“If we don’t stare at God, we’ll spend our time staring at lesser things. Namely, ourselves.” Francis Chan
Often, in my Bible reading, I am so eager to find the application—how a certain passage can comfort or convict or guide me—that I miss all it can teach me about God. After all, knowledge yields delight. If I want to truly LOVE God, I must first truly KNOW Him. To that end, while reading and rereading Psalm 30, I attempted to just “stare at God”, to concentrate solely on HIS nature and character rather than staring at myself.
First, a bit of context—David wrote Psalm 30 as a song of praise at the dedication of the “temple”. There are differing opinions on whether the “temple” David mentions was his personal home or the temple that his son, Solomon, would later build in Jerusalem. However, because my intention was to “stare at God”, the physical building David was referring to wasn’t important. In fact, it was a good reminder that God’s nature and character never change regardless of my physical location or circumstances.
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
God deserves all the credit. He alone is my deliver and my vindicator before others. He will not allow my enemies to gloat.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
God longs to help me. He hears me whenever I call. He heals me (physically and otherwise) according to His will not my plans and desires.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
God is powerful enough to save me from the “pit of hell”, whether that is spiritually through salvation in Jesus or physically by preserving my health and safety. He delights in giving me “second chances”.
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
God longs to hear my praise—individually and corporately. His good works on my behalf should be shared with others who can, in turn, praise Him along with me.
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.
God’s holiness demands loving discipline. But His short-lived displeasure with my sin is never greater than His endless pleasure in me as His daughter.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
God allows sorrow and pain to increase my dependence on Him. But He is also my hope and peace in those times. Just as I am certain that morning will always follow night, I can know that God will always bring joy after sorrow.
As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
God blesses me with good things, but they are never meant to replace my dependence on or joy in Him. He longs for relationship with me, and He is grieved when I think I can manage without Him. He alone is enough.
To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!”
God never tires of hearing my prayers. David cried out to God in verse 2, and he’s crying out again (still?) here. God’s mercy is guaranteed. He wants me to request His help.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
God is worthy of my praise in happiness or sadness. He is loving and powerful enough to remove the darkness of my sorrow and replace it with utter joy SO THAT I will give Him the endless praise He deserves.
Father, help me seek YOU with the assurance that as my knowledge of You increases, my joy in You will increase as well.