We’ve been looking at Psalms for the past seven weeks. I hope one thing you have learned in this series is that the Psalms are versatile. There is a Psalm that fits very succinctly and successfully into whatever your life struggle is.
Whether you need HOPE…
...When it Seems like No One can help.
…Or When the world is falling apart.
…Or When You Can’t Escape Negativity…
…Or When You Can’t Figure out number three across on your daily crossword puzzle.
(OK. That last one wasn’t part of our series, but still…the Psalms would offer hope in that situation. See: A five letter word for the Savior of the world.)
But what happens when you no longer need hope? What do you do then?
Psalm 30 has the answer for us. Before we begin dissecting the text, a prayer: O Lord, strengthen us by the truth. Your Word is the truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see; open our ears to hear what you want us to hear; and open our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. Exalt the One Who Exalted You
Psalm 30 is written by a guy named David. He was perhaps the greatest Biblical musician of all time.
Greater than Chris Tomlin.
Greater than Amy Grant.
Greater than whoever wrote “Zacchaeus was a wee little man.”
In fact, he’s the first guy to author more than one song that is preserved in the Bible. (In the Bible there are songs recorded by “artists” prior to David. One was written by Moses and his sister Miriam. Another song by Moses and his assistant Joshua. One more song was written by a lady named Deborah and a guy named Baruch. But since it’s their only song, you might call them a one-hit wonder.)
David, on the other hand, wrote 73 different Psalms. Since there are only 150 Psalms, that means we he was only 2 Psalms short of writing fifty percent of all the Psalms.
Psalm 30 is a Psalm written late in David’s life. He’s had a lot of practice and gotten very adept at lyrical word play. Check out verse 1:
I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of depths. (v.1)
It’s perhaps a bit difficult in English, but do you see the word play?
The subject and objects are reversed,
But the verbal idea remains the same:
I will lift up the Lord,
Because the Lord lifted me up.
Lifting God up is exactly what David does. Check out verses 1-3 and count up the number of times that David refers to God as doing a benevolent action:
You lifted me out of depths.
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. (v.1-3)
Did you count?
God is the doer of four benevolent actions.
He lifted David out of the depths.
He healed David.
He brought David up from the realm of the dead.
He spared David from going to the pit.
Granted, David is listed as doing one of the actions.
But that one action is to call on God to help him.
100% of David’s praise EXALTS God.
What percentage is it in your life?
For example, if you don’t have COVID how do you talk about it with others?
I follow all the rules.
I wear a mask when I sleep.
I stay quarantined.
I do everything online.
I don’t know what everyone else’s problem is, but I figured out the secret to staying COVID free.
You’ll notice that was also five verses.
And…ZERO mentions of God.
Or maybe if you’d done well economically during COVID.
I brainstormed new ideas for my business.
I thought creatively.
I worked hard.
I had a great savings account.
I kept my family financially stable.
Five more verses…
…and God is nowhere to be found.
If your language makes it UNCLEAR who gave you healing,
Your language isn’t CLEAR enough.
This is especially true in the area of salvation.
There is nothing that is MORE obviously God’s doing than our salvation.
We have literally earned nothing but hell with our sins.
Zero amount of good works can save us.
We can’t even believe in Jesus’ saving power with the Holy Spirit working faith in our hearts.
If we give the impression it’s about what we do, then…
What does that teach others?
I had this friend on Facebook. He liked to write his testimonies about how God had worked in his life. One of his testimonies struck me:
“Dude man, I totally surrendered to God. I got on my knees. I called out at the top of my lungs. I meant it. I really meant it. And then I made it my goal to always follow him like no one else had ever followed him. I would be God’s warrior. I promised God that. And I’ve been fighting for him ever since. Man…That’s how I got saved.”
You mean that’s how you saved yourself.
Tell me -- Why did you need God again?
When it’s CLEAR God’s brought healing, God calls us to CLEARLY give HIM praise.
This isn’t difficult.
There are plenty of action verbs that accurately describe what God did for us!
He lived for us.
He died innocently in our place.
He rose triumphantly.
He called you in the Gospel
He washed you in his baptism.
He gives you his body and blood in communion.
He planted faith in your heart.
He caused it to grow.
He strengthened it.
He helps it grow.
He caused it to bloom.
And led you to share the Gospel with others.
He plants faith in their hearts.
He strengthens that faith. “
He helps that faith grow.
He causes it to bloom…
You get the point.
This is ALL about God.
Therefore, God deserves ALL the praise.
Our response when God brings healing is to give ALL praise to him!
II. The Praise Pro’s Praise Pointers
So how do we do that?
David is a praise pro.
Maybe we can get a few praise pointers from him.
This section is called “The Praise Pro’s Praise Pointers”
(1) Admit Your Failures
In 1 Chronicles 21, David has been king in Israel for decades. And things have been going very well.
His army had victory after victory.
His enemies had retreated.
The economy was booming.
The people were happy.
I’m a pretty sweet king.
I think people should know how sweet I am.
Let’s take a census of all the fighting men in Israel so that everyone will know I have the biggest army in the world.
And we can write it down for people to know how big an army I had and that I am probably the greatest king in history.
To be fair, David’s advisor advised against this:
Didn’t GOD do all this?
Why are YOU so concerned with exalting YOURSELF?
The king overruled him.
The command was carried out.
This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:7)
The punishment was awful.
It ripped through Israel and spread way faster than COVID-19.
In three days, 70,000 people died.
It was God’s way of saying to David and all of Israel
“You didn’t make this great nation happen. I did. It was a gift. And…I can rip it just like that.”
By the time David gets around to writing Psalm 30, God has relented.
David had repented.
David had asked God for mercy.
Most importantly, God had mercifully ended the plague.
David writes about it in this Psalm. He says:
God’s anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;
Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. (v.6-7)
Doesn’t that seem strange?
Why would David want that recorded for all to see?
Afterall, his original goal was to make himself look great.
This account makes him look like a prideful jerk.
But David no longer cared.
Because this wasn’t about him.
This was about God’s mercy.
It’s still about God’s mercy today. Therefore, it’s important to remember this in our praise life:
Admitting our FAILURES magnifies God’s MERCY!
Because you might read this story and think that’s really mean of God to do that!
These people didn’t deserve that!
They didn’t deserve what God gave them.
They didn’t deserve MERCY.
Because David had sinned, sin deserves death.
The people were sinners, sin deserves death.
But God stopped the death, in favor of his mercy.
The more David proclaimed and let people know, “This was my fault!”
The more incredible God’s mercy that said, “I am erasing your fault.”
To think of it one more way,
If I met you for a movie and I said, “Some guy paid for my movie ticket!” You’d said, “That’s nice.”
If I met you for a movie and I said, “Also he bought me this extra large popcorn and soda,” You’d say, “That’s very nice.”
If I met you for a movie and I said, “Actually he’s gave me a ride, has been paying for my rent for the past year, paid of all my students loans, gave me a job, bought me a new wardrobes, and he even got me a NEW subscription to Disney Plus in time for The Mandalorian season 2.”
You’d say, ‘That’s amazing!”
It’s the same with God.
The more we understand our debt.
The better we understand God’s mercy.
The more others know about our debt.
The more others know about God’s mercy.
And isn’t that what we’re about?
Planting Jesus in North Raleigh?
(2) Be Public About It
In verse 8-9, David describes how he pled for his own life in the midst of this self-imposed pandemic:
To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord, I cried for mercy:
What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness? (v.8-9)
I think this is an interesting way for David to plead for his life.
God just illustrated that David didn’t need him.
But David is now pleading that God did need him.
Because if he dies from the plague, he’ll just be a pile of dirt.
And dirt doesn’t make a lot of noise.
It doesn’t know any worship songs.
If you listen quietly though you can hear…
What’s David’s point?
God, I promise I can be a lot louder than that dust.
I promise I’ll praise you with more vigor than the dust.
I promise that more people will come to know the Gospel on account me, than that dust.
Do the same.
Be public about your praise.
Be louder than the dust.
The other day Julianna took Daniela to the park.
As they were there, she struck up a conversation with some parents.
Suddenly, the conversation was interrupted by Daniela.
She wasn’t crying.
She wasn’t pouting.
She wasn’t complaining.
She was singing a song that she had just learned;
Cristo me ama, bien lo se.
Su palabra me hace ve
Que los ninos son de aquel
El es nuestro amigo fiel!
Si Cristo me ama!
Si Cristo me ama!
Si Cristo me Ama!
La biblia dice asi.
No regard for being in public.
No regard for what others might think
No regard for whether she pronounced each word correctly.
For all to hear.
(3) Dance! (And if you’re bad at dancing, Employ Unexpected Acts of Praise)
Check out verse 11. David says:
You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. (v.11)
Sackcloth is a rough material.
It’s what sacks are usually made out of it.
And sacks are not usually the best type of clothing.
But wearing sackcloth was an Old Testament way of showing your sorrow.
People would put on the itchy, scratchy sackcloth to show God, “I feel so bad about my sin. Comfort doesn’t matter to me right now. Being right with you does.”
After his sin and the subsequent plague, David was in sackcloth.
But thanks to God’s mercy.
Now he had traded in his sackcloth…
For dancing shoes.
I don’t know what kind of dance David did.
Was it a Latin Salsa?
A line dance?
Or just the rubber band?
I don’t know.
That’s not the point.
The point is that David was so happy with God’s incredible grace that he couldn’t help but dance!
You might be looking at this what now and be thinking – I can’t dance!
It’s not the dancing part that’s mandatory.
Here’s the heart of this truth:
Proper praise results in UNEXPECTED displays of THANKFULNESS.
Stopping your car at an intersection and handing a $50 bill to the man on the corner.
Attending, not one, not two, but three Growth Group studies online.
An Instagram account that shifts from photos of you to declarations of praise to God.
An eerily happy disposition even during ELECTION season.
Think outside the box here.
How can you praise God in an UNEXPECTED way this week?
(4) Always Praise
Because while David ends the Psalm, he isn’t ending the praise. In fact, look at what he concludes with:
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (v.12)
He didn’t say, “I will praise you for an hour on Sunday.”
He didn’t say, “I will praise you for a week”
He didn’t say, “I will praise you until it appears the plague is over.”
Here’s how confident David is.
Check out the introduction to the Psalm.
It says, “For the dedication of the temple.”
David didn’t dedicate the temple.
He didn’t finish construction while he was king.
He didn’t begin construction while he was king.
He didn’t even lay the foundation.
All he did was use some of his own money to buy the land that the temple would eventually be built on.
David is so confident that God will continue to show mercy.
David is confident that God will continue to show kindness.
David is confident that God will continue to be God.
That includes 2020.
That includes right now.
No matter what year it is.
No matter what month it is.
No matter what time it is.