Psalms Bible Study (Worshiping God)

Psalm 30, You Clothe Me With Joy


  1. This psalm offers us a superscription, which I am always happy to have so we can have more information concerning the nature of the psalm. However, this superscription does not give us much information and has led to much speculation. The title reads “a dedication song for the house.” Whose house was this song dedicated to? Some believe it was a song dedicated to the completion of the house of David, that is the palace. Others think this was a psalm penned for the dedication of the temple that his son Solomon would build and complete after David died.
  2. It does not matter what building this psalm was penned for its dedication. The psalm is written as a psalm of thanksgiving. Specifically, we will see David describe his thanksgiving for deliverance from various circumstances. This psalm thanks God for repeatedly bringing David through his difficulties. As we approach this psalm, we will notice a number of contrasts that David expresses to show where he was and where God has placed him now.

I. From The Pit to Lifted Up (30:1-3)

A. Depths of despair

  1. As we have seen in many of the psalms thus far, David describes a terrible situation that he found himself in. By reading these first three verses, we are left with the impression that David was afflicted with a terrible sickness. So ill was David that he believed he was going to die. Verse 3 describes the feeling of being at the breaking point of death. David felt that he was right on the edge and was about to go down into the pit of death.
  2. Further, this illness had caused his enemies to rejoice. They were gloating and rejoicing over what David was experiencing. It is hard to be kicked while we are down. We would like for others to be compassionate and concerned about us. However, we see that this illness has been used as an opportunity to David’s enemies to rejoice over what has happened.

B. Lifted from the pit

  1. But David called to the Lord his God for help and God healed him. God lifted David up from depths of his illness and despair. David says that the Lord brought him up from the grave and was spared from going down into the pit. This tells us the severity of what David was experiencing. David seems to think that all was lost concerning his life and that there was no other hope but what the Lord could do for help.
  2. Because God had spared David, he will exalt and praise the Lord for what has been done for him. This situation, if we are understanding David’s words correctly, remind us of the terrible disease that afflicted Hezekiah, king of Judah. After praying to God, Isaiah comes to Hezekiah and tells him that God has chosen to extend his life (2 Kings 20).
  3. We are presented with the first aspect of what we can expect from God. We learn that we can go to God concerning our physical health and ask God to help us to overcome whatever our affliction may be. While our spiritual health and spiritual things are of greater importance than anything physical, we clearly learn that God will listen to our prayers concerning our physical health and well-being.
  4. We do not need to pray for the doctors to find out what is wrong. We do not need to pray for another person to have the wisdom and knowledge to treat us. We can pray directly to God to help us in our illness and let God work out the rest. If God wants to use doctors, that is great. If God wants to do the work Himself, that is also great. I will not limit the options available to God to heal us. While I thank God for modern medicine, I thank God more when illnesses are healed that modern medicine cannot help. We have seen this happen with our friends and even within this congregation. People have been healed and doctors have no explanation how the healing took place. God has the power over our physical bodies and can heal our afflictions.

II. From God’s Anger to God’s Favor (30:4-5)

A. Anger for a moment

  1. I cannot say it any better than David said it himself in verses 4-5. Praise God that His anger only lasts for a moment. How many times do we sin in our lives and make bad decisions that anger the Lord! God has the right to hold our transgressions over our heads, keep us accountable for every violation, and burn His wrath toward us for our treachery.
  2. How beautiful to know that God’s anger lasts only for a moment. God has the power and ability to forget our sins when we meet His conditions for grace. God’s anger does not taint the way He deals with us for the rest of our lives. This is a quality that is very difficult for us to attain, but an important characteristic to work on in our lives. We have the tendency to keep our anger burning for days, weeks, and months. Sometimes we like to be angry at others and use it as a device to above another. God does not treat us this way and we must not treat others this way. We must have our anger be but for a moment and then move on.

B. Favor for a lifetime

  1. Even more beautiful than God’s anger only lasting for a moment is the knowledge that God’s favor lasts a lifetime. For all that we have done and continue to do against God, we can still find His favor. There is no one on earth that we will ever find that has this same character. We can only deal with so much from other people. We are hurt by others and can only accept so much pain before we must withdraw. God, despite the pain we cause Him, can still shows us the favor we need.
  2. How true is this point seen in David! David had a warrior in God’s army killed so that he could marry Bathsheba to cover up his sin of adultery. What does God record about David’s character? David was a man after God’s own heart. Anger for a moment, favor for a lifetime.
  3. Further, David expresses the new day that we have with the Lord. While weeping may remain for this night because of what we have done, tomorrow brings new day where we can rejoice in the Lord. We cannot let the pain of our guilt burden us down where we cannot continue living for the Lord. David says a new day brings us new opportunities to find favor with the Lord and rejoice in Him.

III. From Terror to Security (30:6-7)

A. Terror when without the Lord

  1. David recognized a terror in his life when God hid His face from him. When we are not doing what is right and when sin has driven God away from us, we ought to see that our lives become destroyed. Sometimes we just cannot understand why things are so difficult in our lives and why things can be such a mess. One reason that we must always consider is that we have participated in sinful living.
  2. We cannot think that we are in God’s favor and receiving God’s blessings when we are sinning against Him. We need to have a close enough relationship with God and be in tune to His word so closely that we can tell when we are out of God’s favor. We must realize that our actions make God hid His face.
  3. Notice what God said to the people of Israel, “They will forsake Me and break the covenant I made with them. On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide My face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters comes upon us because our God is not with us?’ And I will certainly hide My face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods” (Deuteronomy 31:16-18).
  4. We determine our relationship with God. If we want to be near God and have the favor of God, then we must not continue breaking God’s laws and keep violating the covenant. When we choose to continue in sin, the covenant with God is broken and God hides His face from us. We know the way we must walk and we must choose to continue to walk with God. To consider walking without God ought to be a terror to us because we do not have God’s protection, help, strength, or blessings.

B. Security with God

  1. By contrast, when we are with the Lord, we can feel secure. When we are in God’s favor, we can stand like a strong mountain. Of course we realize the impact of this imagery, since mountains do not move. God uses this language repeatedly to remind us of what God will do for our lives. Psalm 1 says that God will plant us like tree beside the waters. We sing a song that God will be an anchor for our souls. In this psalm we read that we will be able to stand firm like a mountain.
  2. So strong can we stand that we can say the words, “I will never be shaken.” When we are walking with God, there is nothing that ought to shake us. We can have total confidence in God to carry us through any circumstance. That can sound cliché but it out to be a truth in our lives. I would have never survived the trials of my life if it had not been for the strength I found in the Lord.
  3. Paul said, “We…sent Timothy…to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know” (1 Thessalonians 3:1-4). We have faith that we can endure when we are walking with the Lord.

IV. From Destruction to Mercy (30:8-10)

A. Point of destruction

  1. David returns to his theme of talking about the destruction he was about to endure. He is about to go to his death and is calling out for deliverance. I would like to simply make one point about what we see in this section of text: it is never too late to cry out to God for help.
  2. This point applies not only to the physical realm but also to our spiritual lives. May we never think that it is too late for us. We can always cry out to the Lord for mercy. There is nothing that is too severe that God will not forgive us from when we are genuinely repentant. There is no act that is so bad that we are forever cut off from God. We can turn away from evil and turn to the Lord for mercy.

B. Call for mercy

  1. The burden of sin can become so great upon us that we may be tempted to think that it is too late for us to return to God. But we read in the scriptures of people who committed all kinds of acts of wickedness, yet responded to the Lord for His mercy.
  2. In 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33 we read about king Manasseh of Judah. The scriptures say he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had drive out before the Israelites (21:2). He made his own son pass through the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritualists (22:6). He took altar and idols of various gods and placed them in the temple of the Lord. Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end—besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord (22:16). This man is probably one of the worst men we can read about in the scriptures.
  3. But consider what happened next. “In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to Him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13). It is never too late to call upon God for mercy and Him continue to offer His grace to us if we repent from our sins.

V. From Wailing to Joy (30:11-12)

A. What God can do

  1. We need to see all that God can do to turn our lives around. David says he went from wailing with sackcloth to now dancing and joy for all that God has done. God can move you from the pits of despair and from the mire of sin and set you up to stand as firm as a mountain in the Lord.
  2. We can rise up from the ashes of our pain and suffering and be transformed by God into joyous servants for Him. It does not matter what situation you find yourself in, God has the power to change your life when you will surrender your life to Him. As long as we try to keep control of our lives, things cannot get better. We must be willing to trust God to take us to higher ground, above the pain and anguish that we may endure in this life. Though we will suffer, it will all seem as nothing as we have security, hope, and peace in the Lord on our way to eternal life.

B. Give thanks forever

  1. David concludes this psalm by the reminder that we must always give thanks for how God has changed our lives. We need to thank God for placing us where we are today. Who knows where we would be in life with the guidance and protection of the Lord!
  2. Let us not give thanks once, but repeatedly and forever until we die since He has seen it fit to bless us so richly. What a blessing it is to have families! What a joy we have in our relationships, from parents, spouses, and children. What a blessing we have with a deep fellowship with the saints of this congregation. May the Lord always be praised and continue to bless us.
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