February 19: Psalm 30


February 19: Psalm 30

Ransomed from death

76.76 D                     Aurelia (The Church’s One Foundation), p. 120
Ellacombe (Hosanna, Loud Hosanna), p. 130

O Lord, I will exalt You, for You have lifted me;

My foes You have allowed not to glory over me.

O Lord my God, I pleaded that You might heal and save;

Lord, You from death have ransomed and kept me from the grave.

All saints, O praise Jehovah and thank His holy name.

His anger lasts a moment, His grace a whole life time.

For sorrow, like a pilgrim, may tarry all the night,

But then a shout of joy comes when dawns the morning light.

In prosp’rous days I boasted, “Unmoved I shall remain.”

O Lord, You by your favor my mount in strength maintain;

For when Your face was hidden, I soon was troubled sore.

I cried to you for mercy; the Lord I did implore.

“What gain is there in dying when in the grave I dwell?

Will dust proclaim Your praises, your faithfulness it tell?

O hear me now, Jehovah! Be gracious unto me!

To You I cry, Jehovah! O now my helper be!”

You now have turned my sorrow to dancing full of joy;

You loosened all my sackcloth and girded me with joy;

So that I may sing praises and never silent be!

O Lord my God, I’ll thank You through all eternity.

This psalm is ascribed to King David, and it is not difficult to think of him praying this psalm of thanksgiving for the Lord’s deliverance. Besides its individual and personal use in the case of David, this psalm was later sung as part of a communal, liturgical festival celebrated every year—the Dedication (Hanukkah) of the temple. This twofold historical use of our psalm already suggests more than one layer of meaning. First, there is the remembrance of David’s years of oppression and exile, followed by a final deliverance. But David’s personal sentiments of gratitude and praise to the redeeming God became incorporated into Israel’s restoration to her temple after years of oppression and strife. Both David and the temple were “types” of Him who was to come, and the deeper, truer voice in this psalm is Christ our Lord on the day of Resurrection: “O Lord, you have brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down into the abyss.” Christ is the true David, the new Israel’s sweet Psalmist, our songmaster in the eternal praise of God. And Old Israel’s winter Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) is now the new Israel’s spring feast of Pascha, for Christ is the true Temple, of which St. John wrote: “But I saw no temple in heaven, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” For this reason, Psalm 30 is most appropriately prayed on Sunday, the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, the day of the vindication of the new David and the consecration of the true Temple. (Reardon, p. 57-58)