The portion reads, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” We often discover more than one way to apply a Scripture passage, which is fine; but we must make sure that applications do not violate the meaning, context, or intent of the passage.
Psalm 30 has a subhead, “A Psalm. And Song at the dedication of the house of David.” This heading is correct, for it belongs in the Hebrew texts; but students of the Word differ over what this dedication refers to. One view is that it alludes to a residence David built for himself. If such is the case, David took the occasion to pen this psalm of dedication as an overview of how God had compassionately taken care of him through the years in the middle of trouble.
Others believe the heading refers to the dedication mentioned after David took a census of the people (1 Chronicles 21; 22:1). The latter passage reads, “Then David said, This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” This passage does not speak of the building of the great temple, for that event came later under the reign of David’s son Solomon. Instead, it refers to David’s construction of an altar. Interestingly, this altar would be constructed on the divinely chosen spot where the great temple was later built (1 Chronicles 21:18).
Still others believe that David wrote looking ahead to a house for God in a prophetic sense—to God’s promise in 2 Samuel 7:11 or to post-exilic rebuilding passages, such as Ezra 6:16 and Nehemiah 12:27.
David mentioned illness in Psalm 30; it appears he had even been near death, but the Lord restored him (vv. 2, 3). David also mentioned his sinfulness (vv. 6‒11). Specifically, it may have been pride and trust in numbers and the flesh, which caused 70,000 people to die (1 Chronicles 21:2, 8). But the Lord also restored David spiritually through repentance. Through it all, David learned of God’s Ways of discipline and forgiveness. God’s anger was temporary (“for a night”), but deliverance and joy followed as David got back into a right relationship with God.
The whole psalm gives praise to God, whatever the occasion. It is a great reminder to us not to use special events for self-glory but for glorifying the Lord. Whether it be dedications of buildings or even funerals, the focus should be on the Lord and His Word, not on man and his perceived goodness or accomplishments.
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