Bible Commentaries
Psalms 30

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verse 1

The reason David wanted to praise God was that the Lord had restored him (cf. Isaiah 38:10-20). Had God not done this, the psalmist believed his enemies would have been able to rejoice over his death.

Verses 1-5

1. David’s deliverance from God’s chastening 30:1-5

The psalmist began by acknowledging the Lord’s deliverance of him, and he called on the congregation of Israel to praise Him. Promises to praise the Lord frame this individual thanksgiving psalm (Psalms 30:1; Psalms 30:12).

Verses 1-12

Psalms 30

David had emerged from an experience of chastening by the Lord for some sin he had committed, and he praised Him that His anger is temporary but His favor is permanent.

"This psalm is a quite clear example of the thanksgiving song, which Westermann labels as a declarative narrative. [Note: Claus Westermann, The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message, chs. 2 and 4.] That is, the psalm tells the story of going into the trouble and coming out of the trouble." [Note: Brueggemann, p. 126.]

The title of this psalm is subject to two interpretations. It may mean that the psalmist composed it for the occasion of the dedication of the Lord’s house. This would not be the dedication of Solomon’s temple since David had already died when Solomon dedicated it. It could mean the tent that David erected in Jerusalem to house the ark of the covenant when he brought it into the city (2 Samuel 6:17). Or perhaps this occasion was the dedication of the temple site (1 Chronicles 21:26; 1 Chronicles 22:1). The Lord’s chastening of the king preceded both of these events. The writer referred to this discipline in the psalm. Another possibility is that the title did not refer to the occasion of writing but to those occasions on which the Israelites were to use this psalm in national worship. This seems less likely to me in view of the references to chastening. There is evidence from the Talmud, however, that the Jews recited this psalm during Hanukkah, their commemoration of the rededication of the temple in 165 B.C. [Note: VanGemeren, p. 257.]

Verses 2-3

God had answered David’s prayer for deliverance by restoring him to health and keeping him alive (cf. Psalms 41).

Verses 4-5

David called God’s people to praise Him because His punishments are short-lived, but His blessings are perennial.

"Personal worship that doesn’t enrich our corporate worship may become selfish and lead to more pride." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 150.]

David used the night as a figure for a time of distress. He had experienced no understanding, comfort, joy, or fellowship because of God’s chastening. Release from these conditions is like the dawning of a new day with all its prospects for blessing.

"’The victorious Christian life,’ wrote the noted Scottish preacher George Morrison, ’is a series of new beginnings.’" [Note: Ibid., p. 149.]

Verse 6

David had evidently become self-confident and had forgotten his complete dependence on the Lord (cf. John 15:5). Prosperity often tempts us with a false sense of our security (cf. Proverbs 1:32; Jeremiah 22:21), and David slipped here. We should never conclude that, because we are presently experiencing peace and prosperity, these conditions will inevitably continue.

Verses 6-10

2. The reason for David’s discipline 30:6-10

Verse 7

Now that David had regained a more realistic view of his dependence on God, he acknowledged that it was only the Lord’s blessing that made him secure. The figure of a mountain to represent a kingdom occurs often elsewhere in Scripture (cf. Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 41:15; Jeremiah 51:25; Daniel 2:35; Daniel 2:44; Revelation 17:9). God hiding His face pictures the removal of blessing and watch-care.

Verses 8-10

David had prayed for the Lord to be gracious to him. He had based his request on the fact that, if God allowed him to die, he would not be able to glorify the Lord with his public praises any longer. Consequently, David would not be able to honor God among His people. David based his petition on the glory of God, not on his own selfish desires (cf. James 4:2-3).

Verses 11-12

3. David’s thanksgiving for God’s mercy 30:11-12

The psalmist described the change God had brought into his life by restoring him to health in terms of the joyous celebrating that took place at Israel’s annual feasts. He regarded his deliverance as taking place so he could continue praising God as long as he lived (cf. Psalms 30:9), and he vowed to do just that.

When we experience chastening from the Lord for disregarding Him, we should return to him in prayer. If we appeal to Him for mercy so we may change our ways and continue to glorify Him, He may grant us restoration. This deliverance should then lead us to rededicate ourselves to praising Him more consistently the rest of our lives. [Note: See Allen, Lord of . . ., pp. 149-56.]

"Every difficult experience of life-and David had many of them-is an opportunity to have a ’pity party’ or attend a rehearsal for singing in the choirs of heaven! We have a lifetime of grace (Psalms 30:5) to prepare us for an eternity of glory." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 151.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 30". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.