Lord, be my help / Knowing Christ in Psalm 30

By: A.T. Walker

Psalm 30:1-12

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.
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.
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.
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?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
That my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise You forever.

David begins his prayer by praising the Lord, as we should always begin in prayer. There are a few different prayer structures that people will use such as A.C.T.S (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) or P.R.A.Y. (Praise, Repent, Access, Yield). When Jesus taught us to pray, He began with “hallowed is your name” or “may Your name be kept holy”. Whether celebrating or in distress, the Lord is worthy to be praised first and foremost.

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.

Speaking on this verse, Charles Spurgeon said, “Here is a double mercy to sing: not dead and not damned. Life spared is something for which to praise the Lord, but to have the soul saved is a cause of greater thanksgiving.”

Sing the praises of the Lord, you His faithful people;
Praise His holy name.
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.

His anger lasts only moments for His faithful people and but His favor lasts forever, or as the KJV puts it “in his favour is life”. For the unfaithful, you can almost reverse these. Both the faithful and unfaithful experience the common grace of God. What is “common grace”? When explaining what common grace is, Matt Chandler often uses these three examples: food, wine, and sex. All three can be enjoyed by both believer and unbeliever. These are gifts from God, but there are ways of using these gifts that honor Him and ways of using these gifts that dishonor Him. For the wicked, the temporary pleasures of common grace last only a moment, but the wrath of God towards them last forever. They may rejoice in their pride and status for now, but weeping and the gnashing of teeth is coming.

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.
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?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me

After laying out just how hopeless he is if the Lord doesn’t show mercy, we see David give a simple, yet desperate plea…

Lord, be my help

David has no choice but to hope that the Lord will help him. Look at the level at which David is dependent on God:

“You lifted me out of the depths”
“You did not let my enemies gloat over me”
“You healed me”
“You brought me up from the realm of the dead”
“You spared me”
“When You favored me, things went well”
“When You hid Your face, things went bad”

David knows that he is unable to save himself. He knows that if God wants him dead, then he’s dead. He knows that his only hope is that the Lord hears him and is merciful. How often have we felt like this? Desperate and dark are the moments where the only cry we can muster is “Help me!” But, even in these moments, we have hope…

You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
That my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise You forever.

Look at the reason for God rescuing David (and us) from wailing and sackcloth and giving us joy and dancing (that’s right, Baptist, dancing!)…

That my heart may sing Your praises

It wasn’t so David could just have joy, but so David could have joy in the Lord. The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is “What is the chief end of man?” The answer given is “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” In his book “Desiring God”, John Piper makes a slight adjustment to that answer by saying, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” We glorify God, and in doing so, we find our joy and peace in Him, not in ourselves. This is how wailing turns to dancing, mourning to joy. The heart that has been transformed by the love of Christ will not be silent because, in Him, we are satisfied.

God delights in the praise of His people.
His people delight in praising Him.
And His people will praise Him forever.

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