I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol. You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30 (ESV)
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:4-10 (ESV)
Faith, as we learn from the apostle Paul (see Romans 3), is a gift from God. We may never understand why some receive the gift of faith and others do not. We know that Jesus died for the sins of ALL. Our faith is a gift, and it comes to us through the means of grace – hearing the Word taught and preached, and through the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.
David’s theme in Psalm 30 is thankfulness. Left to our own designs we fail. We can see God’s Law in action and it condemns us. God does not owe us anything. God chooses to act on our behalf regardless of how ornery or obnoxious we are. If we look into David’s life- David, the anointed king, the man with a heart after God, David, the earthly forefather of Jesus, we find a pretty ornery character with quite a few skeletons in his closet. We are no better than David was, yet like David, we are made right with God by faith.
God is the one who grants us the gift of repentance, which is simply sorrow over our sins and a desire to turn a 180 away from them. God is the one who lifts us up when it seems as if the world and our own evil desires are going to destroy us. God has mercy on us even though we hardly deserve mercy. The only thing that we are capable of earning from God is wrath.
Jesus is the one who calls us from darkness to light. Jesus is the one who says to us, “I have chosen you and I am transforming you into one of the precious stones I use to build My house.” It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are being made holy- bit by bit in this world, but fully and completely when we step out of the “now” and walk into finality of “not yet.”
The only response we can have to such generous grace and mercy is deep thanks- thanks for the assurance that we are named, claimed children of God. He will never let us go in spite of our inadequacy and our utter inability to repay Him.
In this season of darkness sometimes it is hard to believe that there will come a day when darkness and despair will be defeated forever. Our mourning will be turned into dancing. We have been lifted up from the pit of Sheol (place of the dead.) We are set free to praise and sing. We are God’s people, saved by His mercy. We have everything to thank Him for.