< July 02, 2017 >

Commentary on Preaching Series on Psalms


[This is Week 4 of a 5-week preaching series on Psalms.]

Week 4 (July 2, 2017)

Preaching text: Psalm 30; accompanying text: John 6:67-69

A Song of Thanks

Psalm 30 is a song of thanks, which would was composed for moment when the person of faith has made it through the time of crisis -- when one has climbed out of the darkest vale of Psalm 23, and now can now look back from a place and time of safety. As such, Brueggemann calls these poems "psalms of reorientation (or new orientation)." These psalms "bear witness to the surprising gift of new life just when none had been expected" (Message of the Psalms, pp. 123-4). They recognize that the ship has sailed through the storm and a new shore has been reached. But -- and this is crucial -- there is no going back to a naïve "orientation." These psalms speak for those who have been brought through a deep crisis. As such, they know that faith that speaks the truth can never pretend that all will always be well and that all is as it should be. And yet, they have experienced new life and grace -- so they know that despair is not all powerful and evil does not have the last word.

Psalm 30 is typical of the song of thanks because it

  • Calls for praise (that is, it bears witness to who God is and what God has done; vv. 1-5)
  • Describes the time of crisis and how the psalmist asked God for help (vv. 6-10)
  • Describes the help that God gave (vv. 11-12)

In this sense, the song of thanksgiving is related to the prayer help. In the prayer for help, which we saw earlier in this series, the psalmist asks God for help and promises to praise God after that help has been received. Now, the help having been received, the song gives the praise that was promised earlier and also recalls both the initial "ask" and also describes the help that was received.

In regard to Psalm 30, special attention should be drawn to the elegant beauty the language: "his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping my linger for the night, but joy comes with morning" (v. 5). And also, "you have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy" (v. 11).

Hymn Suggestions:

  • "My God How Wonderful Thou Art"
  • "Crown Him with Many Crowns"
  • "How Great Thou Art"
  • "I'm So Glad Jesus Lifted Me"