Focus passage: Psalm 30
Are unspoken thanks really any thanks at all? Each year my mother told me to write thank-you notes to the people who had given me gifts. Back then it seemed like a waste. Now, when people don’t send thank-you letters to me, I wonder if they even got my gift. Yet, thankfulness is a way to celebrate before others the blessings that we have. It is a way to tell those people how important they are. It can also be a chance to pause and think about our blessings. The background for this text appears to be forgiveness and restoration for David after a great sin. Many think that this psalm was penned after David had foolishly numbered his people when God had told him specifically not to do so. On the spot where the new temple would be built, David saw the face of the angel of God and did not die. He saw the mercy of God for himself and his people as a reason to give thanks.
Recovery v. 2 O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. David had destroyed the relationship that he had with God. Like Moses in the desert, he had claimed that the great things God had done were his own. He feared that he would be punished as Moses was or even be banished from the sight of this almighty God. Yet, there on the mountain top, he bowed before the angel of God who had a sword in his hand and was forgiven. He confessed his sin and offered his life for that sin. God then restored David. God’s love is greater than his anger.
Remembrance v.4 Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. David celebrates publically what God has done. He builds an altar on the spot and offers burnt offerings to God. The Lord answers David by sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice like God would later do for Elijah on Mount Carmel. In this psalm of dedication, David calls upon the people to celebrate with him. God’s love is greater than his anger. God will forgive the penitent person who bows before him. For David, this is a time of mercy after a time of suffering and pain.
Refocus v.6 When I felt secure, I said, "I will never be shaken." There is another blessing in thanks. It helps us to focus on God and to learn from him. David had caused this great calamity with his pride. He had felt that he was so great that he could never be shaken. No army dared come against the mighty David. The punishment of God and the mercy of God had reminded David of who really was the great one. In so many ways, David was still just a shepherd boy. It was the almighty God who had made the nation great. Times of thanks should also be times of learning.
Response The response for mercy is praise. David speaks of what the gracious hand of God has done. Even God’s punishment of David was an expression of his great love for David and for the people. When he was forgiven, he could not help but dance and celebrate. David in this psalm pledges to praise the Lord forever. David will spend the rest of his life preparing for the temple that will be built on this spot. He will live a life of thanks devoting his fortune and his time so that there will be a place for everyone to give glory to God and to meet him on this holy mountain as David did on that special day. Lives change when we focus on thanking God for the wonderful gifts that He has brought into our lives. Thanks can be a time of celebration and learning. It is a time to see how truly merciful our God is for us all.