The Book of Psalms

A Litany of Uplifting Contrasts, Day 5


Theme: Personal Grief and Great Joy
From this week’s lessons we learn of God’s power and mercy to heal, and what we need to do in response.
Scripture: Psalm 30:1-12
The last set of uplifting contrasts is found in verses 11 and 12, but the wailing and sackcloth of those verses recall the time David has already described in verses 8-10. Wailing describes the words themselves, emphasizing the anguished tone of David’s utterance. Sackcloth describes the attitude in which his words were uttered, since sackcloth was the accepted attire of one who was demonstrating personal repentance from sin. These contrasts are: “wailing” versus “dancing” and “sackcloth” versus being “clothed with joy.”
There is one more important contrast, however. I wonder if you have seen it. It is in the very last verse, a contrast between “singing to God” (which means praising him openly) or “being silent.” It reminds us how silent many of us are in spite of having received many abundant blessings and deliverances from God.
Do you recall the hymn written by Charles Wesley in which we sing: “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise”? It is a pious thought but a vain one. For what would be the advantage of possessing a thousand tongues to sing God’s praise when the one tongue we do have is so silent? Jesus told us, “Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). So if we are not speaking God’s praise, it is because our hearts are not full of him. Instead they are filled with the things of this world, things that will perish with the world and pass away. What a sad exchange: the things of this world for the glories of the eternal God.
I counsel you to fill your hearts and minds with God. Think about him for what he is in himself and for what he has done. And then, when your heart is overflowing with his praise, speak about him to others, as David is doing in this psalm. You will find two things. First, you will find that God delights in such praise and that you will be drawn to him even more than you are now. Second, you will find that God uses your praise to attract others and win them to faith, as a result of which you will have even more cause for rejoicing.
Study Questions:

What contrasts are seen in the last two verses, and what do they mean?
Review all the contrasts we have seen in this psalm. What do they teach us about God and our response to him?

Reflection: Are your heart and mind filled with the knowledge of God and his ways? Or are other things being given an improper place that are hindering your prayer life and silencing your praise?
For Further Study: To learn more about how the Lord lifts us up, download and listen for free to Donald Barnhouse’s message, “The Lord Is My Lifter-Upper.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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