"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. Psalm 30:1-4
Have you ever prayed for healing? Maybe for yourself or someone you love? You've begged, pleaded, cried, maybe even yelled at God to intervene, to reach out His hand and heal. Sometimes healing comes on this earth; other times a person is healed to heaven. We can't know why we must simply trust God.
In Psalm 30 David is thanking God for rescuing him from death, despair, defeat. Some scholars think this Psalm was written as a song for the dedication of David's palace in 2 Samuel 5. David has been crowned king by "all Israel", captured Zion (Jerusalem), and built his palace; establishing his kingdom.
Still, others think the house mentioned in the title of the Psalm refers to the temple David wished to build for the Lord. In his haste, David disobeyed God and took a census of all the fighting men in Israel. God had strictly forbidden this and because of David's disobedience, God sent punishment. We read in 1 Chronicles 21:9-22:1 God gave David a choice between three years of famine, three months of being "swept away before" his enemies, or three days of plague throughout the land. David chose the plague and 70,000 Israelites died before God relented and stopped His angel at the threshing floor of Araunah. When David saw the Angel of the Lord standing there he cried out to God:
"Was it not I who ordered the fighting men counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let Your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on Your people."
God relented and told David to build an altar on that spot. In 1 Chronicles 22:1 David declares this is the place the Temple of the Lord should be built. This setting seems more fitting to me than the first. However, other scholars feel David had been near death from an illness at some point in his life and that's when the song was written. We don't know the exact setting, what we do know is that God healed, God helped, and God gave hope. And because He did, David lifted up praise and thanksgiving to his God.
Whether we are crying out to God for physical healing, or healing for our sin-sick souls, we all need the same healing, help, and hope God gave David. In a sense, it seems God gave David a new beginning. Isn't that what He does best? He is the God of newness and beginnings. In verses 1-3, David is praising God for delivering him from the depths, from the realms of the dead, and from the pit. God has given David a new triumph over his enemies. And hasn't He done the same for each of us? We were once in the depths of sin, dead men and women walking, headed to the pit of hell until, like David, we cried out to God for deliverance.
When Paul and Silas were asked by the jailer what he must do to be saved, they replied:
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household." Acts 16:31
When we cry out to God, begging Him for forgiveness of our sin, and accept Jesus as our Savior, He delivers us from death to life. We have new triumph over sin and death because of Jesus. Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 15:
"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gave us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
In verses 4-5 of Psalm 30, David turns from a personal proclamation to public praise. He calls God's faithful people to praise Him because He has relented His anger. David says that God's anger only lasts a moment but His favor a lifetime; mourning is here for the night but joy comes in the morning. Hasn't God turned from His anger in our lives as well? Separated from God because of our sin we deserve the full wrath of His anger. But once Jesus is our Lord, God turns His wrath to kindness toward us. Paul told Titus:
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7
We have new hope because of Jesus. The hope of eternal life, hope of experiencing God's compassion rather than His wrath on the day of judgment. John said:
"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement: In this world, we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:14-18
We can be thankful that God's mercies are new every morning. We can be thankful that God has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. We can be thankful that we no longer walk in the darkness and death of our sin but God has brought us into the light of His love and forgiveness. We can be thankful that Jesus heals our sin sickness and delivers us from death into life eternal.
Gathered Manna for Psalm 30:1-5 is:
Because of Jesus, we have new life.
From what darkness has Jesus delivered you? How can you thank HIm? What was your life like before Jesus? What is the evidence of the new life He gives? How will you praise God for His new mercies, new hope, new triumph, new life today?
In Psalm 30:6-10 David speaks of feeling secure, prosperous, and being God's favored one. He is boasting and proud. It seems the king was comfortable in his kingship and felt nothing could defeat him. Aren't we the same way? Things are going good, we're secure in our faith, prosperous in our earthly gains, we feel blessed and favored. This kind of thinking leads to self-sufficiency instead of God-reliance. This kind of thinking is pride at its best. And God has a way of dealing with our pride. As with David, God punishes the sin of pride in our lives.
God sends trials our way, not to torture us but to discipline us, to grow us, and to humble us. Proverbs 16:18 says:
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
Or as The Message paraphrases:
"First pride, then the crash - the bigger the ego, the harder the fall."
David's ego had gotten too big. He wanted to know just how many soldiers he had in his kingdom. His prideful heart took over and he disobeyed God. That's what happens when we allow pride to settle into our hearts.
Speaking about his trials and tribulations in spreading the Gospel message, Paul said:
"Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us, as you help us by your prayers." 2 Corinthians 1:9-11a
And to keep him from becoming boastful (read: prideful) Paul said:
"...or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more in my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
God has a way of changing our heart attitude from pride to humility. We can be thankful He doesn't allow our pride to grow and our faith to shrink.
Gathered Manna for Psalm 30:6-10 is:
Because of Jesus, we have a new heart.
Where is there pride in your life? What do you need to do to humble yourself before God? How can we safeguard against pride?
The final verses of Psalm 30 speak of the transformation that comes with God's forgiveness. From wailing to dancing. From sackcloth to clothes of joy. Being given something we don't deserve has a way of turning our attitude around. God's grace is certainly undeserved. We have all sinned. We all deserve death. Yet we have forgiveness because of Jesus. We have new life. We have a new heart.
When God sends trials our way we have two choices: We can mope and moan, carp and complain. Or we can thank God for loving us enough to discipline us. We can have a pity party or a praise parade. The writer of Hebrews tells us:
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?... They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:7-11, select verses.
The trials of discipline are meant to grow our faith and make us more like Jesus. James tells us we are to:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
And again the writer of Hebrews:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Who, for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3
Jesus had joy as He endured the trial, pain, and death of the cross because He knew the end of the story. We do too. Though we have hardships, trials, pain, sickness in this world, we know: One great day our healing will come, one great day we will be pain-free for all eternity. We have healing because of Jesus.
"But for you who fear My name, the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture." Malachi 4:2
Gathered Manna for Psalm 30:11-12 is:
Because of Jesus, we have new joy.
What can you do to display the joy of Jesus in your trials? Why should we face our difficulties with joy instead of grumbling, praise instead of protest? How can you have a praise parade instead of a pity party the next time a trial comes your way?
I'm praying for the joy of Jesus to be prevalent in my life over the whining of "woe is me" the next time a trial comes my way! What about you?
Until next time keeping gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
God bless and keep you,