John T. Willis

Thursday, July 23, 2015

God Changes Mourning into Dancing--Psalm 30

The poet of Psalm 30 is confronted with enemies who attempt to destroy him (verse 1) and with a threatening disease (verses 2, 9). He prays to Yahweh to deliver him from his afflictions, and God rescues him. When this happens, the psalmist goes to an assembly of God's people and summons them to praise God for what he had done for him (verse 4). He is full of thanksgiving for God's gracious intervention. Psalm 30 naturally falls into four small paragraphs.

I. The composer extols Yahweh for delivering him. Psalm 30:1-3.
    a. At the very beginning, the speaker addresses Yahweh as "O Lord" and as "O Lord my God." Because of his enemies and his severe disease, the psalmist felt that he was drowning. But God the great spiritual SAFEGUARD "drew the poet up" from drowning and "brought up his soul [him] from Sheol," the grave, the Pit. What a graphic picture of God saving people in danger! 30:1, 3.
    b. When the psalmist was in deep trouble, he did not seek help from other people. Instead, he "cried to the Lord for help." Yahweh is a very dependable resource when we are in great distress. It is always best to turn to God for help and deliverance. 30:2.

II. The poet encourages his fellow worshippers to praise Yahweh. Psalm 30:4-5.
     a. After addressing Yahweh directly, the writer turn to his fellow worshippers, Yahweh's "faithful ones." While we depend on Yahweh, it is always helpful to turn to reliable faithful followers of God to support and encourage us. The psalmist admonishes his fellow worshippers to praise and thank Yahweh for what he has already done for him. 30:4.
    b. Like all people, the psalmist committed sins, and Yahweh punished him demonstrated by his anger. But God's anger is "but for a moment," while God's steadfast love is "for a lifetime." A loving parent chastises his or her son or daughter in order to refine that person's heart and life. Hence, weeping is often necessary for a brief period of time, but in time joy comes in the morning. 30:5.

III. The psalmist gives a brief testimony of his own experience with God. Psalm 30:6-10.
       a. The psalmist explains that for a long time in his life, he experienced great prosperity under God's guidance. At that time, he concluded, "I shall never be moved." Because of God's favor, God had established him as "a strong mountain." It appeared that he was invincible. 30:6-7b.
       b. But because of his pride and attendant sins, the psalmist sinned, and thus God hid his face and the psalmist was dismayed. In this dark period of his life, the psalmist besought Yahweh, reasoning that there would be no profit in his death. So he prays fervently that God will be gracious to him and help him through this difficult situation. 30:7c-10.

IV. The poet praises Yahweh for delivering him from his troubles. Psalm 30:11-12.
       a. When Yahweh rescued him from his afflictions, the psalmist addresses Yahweh directly:
             "You have turned my mourning into dancing;
                    you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." God is so powerful that he can change hearts and lives from bad to good. Often, people go through challenging setbacks, and miraculously and surprisingly God intervenes and gets us through. 30:11.
      b. Because Yahweh has been so gracious, the psalmist concludes by praising him for what he has done and to give him thanks for all his great works. 30:12.
This psalm is a great encouragement for everyone who encounters reversals, serious problems of all kinds, losses, fears, and setbacks.

Share YOUR inclinations and concerns and beliefs and insights and responses with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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