January 09 2023
Today, Monday January 09
“His Favor is For Life”
A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple.
“I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”
The title of this Psalm informs us that David is the writer of it. It also tells us that David wrote it as a song to be sung at the dedication of the temple. Some translations say house instead of temple. So, we are not sure of the exact occasion on which David wrote this Psalm, which we will discuss later.
This Psalm, like so many of the Psalms, is repeating the theme of someone who has experienced a difficult time because of their own disobedience or sin and needs the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. Or like many of us who might have a heart to serve the Lord, but still troubles, heartache, suffering, and trials abound time and time again. We hardly get through one and we are facing another. We continually need a Psalm like this to remind us that the “anger of the Lord is but for a moment, but His favor is for life”.
The Psalm opens and closes on a note of thanksgiving (vv. 1, 12; and see vv. 4 and 11). The emphasis is on praise to the Lord for rescuing David from a dangerous and difficult situation that included sickness; “You have healed me” (v. 2), being near death; “You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit” (vv. 3, 9), God's anger; “For His anger is but for a moment” (v. 5), weeping; “Weeping may endure for a night” (v. 5), mourning; “My mourning into dancing” (v. 11), and emotional turmoil; “You hid Your face, and I was troubled” (v. 7).
But the trial also involved the nation, for David addressed them in verses 4-5. Apparently, this was a national crisis that David had helped to precipitate because he disobeyed the will of God. It came at a time when he was enjoying ease and security and was proud of himself and his kingdom (vv. 6-7). According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm for "the dedication of the house." The word "house" can be translated "palace," referring to David's house, or "temple," referring to the Lord's house.
If it's the first, then perhaps 2 Samuel 5 describes the historical setting, when David captured Mt. Zion and made Jerusalem his capital city. (Note "my mountain" in Ps. 30:7.) All Israel had crowned David king, he had won great victories over the Philistines, and he had built himself a palace. He knew that his kingdom was established and exalted by the Lord. This context has all the ingredients necessary to make David proud and this would have invited the chastening of the Lord.
However, if "house" refers to the temple of the Lord, then we must look to 1 Chronicles 21:1 - 22:1 and 2 Samuel 24 for the context. This is the record of the national plague David caused when he arrogantly numbered the people and 70,000 people died. This caused David great distress (2 Sam. 24:10, 14), and he put on sackcloth and begged God for mercy for the people (1 Chron. 21:16; see Ps. 30:11). David purchased a plot of ground from Ornan and dedicated it to be the site for the temple (1 Chron. 22:1), and he began to use the plot as his own personal place of worship.
This second explanation seems to cover the facts better. In either case, the message of the psalm is clear: the Lord forgave David and gave him the blessing of a new beginning. "The victorious Christian life," wrote the noted Scottish preacher George Morrison, "is a series of new beginnings." That definition beautifully fits this psalm.
My friend, maybe you need to be encouraged today as you read this Psalm and remember when we truly trust the Lord to forgive and to help us, that the pain of our suffering is only a brief time because His grace and favor is for life!