Psalm 30:11 (ESV) … “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness…”
This psalm was written by David, and, according to the heading, sung ‘at the dedication of the house of David’.
This event may very well have been the occasion for David to reflect on another type of construction, namely, the spiritual re-building that had been going on in his own life.
The sobering truth is that David, spiritual man that he was, had carelessly allowed his spiritual building to fall into a state of disrepair.
He had become intoxicated with his own success. Perhaps it was the building of the splendid palace that made David forget that the God who gave him all his blessings could with a mere breath remove them. David thought he could not be moved, but God showed him that he could.
So then, this is a psalm of chastisement. Is it not remarkable to find it among the psalms of thanksgiving? Those who do not understand chastisement will consider it impossible to give thanks for it. But those who have the nub of the matter—discipline is the Father of love pursuing his child’s good—will rejoice in it as much as David.
David is determined to lift God up in praise because God had lifted him up from danger. In answer to his prayer, God had prevented his enemies from triumphing over him. This blessing from the Lord was tantamount to raising him from the grave, which is exactly where his foes had desired to put him!
Reflecting on his blessing made David realize that all of God’s people enjoy remarkable blessings from God. He, David, was not alone in this. So he should not be alone in praise.
In particular, the psalmist calls for his fellow-saints to ‘give thanks at the remembrance’ of God’s ‘holy name.’
Every blessing flows to us because God is true to his holy name. God’s name represents himself or his character. God’s character is such that he is kindly disposed towards his people. From that kind disposition, he has promised to bless them. Having made these promises, God must carry them out because, in addition to being kind, he is holy. If God did not bless his people, he would violate his holiness.
So every blessing God’s people receive is an occasion to praise God’s holy name.
The kind disposition of God is also manifested in the fact that his chastisement only lasts ‘for a moment’. God’s discipline can be so severe that we may be inclined to conclude that he does not care for us. But that is not the case. His chastisement, no matter how severe, does not negate his favor which ‘is for life’ (v. 5).
The psalmist gets to the nub of the matter. As noted above, he had become proud of himself. Here he sets the record straight. God is the source of all his blessings, and he, God, only has to hide his face for a moment to make David realize it.
The prayer of David from the midst of the chastisement was fervent and intense. The proud heart had become the desperate heart! He had pleaded with God to spare his life so that he could live for his praise and declare his truth. This psalm is nothing less than the psalmist partially fulfilling his vow.
Finally, in our passage, David returns to the point with which he began. His heart is filled with thanksgiving because God had heard and answered his prayer. Those who have been saved have been chastised, and those who have been chastised are eager and ready to praise when the chastisement is over.