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Psalm 30 1
1 I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. 3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. 4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. 6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, O LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: 9 “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help.” 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

clip_image076Background 2

This is a psalm of thanksgiving for the great deliverances which God had wrought for David, written upon occasion of the dedicating of his house of cedar, and sung in that pious solemnity, though there is not any thing in it that has particular reference to that occasion. Some interpret passages in the psalm itself that it was written upon his recovery from a dangerous fit of sickness, which might happen to be about the time of the dedication of his house. I. He here praises God for the deliverances he had wrought for him, ver. 1-3. II. He calls upon others to praise him too, and encourages them to trust in him, ver. 4, 5. III. He blames himself for his former security, ver. 6, 7. IV. He recollects the prayers and complaints he had made in his distress, ver. 8-10. With them he stirs up himself to be very thankful to God for the present comfortable change, ver. 11, 12. In singing this psalm we ought to remember with thankfulness any like deliverances wrought for us, for which we must stir up our selves to praise him and by which we must be engaged to depend upon him.

Biblical Truths

I. The psalmist praises God for delivering him from death (1-3).

A. The psalmist praises God for lifting him out of the depths and not allowing his enemies to gloat over him (1).

B. The psalmist called to God for help and He answered (2).

C. God spared the life of the psalmist (3).

II. The psalmist summarizes his praise to God by calling all the saints to praise God because His anger is short-lived while His favor brings life (4, 5).

A. The psalmist calls upon all God’s saints to praise Him (4).

B. The psalmist says that God’s anger lasts only for a moment, as do tears of sorrow, but that his favor brings life and joy (5).

III. The psalmist reports on how God delivered him from his enemies when he cried out to God for mercy (6-10).

A. The psalmist states that he felt secure and impenetrable (6).

B. The psalmist claims that he felt firm when God favored him, but dismayed during his struggles (7)

C. The psalmist recounts how he cried out to God for mercy, pleading the logic of his case as one who if dead could not praise God (8-10).

IV. The psalmist returns again to praise God and acknowledge that God delivered him from such great sorrow so that he might sing praises to Him (11-12b).

A. The psalmist acknowledges that it was God who turned his mourning into joy (11).

B. The psalmist realizes that God delivered him so that he might praise Him (12a).

V. The psalmist renews a vow to give thanks to God forever (12b).

Items for Discussion

  • Why should we cry out to God for mercy and help when we face difficult struggles?
  • Is there any difference in salvation if it has come from a response to fear or a struggle instead of some natural joy?
  • Does fear or the crying out to God demonstrate a weak faith?
  • What does this psalm tell us about the character of God?
  • What does this psalm tell us about the character of mankind?

 

James 3:7-12
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Background

The author James, “a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” was likely the half-brother of Jesus. Seeing the risen Christ and placing his faith in him, James would become a pillar of the church, a leader of the council of Jerusalem, and a friend of Peter and Paul. James would later be martyred around 62 A.D. James’ epistle was written around 50 A.D., making it one of the earliest letters of the New Testament written. The theme of James is real faith produces genuine works. “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” 1:22.

Biblical Truths

3:7 – For connects this verse with verses 5 and 6 to show that the tongue’s potential for destruction is made even worse by the fact that it is untamable. The word tamed means “to subdue,” “curb,” “subjugate.” Man has the power to dominate the animal world and does so. This was God’s plan in the Creation (cf. Gen. 1:26; Ps. 8:6-8).

3:8 – In spite of his remarkable ability to control and subdue the animal world, man is unable to conquer and control his tongue. But brings home the contrast between the control of the animals and the lack of control over the tongue. no one – This indicates that this is not the problem of just a few. No one is able to bring his tongue under complete and continual control. a restless evil (akatastaton) – This word was translated “unstable” in 1:8. The tongue cannot be trusted to stay submissively where it belongs. It is a caged animal looking for an opportunity to break forth. full of deadly poison – This picture is drawn from the Old Testament (cf. Ps. 58:3,4; 140:3). Again the devastating power of destruction present in the tongue is evident. It has power to destroy. James now turns to show the shocking inconsistency of the tongue.

3:9 – bless (eulogeo) means “to speak well of” or “to praise.” To curse would involve speaking against someone, using abusive speech. made in the likeness of God (cf. Gen. 1:26; Ps. 8:4-8) – Man is a personal being, created to have fellowship with God and to exercise authority over all creation. The Fall has marred this image but has not destroyed it. This is what gives every person significance and worth. Man is different and distinct from the animals. He reflects the person of God.

3:10 – How inconsistent that we should use the same tongue to praise God, the Lord and Father, and curse man who is like his Creator. We must see every person as of infinite value and worth because he is made in the image of God. My brethren indicates his love and concern for them.

3:11,12 – Several illustrations from nature demonstrate that there must be consistency in what is produced. This again reflects Matthew 7:16-20. It is clear that when James says “no one can tame the tongue” (3:8) he still expects the tongue to be brought under control so that it functions consistently with the character of the person. To control the tongue we must begin with the heart (cf. Matt. 12:34; 15:18,19; Luke 6:45). Since the mouth speaks out of what fills the heart, we control the tongue by controlling what fills the heart.

Joseph Parker, a great preacher of the last century said, “It is vain to attempt to tame the tongue until the heart has been subdued.” We must begin with a new heart (cf. Jer. 17:9). God promised Israel if they would believe in Him, He would give them a new heart (cf. Ezek. 18:31; 36:26). When a person comes to believe in Christ, he is made a new person (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). As new people we must be careful as to what fills our hearts and minds (cf. Phil, 4:8). Note the contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:19-23). The contrast between the tongue of the righteous and the tongue of the wicked is seen often in the Book of Proverbs (cf. Prov, 10:20; 12:18; 13:3; 15:1-4).

Items for Discussion

  • What do your words say about your heart?
  • If you were asked the question about a conversation, “Which is responsible for understanding, the ear or the lips?”, how would you answer and why?
  • Can the tongue be trained? How?
  • What is the dichotomy that James talks about?
  • What is the secret to taming the tongue?

Discussion Challenge

  • How does a church teach its members to tame their hearts?

 

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Matthew Henry Commentary
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