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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 30



Verses 1-12

May the Holy Spirit, who inspired the writer of this Psalm, now lead us into its inner meaning! It is entitled “A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David; “or, rather, “A Psalm; a song of dedication for the House. By David.” It was a song of faith, since David did not live to witness the dedication of the temple, for which he had planned in his heart, and for which he had laid by in store. Though he knew that he would not be permitted by God to build it, he took delight in writing a Psalm which might be sung at the opening of the temple. Thus it begins: —

Psalms 30:1. I will extol thee, O LORD for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.

“I will exalt thee, for thou hast exalted me. I will lift up thy praise, because thou hast lifted up my spirits. I will bless thee, for thou hast blessed me,” Our song of praise should be the echo of God’s voice of love. “Thou hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.” You remember that this was one of the three things put to David as a chastisement for his great sin in numbering the people: “Wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? “He here praises the Lord that such calamity as that did not come upon him.” Thou hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.” Sorrows averted should be the occasion of grateful songs of thanksgiving.

Psalms 30:2. O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.

The king and the people had been sorely smitten with darkness on account of his sin, but the Lord, in mercy, bade the destroying angel sheathe his sword when he “was by the threshing-place of Araunah the Jebusite,” —the very place which afterwards became the site on which the temple was built. It was well, therefore, at its opening, to praise the God who heals his people. We ought to praise the Lord more than we do for our recovery from sickness. Employ the physician if you will, but, when healing comes to you, magnify the Lord for it, and ascribe the glory of it to his holy name.

Psalms 30:3. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Here is a double mercy to sing of, — not dead, and not damned. Life spared is something for which to praise the Lord, but to have the soul saved from going down to the pit is a cause of still greater thanksgiving. Oh praise the name of the Lord, ye who love him, and trust in him, for he has delivered you from going down into the pit!

Psalms 30:4. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

David seems to say to the saints, “Do not let me sing alone, but all of you join in the chorus.” He does not invite reprobates to praise the Lord, but he says, “Sing unto Jehovah. O ye saints of his.” I think it is very wrong to have the praises of God sung in public by ungodly men and women, as there sometimes are; the singing should not be left to a godless choir. Oh, no; “sing unto the Lord, all ye saints of his,” for you only can sing sincerely unto him. “Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness,” — at the very memory of him; at the remembrance of the whole of him, for that is his holiness, his wholeness, the entire, perfect character of God. O saints below, sing as they do in heaven, for their song is “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.

Psalms 30:5. For his anger endureth but a moment;

Notice that the words “endureth but” are inserted by the translators, and very properly so; but see how the passages reads if you leave them out: “For his anger a moment,” That is long enough for him to display it, for it is his strange work; and long enough for us to endure it, for it might crush us if it lasted longer.

Psalms 30:5. In his favour is life:

Life came to Jerusalem, in David’s day, as soon as God smiled upon it; and life comes to us as soon as we taste of his favor, even though we have been ready to die of despair.

Psalms 30:5. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

As the dews are appropriate to the night, so is weeping seemly for us when Jesus hides his face from us. The children of the bride-chamber may well mourn when the heavenly Bridegroom is taken from them, but it is only for a night. Morning will end our mourning. Our night-sorrow is for the night, but our joys are for a day that will know no evening.

Psalms 30:6. And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.

It is a pity to say too much; very few people fall into the opposite fault of saying too little. It is always a pity to be counting with certainty upon the future, and presuming, because of the hopefulness of the present, that this state of things will last for ever David was not wise when he said, in his prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”

Psalms 30:7. LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

When God is at cross purposes with his people, they are troubled at once.

There is no need for blows, no need for angry words: “Thou didst hide thy face; and I was troubled.” That is enough for a child of God; let him but miss the light of God’s countenance, and it breaks him down at once.

Psalms 30:8. I cried to thee, O LORD and unto the LORD I made supplication.

What should the child of God do, when he is in trouble, but cry? And to whom should he cry but to his Father?

Psalms 30:9. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?

So his prayer was an argument, and that is the very bone and sinew of prayer, — to reason and argue with God. He seems to put it thus, — “Lord, if I lose my soul, thou wilt be a loser, too, for thou wilt lose a singer out of thy choir, one who would be glad enough to praise thee, and whose very life it is to magnify thee. Oh, do not cut me down! When I am dead, when I am lost, there can be no praise to thee from me, so spare me, my gracious God?”

Psalms 30:10. Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.

What a handy prayer this is, a prayer to carry about with you wherever you go! “Lord, be thou my Helper.” That is a minister’s prayer when he was going to preach. That is a Sunday-school teacher’s prayer when going to the class. Is not that a prayer for the sufferer when the pain upon him is very severe? “Lord, be thou my Helper.” Art thou working for him? Art thou cast down in soul? This prayer will suit thee: “Lord, be thou my Helper.”

Psalms 30:11. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.

What a transformation scene in answer to prayer! Notice that David does not say, “I hope that thou hast,” but he puts it thus, “Thou hast — thou hast,” He is quite sure about it; and, being sure of this great mercy, he gives God all the glory of it. What a wonderful change it is! Not merely from mourning into peace, but into delight, — delight expressed by dancing; not merely from sackcloth into ordinary areas, but from the sackcloth of sorrow in the satin of gladness. God does nothing by halves; he not only chases away the night, and gives us twilight, but he goes on to gladden us with the full glory of noontide; and sell this he does with a, definite end and purpose: —

Psalms 30:12. To the end that my glory-

Or, “my tongue” —

Psalms 30:12. May sing praise to thee, and not be silent.

God ought to have praise from us. It is the quit-rent which we pay as tenants to the great Lord of all; let us not rob him of his revenue.

Psalms 30:12. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 30:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 25th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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