June 18, 2016

Psalm 30:4-5 Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

The last two lines of this passage are very famous, with the last line becoming the title of a book. It is a psychological reality that situations tend to look better after a good night’s sleep, but it’s important to recognize context any time we read the Bible. This Psalm claims to be one of David’s, and it says it’s “for the dedication of the temple.” Since David was dead when his son Solomon built the temple, that means this Psalm was one of the many things David prepared ahead of time, along with huge quantities of gold, silver, and other precious things. In that context, telling the “saints,” that is, God’s people, to sing praise to God and give Him thanks makes very good sense. The “weeping for a night” could refer to the various struggles that had to be endured to build the temple, or it could even refer to David’s own funeral, which he clearly anticipated before the temple would be completed. In any case, this Psalm was written on the basis of David’s years of experience in walking with the Lord, stumbling badly at times but recognizing the depth of God’s grace and mercy. We need to accept his instructions to praise God and we need to share his assurance that no matter how dark the night, morning is coming.

I have always enjoyed singing praises to God, and like David, I have learned that God does correct and discipline us, but repentance brings forgiveness and cleansing, and that is joy indeed. I am constantly dealing with people who need to believe that something better is coming, who need to lift their eyes off of themselves and choose to sing praise to God. That is hard sometimes, and I have gotten real push-back from some people who thought I was making light of their immediate suffering. The thing is, no problem, no suffering, is greater than God. When we put our situation into that context, everything gets so much easier. We do need to remember that physical death isn’t the end of the story. Those without Christ don’t have that assurance, so my first task is to lead them to repentance and faith. However, even Christians are very prone to focus on their difficulties instead of on their Lord, and correcting that is a major responsibility for me as a pastor. I can’t force them to do anything, but I can speak the truth in love, come alongside them and lift them up, to “strengthen feeble arms and weak knees,” (Hebrews 12:12) so that we may praise God together.

Father, thank You for all that You allow each of us to go through so that we may learn Your unchanging faithfulness. Help me stay focused on You, and enable me to help others to do so as well, so that together we may be submitted to You and resist the devil to the point that he flees, (James 4:7) for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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2 Responses to June 18, 2016

  1. dawnlizjones says:

    “The thing is, no problem, no suffering, is greater than God. When we put our situation into that context, everything gets so much easier.” What a great quote! I was just thinking also that “it’s not about me.” God has me covered, so whatever happens–good or bad, comfortable or not–it’s going to work out for God’s all over eternal plan. Somehow, that takes some of the pressure off me to “make things work out”. I just don’t have that wisdom.

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