Psalm 30:4-12 (NIV)
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
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;
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.
God, I will praise you forever.
From praise to praise, this section of Psalm 30 includes four couplets worth pondering. Each couplet resounds two truths of God and life that may seem to be contradictory, but together, within the praise of God's holy name, they make more sense together than apart.
Couplet One: v.5a "For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime."
The anger of God is not hidden; his anger is real. For the psalmist, though, while this is true of God, "a lifetime" of favor is they very aspect of God's character we can rest in. The difference between a moment and a lifetime comforts, but this is also true: God's favor for his people is never cancelled by his anger.
Couplet Two: v.5b "weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
The previous couplet gives insight to God's character; this one to ours. And, as in the first couplet, the elapse of time provides the context for comfort. And, once again, there is no tension - both weeping and rejoicing are true experiences of all, but the promise here is that with God rejoicing will always follow weeping.
Couplets Three & Four: v.11 "You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy."
Having personally attempted dancing, wailing with sackcloth (an ancient practice of mourning) is an appropriate descriptor of my moves. Which makes the movement of this transformation all the more appealing for me. I picture a funeral becoming a wedding feast; desperate grief turned into exuberant celebration. It is good that it is the Lord who causes this change, for by our own strength we would always languish. God here is both master dance teacher and a premiere tailor; he picks us up and makes us dance like Fred Astaire.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Your favor to me is all I need.
When I weep, help me see through tears to a morning of rejoicing.
And, help me so I might not hide, but openly cry and wail
Into your guiding grace, and wait and wait until joy arrives.
In Christ I belong, and in his name,