Throughout September 2022, I’ve managed to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
On the last day of September, here’s Psalm 30:
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 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.
What is this Psalm about?
This Psalm is labelled as a Psalm for the dedication of the temple, yet also a song of praise after the Psalmist had recovered/been healed. Most of the Psalm, arguably with the exception of verses 4 and 5, is quite personal, in the first person. The Psalm is like waves of gratitude breaking over or wearing down a difficult situation – culminating in the declaration of praise that climaxes in verses 11 and 12.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
The God we learn about in Psalm 30 continues to be primarily called ‘the Lord’, and we learn again several things that have been themes in the Psalter so far. Fundamentally, we learn that God is a God who hears – and as a result of hearing the cries of his people, he acts. There is this wonderful image in verse 11, ‘You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy’ – here we see the intimate goodness of God to his people.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
Psalm 30 meets us in the reality of life – illness, pain, the feeling of abandonment. It confronts us with God’s goodness and care – no matter what assails us. As someone living with depression for a while, verse 5b is a particularly precious promise: ‘weeping may stay for a night, but joy comes in the morning’. Weeping does not have the final word. And better than that, rejoicing is what ultimately happens.
A prayer from Psalm 30:
Lord, I will exalt you. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Remind me, Lord, when I feel like I am in a pit, that you are the one who raises us up, Amen.