Seeing Jesus in Psalm 30
Psalm 30:11 – “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”
Psalm 30 paints for us a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God as it ends. A picture that joyously proclaims that God turns our mourning into dancing and our sorrow into joy. Before that however David isn’t experiencing joy, he is experiencing prosperity but in his prosperity he forgets about God, and because of that God hides His face from David. In the midst of that David says, “I was dismayed.”
In other words David says I had prosperity, things were going well in my life, but I was missing something and that something was a someone, it was God Himself. David had become boastful, arrogant and proud in his prosperity and because of that he forgot about God. Soon however when God removed His glory, David remembered. In fact he did more than remember he was heartbroken, dismayed, desperately needing the presence of God.
David was known as being a “man after God’s own heart” but in his prosperity he forgot. What a temptation this is for us as well, when things are going well to forget about our need for God, to forget that even in the midst of rejoicing, laughter and good times we are still but sinners who desperately need a Savior. David forgot and yet when God hid his face he was dismayed.
This was the king of the country, the man who had it all and at this point in his life he was enjoying a season of even more prosperity yet he was empty. Why? Because he had forgotten God. David wasn’t created for wealth or fame or power, he was created first and foremost to glorify God and to have a relationship with Him. All of the things in the world couldn’t satisfy Him, only God could and when David forgot God, he found himself empty and dismayed.
David certainly stands as a warning for us, but more than a warning, an example. For in his sadness and despair he cried out to God. He could have ran even further away, he could have pursued other things but he didn’t, he realized his need and passionately cried out to God, “Hear O Lord and be merciful to me! O Lord be my helper.” And God heard Him and beautifully answered his prayer.
God turned David’s mourning into dancing. He threw off his sadness and gave him joy. George Horne says, “this is true of David; and it is true of Jesus, arising from the tomb to die no more. Jesus’ mourning was turned into dancing when up from the grave He arose.
Horne continues, “(this can also be true) of the penitent, those who repent, they too can exchange their sackcloths for articles of salvation and joy. It can be verified for us all in the last days we will put off the dishonors of the grave, and we will shine in joy everlasting.” Our mourning will permanently be turned into joy, in the Kingdom of God.
Richard Baker sums it up, “my sackcloth of mourning was but a loose garment around me, which might easily be put off, but my gladness is gird around me, it is fast and sure and it will never leave me.” David experienced his mourning being turned into joy, and while it wasn’t a permanent joy, it was a glimpse of the permanent joy that we will experience as followers of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus gives a wonderful promise, a promise that sounds a lot like David’s words here when He says, “they who mourn will be comforted.” What a promise, when we are mourning as David was over our own sin, God will comfort our mourning, and He will comfort us with a comfort that will never leave us. A permanent comfort, when our weeping is turned to joy in the Kingdom of God. No wonder Jesus reminds us that “in His presence there is fullness of joy.” It is there and it is available to all of us as we like David repent of our sins and follow Him. To God be the glory!