I Shall Exalt You, Lord

Psalm 30 with Waldenström's Commentary on Verses 1-4

by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Tommy Carlson

1 — A Psalm, a song of David at the dedication of his house.
2 — I shall exalt you, Lord, because you have pulled me out from the depths, you have not allowed my enemies to delight over me.
3 — Lord, my God, I called to you and you made me whole.
4 — Lord, you brought my soul up from the kingdom of the dead; you made me alive and took me out from among those that went down in the grave.
5 — Sing praises to the Lord, to his lasting benefit, and praise his holy name.
6 — Because only for a moment does his anger last, but the whole life, his grace; in the evening come tears, but in the morning comes jubilation.
7 — I said, when things went well: " I shall never falter."
8 — Lord in your grace you have made me strong as a mountain; but you hi d your face and I was terrified.
9 — To you, Lord, I called and to the Lord I prayed:
10 — "What do you gain from my blood or that I go down in the grave? Can the mortal remains thank you? Can it proclaim your truth?
11 — Hear, 0 Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper."
12 — Then you changed my grumbling to leaps of joy; you removed my clothes of sorrow, and you remade me with joy.
13 — so that my honor must sing praises to you and not be quiet. Lord, my God, I will thank you eternally.

As the psalm itself says in verses 3ff, David had been ill and he had been waiting to die. But the Lord made him well again and now he will dedicate a house, as it says: A PSALM, A SONG OF DAVID AT THE DEDICATION OF THE HOUSE. But what kind of a house? Probably that house of cedarwood that David built for himself at Zion (2Sam. 5:11). Be that as it may, from the psalm we learn how we, when God gives us house and home, may move therein with song of praise to God. The children of this world also dedicate fine houses, but that takes place with festivities, excessive eating and drinking. God's children should dedicate theirs with prayer and praise to God. That happens, praise be to God, in general. So obvious was it considered in the Old Testament at such a dedication, that Moses gave leave from the military to those who had built a new house and had not yet dedicated it (Deut. 20:5). Of course, it must be important for every Christian to praise God at such an important time as that when God has given them a house. Because then God fulfills that wish, which is in the nature of all people, a wish for their own home.

I SHALL EXALT YOU, LORD, that is, I shall exceedingly honor and praise you. Here we have the lesson, however well we know it, that God is the almighty, the greatest, most magnificent and, alone, the wise God, so that no created being can make him larger, higher, or more magnificent; so, it is not enough that we KNOW that, but God must in our hearts be exalted and glorified. By himself in his essence and his splendor, he cannot any further be exalted, but in our hearts he must so be acknowledged, honored, and praised, that we learn to give God alone all honor, all renown, all praise, all power, all wisdom and everything that is praiseworthy and wonderful, and that we do this with utmost capacity of our strength in our bodies and our souls. We cannot give God the right and the worthy praise, since he is larger and higher than our praise can express. This is God's honor, that belongs to God, and it is a blessed person that does this. Because while God demonstrates for us his highest love and his benevolence, so belongs also to God the very highest thanks and praise for that (Johann Arndt).

BECAUSE YOU HAVE PULLED ME OUT FROM THE DEPTHS. What kind of depth he means, he tells us right away. He was deathly sick. The enemies hoped that he should die. But, he continues, YOU HAVE NOT ALLOWED MY ENEMIES TO DELIGHT OVER ME. The ungodly feel malicious pleasure when something bad happens to the godly or when they can cause someone to fall into sin. And if they still, in their outward appearance, talk and behave themselves as if they know the participant, they are certainly happy in the secrecy of their hearts. Yes, it could possibly happen, that those who belong to a Christian party, feel the same secret happiness if they see that someone who belongs to another party falls into sin. "It is terribly sad," they say. But secretly in their hearts the think it was good. Think what a heinous joy! May God help us from that! Because one who is so delighted certainly does not belong to the clean hearted who shall see God (Matt. 5:8). Do not close the road with such for yourself.

LORD, MY GOD, I CALLED TO YOU AND YOU MADE ME WHOLE. His illness had almost kept him from dedicating his house. The enemies were already glad in the hope. But David turned to God and prayed. Yes, he CALLED, if not with his mouth, then with his heart, but possibly even with his mouth. He prayed that God should make him well and God heard his prayer. This we, too, can learn, that we must pray to God and that he heals us when we are sick. On him depends all our health. Every day of health is a gift of grace from him. Thank him forth at and pray that you may keep your health. A sick body is a heavy burden that makes the whole life bitter, however good one has it. But if you get sick, pray right away! Do not think that you first shall ask the doctor and then pray to God, but first and foremost pray, pray earnestly, yes CALL and believe and wait for answered prayer. The ten lepers called: "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us" (Luke 17:11). And the two blind men that sat by the road to Jericho, when the Lord passed by called also: "Lord, son of David, have mercy on us! (Matt. 20:30)." To the lepers Jesus said right away: "Go show yourselves to the priests!" They were answered right away. Toward the blind he acted as though he did not hear. Then they called all the more. The people rebuked them that they should be quiet. Then they called all the more. Then Jesus called them to him and asked what they wanted. They said: "Lord, that our eyes should be open." He then had mercy on them and touched their eyes and gave them their sight. May we remember that the Lord Jesus is also the physician of the body. He wants us to believe that about him. When two blind people at another place met him, he asked them: "Do you believe that I can do this?" He did not ask: Do you believe in me? Rather: Do you believe that I can do this to you? And when they said yes, he answered them: "Be it done according to your faith." And they received their sight (Matt. 9:27ff).

Ah, if we only have belief, then we shall certainly see many wonders! If you believe, Jesus said to Martha, then you shall see God's glory. But where is the faith? Is it not rather so that we wait for healing much more from the doctor than from God? And if we pray to God, we look mostly to the doctor: "He shall do it and God shall help him," and not as it SHOULD be: "God shall do it and the doctor shall be his assistant."

LORD, YOU BROUGHT MY SOUL UP FROM THE KINGDOM OF THE DEAD. David had been so sick that he felt himself already down in the death kingdom. There was, humanly speaking, no hope of recovery. But , what was impossible for humankind was possible for God. Had it been a trifling illness, they would perhaps praise the doctor, but now, no one could be so blind not to see that it was God who had done it. Yes, you Lord, my God, my own God, you are the master of help. You alone rule over life and death. Many times, one can see even today, how wonderfully God heals people where all hope is gone. Because his hand is not curtailed. He is the same almighty God yesterday, today, and for all eternity. Sometimes God helps indirectly, other times directly, but always it is God that does it.

YOU TOOK ME OUT FROM AMONG THOSE THAT WENT DOWN IN THE GRAVE. (These words have given some Bible translators reason to believe that David wrote this psalm after a terrible plague of punishment had come over Israel because he had misled the people. David was not sick at that time — 2Sam. 24. Otherwise it is probable that the illness that David talks about was an epidemic that cut down many and also attacked him so hard that one could not believe anything else but that he should die.) Others did die, but me you helped. Who does not see that all the time? Here people ate sick and die all around me but I walk around healthy and sound. No illness dares to come near my dwelling. How can that be? God has placed an angel of protection at my door. But see, now I become ill. There is, for example, an epidemic that spreads over a wide area. People are dying all around me but I am made well again. We have the same doctor and receive the same medication, but they die and I live. Of ten, one can see that those who have a strong body succumb but many that are weak stand up, healed. How can one explain this? It is God, after the pleasure of his own will, who takes one here and the other there from the multitudes who go down in the graves. Therefore, we must turn over everything into his hands. Then we shall be sure that no epidemic or death shall touch us unless he sees that it shall be for our best. But if he sees that it is the right moment now for me to die and to go beyond, then I must say: "Yes, I come, Lord Jesus. Into your hands I commend my spirit." Then shall the survivors close my eyes and say, "Amen." Let us just believe. God, help me to believe! Brother, sister, believe, at least with enough faith as the size of half a mustard seed.

But if we have reason to call to God in illness and need and agonies of death, so may we all the more call for the need of our souls. You who are in need, CALL! Even if you believe you are completely in the grasp of the jaws of hell, so CALL~ If the devil ever so loudly calls in your heart that it is too late, that for you there can be no help from God, call anyway and be certain, that as sure as God lives, he shall save you. Place yourself, with all the weight of your sins, at the throne of grace that God your Father has made — on Jesus Christ, whom he has as a sacrificial lamb, whose blood cleanses from all sins, and who as savior, shall forgive the sins.