For His anger is fleeting, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning.
I. THE CHANGES OF LIFE. Health may give place to sickness, prosperity to adversity, joy to sorrow. To-day we may be lifted up and rejoicing in God's favour, to-morrow we may be cast down and in trouble because God is hiding his face from us. There are two things to be guarded against. First, presumption (ver. 6); next, despair. Come what will, we must cling to God (vers. 9, 10).
II. THE CONSOLATIONS OF LIFE.
1. All changes are under the control of God.
2. That God's help is always available. Nothing can really prevent us from enjoying God's presence, but our own sin.
3. That the end of the Lord is merciful. The blessing will surely come to those who wait for it. "Anger" will give place to "favour;" the. pain. of the "moment" will be forgotten in the joy of renewed "life" and the ushering m of the glad eternal "day." The end is "praise." - W.F.
In His favour is life.
I. ILLUSTRATE THE SENTIMENT OF THE TEXT.
1. Our natural life is from God's favour. In Him we live, move, and have our being; He secures us from innumerable evils; He gives us bread, and water, and clothing, and health, and strength, and intellect.
2. Our spiritual life is from the favour of God.
3. Our eternal life is from the favour of God. By that favour we become entitled to heaven by the merits and righteousness of Christ; by that favour we are meetened for heaven through regeneration and sanctification; by that favour we are brought to heaven, through all the trying pilgrimage of life. O what views will the redeemed spirit have of the favour of God then!
II. SOME PRACTICAL REFLECTIONS.
1. How vain it is to expect happiness from worldly prosperity without the favour of God! What does it avail, if the whole universe smile on a man, if he be under the frown of God?
2. How fearful are the afflictions of life without the favour of God. How keen must be the strokes of the Divine rod to him who views them as the strokes of an enemy.
3. If the favour of God is life, then what vast multitudes are dead. They can find time for their games, sports, recreations, and worldly pursuits; but no time to seek the favour of God and the salvation of their souls! And how inexcusable are such persons. Beggars, when they might be the favourites of heaven; preferring sickness to health, blindness to sight, danger to safety, and the anger to the favour of God.
4. If in God's favour there is life, what a dreadful place hell must be.
5. If in God's favour there is life, what a blessed and glorious place must heaven be.
I. WHAT SORT IS IT? Not the creative favour of God, which has made us men, not brutes; not His providential favour, which has supplied our various needs — but His saving favour (Ephesians 2:4-7). That the psalmist had this favour of God in view, is evident from ver. 8.
II. THROUGH WHAT MEDIUM DOES GOD EXERCISE HIS SAVING FAVOUR? Jesus Christ (John 17:2; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:25, 26; 1 John 5:11). Jesus is to the regeneration of man what the atmosphere is to the fruitfulness of the earth — the medium through which the water of the ocean and the warmth of the sun act with generating power.
III. WHERE IS THIS FACT REVEALED? (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; Luke 24:27; John 5:39). This invests the Scriptures with indescribable grandeur, inestimable worth, exclusive authority, and final appeal in everything pertaining to human redemption.
V. WHAT WILL BE HAD BY SUITABLY REGARDING God's proclamation of His saving favour? "Life." That is, restoration to the moral likeness of God, reinstatement into right relations with God, and introduction into the real friendship of God. Viewed in regard to the law of God, it is called justification (Galatians 3:6-14); the character of God, sanctification (Ephesians 5:25-27); the person of God, fellowship (John 17:21; 1 John 1:3, 6, 7). All living is death which is not in God, nor like Him, nor according to His will.
VI. BY WHAT EXERCISE OF THE MIND do we obtain the blessed issues of God's saving favour? Believing.
(W. J. Stuart.)
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
I. THE TEARS THAT FLOW FROM CONVICTION OF SIN and penitential sorrow.
II. The grief that arises FROM CONSCIOUS BACKSLIDING or from the upbraidings of a tender conscience. There is no feeling more oppressively painful than that of being a conscious traitor: and the anguish of the backslider is closely allied to this. Of whatever nature his sins may be, his profoundest grief will arise from their opposition to the Divine nature. "Against Thee, Thee only," etc.
III. Those that arise FROM THE SENSE OF SPIRITUAL DESERTION. There are times when we "walk in darkness and have no light," and we receive no communications of grace to raise our drooping spirits. The light of God's countenance is withdrawn. But this loneliness of soul, this desolation of spirit, shall be removed, and the light shall again shine.
IV. THOSE CAUSED BY TEMPORAL AFFLICTIONS, such as loss, bereavement, death. Conclusion.
1. Let the sentiment of the text preserve you from a gloomy despondency.
2. Disarm death of its terrors.
3. Let each individual ask himself, if he be interested in the truth of my text? Will the source of your weeping become a spring of joy? Can you reasonably expect it should be so? It all depends on your being at peace with God. How is it with you?
I. THE PROPORTION OF JOY AND SORROW IS AS ORDINARY LIFE. Now is it true — is it not true? — that, if a man rightly regards the proportionate duration of these two diverse elements in his life, he must come to the conclusion that the one is continuous and the other is but transitory? A thunderstorm is very short when measured against the long summer day in which it crashes; and very few days have them. It must be a bad climate where half the days are rainy. But then, man looks before and after, and has the terrible gift that by anticipation and by memory he can prolong the sadness. The proportion of solid matter needed to colour the Irwell is very little in comparison with the whole of the stream. But the current carries it, and half an ounce will stain miles of the turbid stream. Memory and anticipation beat the metal thin, and make it cover an enormous space. And the misery is that, somehow, we have better memories for sad hours than for joyful ones. So it comes to be a piece of very homely, well-worn, and yet always needful, practical counsel to try not to magnify and prolong grief, nor to minimize and abbreviate gladness. We can make our lives, to our own thinking, very much what we will. Courage, cheerfulness, thankfulness, buoyancy, resolution, are all closely connected with a sane estimate of the relative proportions of the bright and the dark in a human life.
II. THE INCLUSION OF THE "MOMENT" IN THE "LIFE." I do not know that the psalmist thought of that when he gave utterance to my text, but whether he did it or not, it is true that the "moment" spent in "anger" is a part of the "life" that is spent in the "favour." Just as within the circle of a life lies each of its moments, the same principle of inclusion may be applied to the other contrast presented here. For as the "moment" is a part of the "life," the "anger" is a part of the love. The "favour" holds the "anger" within itself, for the true scriptural idea of that terrible expression and terrible fact, the "wrath of God," is that it is the necessary aversion of a perfectly pure and holy love from that which does not correspond to itself. So, though sometimes the two may be set against each other, yet at bottom, and in reality, they are one, and the "anger" is but a mode in which the "favour" manifests itself. Thus we come to the truth which breathes uniformity and simplicity through all the various methods of the Divine hand, that howsoever He changes and reverses His dealings with us they are one and the same. You may get two diametrically opposite motions out of the same machine. The same power will send one wheel revolving from right to left, and another from left to right, but they are co-operant to grind out at the far end the one product. It is the same revolution of the earth that brings blessed lengthening days and growing summer, and that cuts short the sun's course and brings declining days and increasing cold. It is the same motion which hurls a comet close to the burning sun, and sends it wandering away out into fields of astronomical space, beyond the ken of telescope, and almost beyond the reach of thought. And so one uniform Divine purpose, the favour which uses the anger, fills the life, and there are no interruptions, howsoever brief, to the steady continuous flow of His outpoured blessings. All is love and favour. Anger is masked love, and sorrow has the same source and mission as joy. It takes all sorts of weathers to make a year, and all tend to the same issue, of ripened harvests and full barns.
III. THE CONVERSION OF THE SORROW INTO JOY. A prince comes to a poor man's hovel, is hospitably received in the darkness, and, being received and welcomed, in the morning slips off the rags and appears as he is. Sorrow is Joy disguised. If it be accepted, if the will submit, if the heart let itself be untwined, that its tendrils may be coiled closer round the heart of God, then the transformation is sure to come, and joy will dawn on those who have done rightly — that is, submissively and thankfully — by their sorrows. It will not be a joy like what the world calls joy — loud-voiced, boisterous, ringing with idiot laughter; but it will be pure, and deep, and sacred, and permanent. A white lily is better than a flaunting peony, and the joy into which sorrow accepted turns is pure and refining and good. But you may say, "Ah! there are two kinds of sorrows. There are those that can be cured, and there are those that cannot. What have you got to say to me who have to bleed from an immedicable wound till the end of my life?" Well, I have to say this — look beyond earth's dim dawns to that morning when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise. If we have to carry a load on an aching back till the end, be sure that when the night, which is far spent, is over, and the day, which is at hand, hath broken, every raindrop will be turned into a flashing rainbow when it is smitten by the level light, and every sorrow rightly borne be represented by a special and particular joy.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
1. God is love. David inscribed over the portal of his house, "His anger is but for a moment," etc. Did he not thus in broken and imperfect symbols speak out this truth of all truths that has been revealed from Calvary and the Ascension Mount, and which has been given to us that we may herald it to the world? "Herein is love, not that we loved God," etc. It is in the light of that revelation of love, that we are to read the riddles of our existence. It is in the light of that revelation, and that alone, that the clouds of our forebodings and our despondencies can be put to flight. God's government of the world, His providential ordering of the whole of the human race and of each individual life is for our everlasting good, and it is in accordance with His own nature of love. In that government nothing is forgotten; in that loving plan no heart has been left desolate. There is no deviation in the path of His intended progress; there is no friction in the Divine workings; for all things work together for good unto them that love God.
2. Another thing suggested by this passage is, that not only is His Divine anger consistent with Divine love, but given the fact that this love of God is love to free beings, to beings who are sinning continually, we may say that anger is absolutely essential to righteous love. God is the eternal righteousness as well as the eternal love. Calvary is the transcendent revelation to the world of the Divine love, but it is also the transcendent revelation of Divine righteousness. Because God is righteous God is angry. He is angry with the wicked, with corruption, impurity, cruelty, selfishness, falsehood, injustice, oppression, envy, hatred, murder, strife. What parent that truly loves his child will let that child flagrantly and persistently sin and not punish him? The rod is often a fitter emblem of love than a kiss.
3. These two visitors, Weeping and Joy, come instrumentally in the hands of God to the homes of a world that is being governed and directed by a righteous love. I do not say that Weeping is the messenger of God's anger, and that Joy, on the other hand, is the messenger of His love. They are both messengers of His will; they both subserve His redemptive purposes; both of them alike may be messengers of His anger, as both of them alike may be messengers of His love. But although we should regard them as symbolic figures severally of anger and of love, the experiences of human life, when the house is hushed with grief, when the heart is low, followed — as, blessed be God! they are followed — by days of gladness, by giving "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" — all this experience of life should remind us that in the lines along which God is working, the secret principles of His government by that which is good and by that which is painful, through Weeping and through Joy, through this strangely mingled experience of human life, He is slowly working out that great purpose and toward that great end, the eternal good of all His creatures. God's anger is special treatment for a critical hour; it is the probing of the wound; it is the changing, as it were, of the motive power in the secret nature of the soul; and it is only that we may remember that the Father of Spirits, in subjection to whom we live, is also the Ancient of Days and the Eternal Righteousness. But the Divine anger is transient. Anger will not keep; it is impossible that righteous anger can be kept; it is like the coal dropped hot from the furnace that cools every moment. Such is the anger of a righteous, loving being. It is not hatred and enmity and jealousy, but it is anger, a frown which, when the child sees, passes into a smile of paternal tenderness and love.
(R. B. Brindley.)I. THE DIRGE OF GRIEF — "Weeping... night." See how sorrow and night are linked. Life is this night.
1. A brief night.
2. A wild night sometimes.
3. A sorrowful night ofttimes.
4. But a night fringed with light, on this side and on that; and so the dirge has its consoling strain.
II. THE LYRIC OF DELIVERANCE. — "Joy... morning." See how gladness and light are joined together.
1. In the morning of clearer knowledge.
2. In the morning of purer character.
3. In the morning of eternity.
(R. C. Cowel.)
I. Is THE CASE OF THE GODLY, THE TEARFUL NIGHT OF AFFLICTION WILL BE FOLLOWED BY THE JOYFUL MORNING OF DELIVERANCE AND GOD'S RETURNING FAVOUR. We have here a figurative allusion to the way in which God had dealt with the psalmist and often deals with His people. His favour had been withdrawn, His displeasure manifested, but it was only for a moment, which moment is contrasted with the whole life gladdened with His smile. How often in the history of the Church have we seen the dark night of affliction succeeded by the bright morning of a glorious and triumphant deliverance! The darkest hour immediately preceding the dawn! For a while God seems to forget His people, to be deaf to their cry: He is only waiting for the set time to deliver; and the moment the fittest, the only fit time arrives, we see the morning succeed the night, and Joy take the place of Weeping. We see precisely the same thing in God's dealings with individuals. The night of affliction falls upon them, the unwelcome stranger, Weeping, takes up his abode with them, their plans are traversed, their hopes are blighted, their house is rendered desolate. Well! it is their privilege to believe, not only that these painful circumstances will be overruled for good, but that the darkness of affliction's night shall be succeeded by the brightness of a joyful morning. It is so often here, but whether so here or not, it will be so by and by.
II. THE TEARFUL NIGHT OF LIFE WILL BE SUCCEEDED BY THE TEARLESS AND ETERNAL DAY OF HEAVEN. We wait for the dawning of that day. We have the beginnings of heaven's light and joy, here and now; the promise and earnest of them. We have passed from darkness to light, the Day-spring from on high hath visited us; and though we dwell in the dimness of early dawn, we are the children of the light. We should seek to walk in the light, walk as children of the light.
(T. M. Morris.)I. WEEPING. It is at even that she comes to all our homes. When she enters, we close the shutters, and very often put out the candle, and in the glow of the dying embers on the hearth talk to her a while.
1. Weeping is sure to come to us when the shadow of death rests upon our home. She tells us that there seldom was a home so dark as ours, or a trial so great; that such a loss can never be fully made up; that now we are only just beginning to find out what life is.
2. Weeping comes in times of adversity and anxious care. With pensive countenance and in sad tones she says that Providence is full of mystery, and that in all ages she has known some of the best people who were thus sadly perplexed. She tells us that she well remembers how Asaph long ago used to say (Psalm 73:1, 2, 5, 18). She reminds us how David, too, and other saints felt the same burden of mystery, and adds that no one has ever found the solution. She is not surprised that we are troubled; we well might be.
3. Weeping comes in those trying hours when friendships disappoint us and close and tender relationships become strained. She suggests that human nature is, notwithstanding all its professions, selfish and untrustworthy; that the exclamation of the psalmist is, sooner or later, the exclamation of all who have known much of the world and its ways: "Put not your trust in princes," etc.
4. Weeping is sure to come to us in the hour of our humiliation and shame. In the dim glimmer of the fire on the hearth she brings to our notice stains on our garment which, she assures us, would look a thousand times worse if we saw them in the proper light — saw them as others see them; and, above all, as God sees them.
II. WEEPING VANISHES OUT OF SIGHT IN THE GREY LIGHT OF DAWN, AND JOY enters our dwelling. The blinds are drawn up again, the fire is rekindled upon the hearth; and then, in the growing light of day that streams through the window, Joy talks to us a while. We repeat to her what Weeping has told us, and Joy replies that Weeping is a true teacher, that it is her prerogative to utter many a truth which only she can teach, but that she overlooks others none the less important.
1. For instance, that in speaking to us of our bereavement as a loss for which nothing can compensate, she forgot to tell us of the meeting again; of the memory of that dear one which will be to us a life-long inspiration; of the upward direction which such a bereavement should give to our thoughts and aspirations; and of how it may be one of God's ways of uniting us to Himself by associating His home with ours.
2. Again, Joy reminds us that when Weeping spoke of affliction as being the mystery which has perplexed God's saints in all the ages, and of how she had heard Asaph say, "As for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked," etc. (Psalm 73:2-13), she forgot to tell us the rest that Asaph said: how that he began the psalm with, "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart"; and how that, further on, in speaking of the prosperity of the wicked, he exclaims (vers. 16-20 and 25, 26). "She forgot to tell you, too," adds Joy, "what another psalmist said (Psalm 119:67). "Yes," continues Joy, "Weeping is a good teacher, but she has a poor memory for aught that is joyous; she only remembers the sad."
3. Joy pauses, and then, with a still brighter glow upon her countenance, and a clearer ring in her voice, she continues, And when Weeping spoke to you of your sin, she gave you but half the truth. When she told you that you could never remove the stains of sin which God saw upon your garment, she forgot to say that "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth," etc.
(D. Davies.)Psalm 30., which came with great power. A hyena howled near me last night, smelling sick man, but I hope he is not to have me yet." The date of that entry was October 29, 1885, and it shows how the psalms are full of religious power, fit for every-day use even in our own time. Time and knowledge would fail one to tell of all the saints of God who have been helped by the 30th Psalm. Even at the stake, when the faggots have been piled all about, and fetters have weighted every limb, martyrs for the faith have sung with unfaltering voices its promises of sure and certain hope, and have passed away joyfully with its words upon their lips. One such was John Herwin, who suffered during Alva's persecutions of the Nether-landish Protestants. "At the place of execution," writes the chronicler of the time, "one gave him his hand and comforted him." Then "began he to sing the 30th Psalm"; and the 30th Psalm, in spite of interruptions, he sang through from beginning to end.
(E. H. Eland, M. A.)you this morning with the dawn, and I wish to stay." Ah, welcome indeed I if we knew where to give thee room; we have but one guest-chamber, and it is occupied. There came to us last night a poor pilgrim named 'Weeping,' who for the first hours of night sighed and wept so sorely that it seemed as if she were breathing her life away. For the last two hours she seems to have fallen on sleep, for her chamber is silent, and it would be cruel to awake her." "Weeping? ah, I know her well. My name is Joy. Weeping and Joy have bad the world between them since the world was made. But, now, look in your room. You will find it empty. I met her an hour ago on the other side of the hill. She told me she had slipped silently away, and that I would be just in time to smile good-morning to you from my bright face, while she went on her way towards the valley of Baca, and the deeper, darker valley of the shadow of death. Weeping will not come here again to-night, and I shall stay, or I shall leave some of the light of my presence to fill the house. We often meet, and always part. But there is a time coming, in the Land of Light, from which I come, when even she will not know how to weep. "For the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces."
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
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