounce to the community humiliation to show their grief. In the same way, they could show true repentance, as wailing was the cultural thing to do to prove, by self-humiliation, the mourning of one's sins (Lev. 23:29; 26:41; 2 Kings 22:11; Joel 1:13-14; 2:12-13).
- Sackcloth. A coarse cloth similar to burlap, dark in color, and usually made of goat's hair--a very cheap and itchy material. Sackcloth and ashes meant intense mourning and/or repentance.
- Joy. This means declaring our situation as happy and fulfilling, even when it is not. To have authentic happiness from harmony with God and others. To change our mindset and focus, so it is on the sovereignty of God and He is in control, even when life is turbulent! Happiness is solely dependent upon our circumstances; while joy is our contentment in Whom our Lord is (Psalm 32:7-9; Prov. 15:13; John 15:11; 17:13; 2 Cor. 12:9; 1 Peter 4:13- 19; Heb. 10:34).
- Heart may sing/ my glory. This means our soul, as in our whole being, which my glory refers to. Because of God's faithfulness and mercies, the proper response is full praise with all of our being. God turns our heartache into joy (Isa. 38:20; Psalm 104:33).
Devotional Thoughts and Applications:
We need to see our life in Christ as a journey, where we don't just learn to know and make known Christ. Although that is our highest priority, we must come to a point where we think beyond ourselves and needs. We are stretching so our trust in God is more real and developed. We see David stretching here in this Psalm. Repenting and seeking mercy while he praises God from the depth of his heart. Not bargaining, and definitely not blaming or skirting responsibility. Our lives were created and then saved by God; so, we must take this further and deeper by our thinking and daily living, even in trails and troubles, by living in His hands. We can let the flow of God's purpose in and through us by knowing we are safe in Him. Even in sickness and near death, as long as we have breath, our lips can sincerely and wholeheartedly praise Him, to Whom all blessings flow. And, the true blessing is not always what we want or think; it is the communion we have in Him and the relationships we build with others.
Christian Life Principle: God tends to intervene into the lives of His faithful when our trust in Him is not predicated on something we want. God as the loving and caring Shepherd who leads His own through the difficulties and enticements of the world to His greener pastures. We see this when our trust is upon Him.
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions, see Inductive Bible Study):
- What does this passage say?
- What does this passage mean?
- What is God telling me?
- How am I encouraged and strengthened?
- Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
- How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
- What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
- How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
- What can I model and teach?
- What does God want me to share with someone?
- What causes you to realize you have done something wrong?
- How does your church extol God? How can it do so better?
- When you have done something wrong, how can this Psalm be your guide? How can you thank God, even in His rebuke?
- How have you praised God from your innermost being?
- How have you been discouraged? How does this Psalm help motivate you in those times?
- Why is gratitude with contentment important to our faith development and deployment?
- How loud is your thanksgiving for what God has done for you?
- Do you feel secure in Christ? If not, why not and what needs to happen?
- What dangers are there out in the world that may move your faith away from Christ? What do you need to do?
- Are you giving God the proper honor, respect, and thanksgiving that He deserves? What about your church?
- How can you better live faithfully, knowing that God's approval and favor are usually given here?
- Craft your own apology letter to God for your past sins. Use this Psalm as an outline and guide.
© 2018 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries, www.intothyword.org/