Devotions on Psalm 30:1-12–Mourning into Dancing
June 26-July 2, 2017
Monday, June 26, 2017–Mourning into Dancing
“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up” (Psalm 30:1).
In an effort to help her team work more effectively together, Meg Higgins scheduled a day at a ropes course. Throughout the day, her team members were faced with challenges that they could not conquer individually. They had to work together as a team. One obstacle that the team encountered was a tall wall. The team had to help one member to reach the top. That member would then reach down and help her other teammates to scale the wall. When it was Meg’s turn to ascend, her teammate gave Meg her hand and said, “Grab ahold and I’ll pull you up.”
Meg reflected on her experience the next day during her devotional time. She recalled the many times that God would extend a hand and invite Meg to, “Grab ahold and I’ll pull you up.” God extended a hand when Meg faced a miscarriage and again when Meg was laid off from work. One time Meg found herself so deep in the pit of depression that she could not escape until God reached down and pulled her up. God reaching down and pulling her up was a common occurrence in Meg’s life and for that she raised her hands in praise.
We thank you, Lord, for the many times you reach into our lives and save us. Amen.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017–Mourning into Dancing
“I cried to you for help, and you have healed me” (Psalm 30:2).
Without the aid of modern medicine, healing could be understood as only the act of a merciful and benevolent God. A person’s only recourse when faced with sickness was to cry out for help. Even with the wonders of modern medicine at our disposal, we still find ourselves asking the Lord to protect us from the flu, shorten our colds, bless the radiation and chemotherapy to cure our cancers and guide the hands of the surgeons.
Let’s go a step further, though, and go beyond physical healing. We are a broken and sick people. Besides the physical healing of our friends and ourselves, we can pray that God would heal us of our selfishness and greed, cure our racism (yes, all of us really do have it), eradicate our judgmentalism and protect us from unloving and unforgiving hearts. Medicine might not be able to help us in these areas, but God can.
Lord, may your Spirit work her healing work within us. Amen.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017–Mourning into Dancing
“You brought up my soul from Sheol” (Psalm 30:3).
There was no hope in Sheol. It was the place of the dead. There was no judgment involved. The idea of a place of eternal torment called hell had yet to be conceived. Sheol was simply the place where people went when they died. It was like buying a bigger house in the suburbs when we can afford to do so and our families grew out of the apartments, or like moving to an active adult retirement community where it is warm when we retire. The significant factor was that Sheol was a place without hope—no second chances and no resurrection.
Figuratively speaking we’ve all experience our personal Sheols. For one reason or another life crashed in upon us and robbed us of all hope. Despair flooded our hearts and drowned our faith. God appeared to be far away and uncaring or even non-existent.
Even when we could not force ourselves to believe and convinced ourselves that our faith was dead, God delivered us from Sheol. The Holy Spirit came to us, breathed the breath of life into us, gifted us with courage and placed us once again in the land of the living. We may not have experienced the afterlife, but we know what death and resurrection feel like. We’ve “been there, done that” (but we really don’t want the T-shirt).
Lord thank you that your power and presence in our lives are not dependent upon our faith, but rather upon your love. Amen.
Thursday, June 29, 2017–Mourning into Dancing
“For his anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime” (Psalm 30:5).
We’re used to grudges. Paul scratched his father’s prized 1956 T-Bird that was parked in the garage, when he was getting his bike for a ride. Paul’s father went ballistic when he saw the damage and it took him several days to cool down. He eventually said he forgave Paul, but Paul was never allowed near the T-Bird again. Raul and Carlota say that they forgive each other, but when they get into an argument they bring up transgressions of years gone by.
It is easy to assume that God holds grudges, also. After all, a majority of Christian churches teach that there will be a final judgment day when God will present us with a list of all our sins—talk about holding a grudge! This isn’t the type of God that the Psalmist has experienced, however, and is writing about.
The Psalmist does not deny his culpability and the justness of God’s anger. What he celebrates, though, is God’s favor—God’s steadfast love—that lasts a lifetime (and beyond). Certainly confession and forgiveness are parts of the lives of followers of Jesus. So are God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. Praise the Lord that our brokenness does not place us beyond the reach of God’s love.
Thank you, Lord, that our brokenness does not separate us from your love. Amen.
Friday, June 30, 2017–Mourning into Dancing
“I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved’” (Psalm 30:6).
What would the results be if a survey were taken that asked only one question? The question would be, “Would you want to be wealthy or experience a close, dynamic relationship with God?” We can imagine that the vote wouldn’t even be close and God wouldn’t come in first. There is something alluring about wealth. It dazzles us and seems to hold the key to pleasure, security, influence and even the meaning to life. No wonder we spend so much more time accumulating wealth then we do nurturing a close, dynamic relationship with God.
Wealth is not evil in and of itself. (It is the LOVE of money that is evil.) Wealth is dangerous, though. Wealth tends to turn our attention upon ourselves. We use our wealth to build ourselves up, instead of sharing it with others and helping them. Wealth also makes us proud. We forget that everything we have is a gift from God. We gaze over all that we have accumulated and congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Often we discover (to our dismay) that wealth is fleeting and is not the impregnable fortress that we thought it was.
As followers of Jesus we are not called to avoid prosperity. We are challenged, though, to use our blessings and treasures wisely. Instead of pride, we humbly give God thanks for God’s blessings. Sharing, rather than spending, becomes our reason for living and our witness to the world.
Lord, replace our pride with humility as we celebrate your grace and share it with others. Amen.
Saturday, July 1, 2017–Mourning into Dancing
“You have turned my mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30:11).
Remember the junior high school (or middle school) dances? The girls would be sitting in the bleachers on one side of the gym and the guys on the opposite side. The D. J’s music would be blaring, yet only a few brave souls would be on the dance floor. Most of us avoid dancing. We don’t know how to dance and we don’t want to make fools of ourselves. Some of us don’t think there’s really any reason to dance—life sucks.
Dancing is never meant to be an effort to avoid or to cover up the pain of life. No indeed. The purpose of dancing is to acknowledge that there have been times of mourning, but because of God’s activity in our lives there are now times of celebration. There are times when words like “Alleluia,” and “Thank you,” simply aren’t enough. Our praise and thanks need to be expressed through all of our beings, including our bodies. In those times, “shaking our booties” become acts of worship—and as the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”
Lord, set our feet a dancing and our hearts a singing as we celebrate your love and grace. Amen.
Sunday, July 2, 2017–Mourning into Dancing
“I will give thanks to you forever” (Psalm 30:12).
When asked, several people responded that their vision of heaven is being in God’s presence and singing God’s praise. What a sight and sound that would be with billions of God’s children joining together in songs of praise! Even those who can’t sing would be belting out tunes.
The Psalmist has decided to bring heaven to earth. He will begin to sing God’s praises and give thanks to God, during his work and when he face the trials and hardships of life. The Psalmist does not confine his offerings of thanks and praise to specified occasions for worship. His praise is 365/24/7.
Changes had to be made in the Psalmist’s life (and in ours) to enable him to give God thanks forever. He needed to view the world and God in a different light. The world wasn’t a battlefield, nor was the world impregnated with evil. Instead, the Psalmist saw the world as God’s creation. It was a place where he followed God as a sheep follows a shepherd and God mentored, provided and protected him in his daily life. When the world is seen in that light, we and the Psalmist cannot hold back our thanks and praise.
May our words and actions, Lord, be expressions of our thanks and praise. Amen.