Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint
Today’s Passage: Psalm 30
Welcome back to The Study on Thankfulness Which Must Not Be Named, Because Its Name Is Dumb. Today we’re taking our first thankfulness-related dip into the Psalms, but it may well not be our last; the Psalms are rife with thankfulness. Psalm 30, as we have seen before, concerns David’s gratitude to God for rescuing him from impending death.
The word “thanks” shows up twice in Psalm 30, and the first instance marks a transition point. For the first few verses, David’s been speaking to God, but then he shifts his attention to those around him. “Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,” he commands them, “and give thanks to His holy name” (4). Who are God’s “godly ones?” They’re the faithful, his saints, his holy ones (thanks, Strong’s Concordance). They’re David’s fellow countrymen, those who–presumably–have known God’s grace in one form or another and are gathered with him for reverently musical purposes.
Whether it’s the same sort of salvation from enemies and death that David experienced, or another instance of God’s goodness to them, the faithful have known God’s grace–his favor independent of any effort to earn it. They know that “His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (5). Those who have been pulled out of the pit, who have gone from orientation to disorientation to new orientation per Brueggemann’s classification, know that God has given them ample reason to give him thanks.
I’m tempted to get way too real here and observe that night comes time and time again in our lives, and sometimes, even though God has shown us grace and saved us from the darkness on previous occasions, the night may come back even blacker than before, and in the dark we forget that God was ever there at all. But we’ve still got another instance of the word “thanks” to look at, so let’s not talk about how imposing and terrible the pit can be, how it can swallow up all hope and drown us in despair–the grave in microcosm. Let’s observe David’s concluding line “O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever” (12) and not ask, incredulous, how David can state so confidently that he will always remain thankful to God; how he can expect new orientation to prevail without stagnating and becoming old, naive, complacent orientation again; how he can possibly know that he will end on a bright note instead of the melancholy, even dissonant chord of disorientation. Let’s not dwell on–
–too late, we’ve gotten too real. Fam, I’m doing well right now and I thank God that I am, but I know it gets horrifyingly awful sometimes. And if you’re there in the pit, whether again or for the first time, I pray God will pull you out. I want to see you where David is, on the other side of the night with a reason to give thanks.