The Word Made Fresh
(A psalm, to be sung at the dedication of the temple. Of David.)
1I praise you, LORD, for upholding me
and for not letting my enemies get the best of me.
2I cried out to you for help,
and you healed me.
3You pulled me out of the grave,
and restored me from among the dead.
4Sing the LORD’s praises, you who are faithful,
and give thanks to God’s holy name.
5For God’s anger only lasts a moment,
but God’s favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the sunrise.
6As for me, when I was prosperous, I said,
“Nothing can stop me now!”
7I know that my successes were a favor from you, LORD.
You made my situation solid as a mountain.
But then you looked away from me,
and I was undone!
8So, I cried out to you, LORD, and pleaded with you.
9“Where is the profit in my dying, if I wind up in the grave?
Will the dirt covering me praise you?
Will it tell how dependable you are?
10Hear me, LORD, and be gracious to me! Help me!”
11And now you have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken away my funeral clothes
and decked me out in joyful attire!
12And now I can praise you with my life
instead of being silent in death.
LORD, my God, I will give thanks to you every day!
Superscription: the 27th psalm ascribed to David. The idea is that David composed this hymn to be used at the dedication of the temple which was built by his son Solomon, but it is difficult to match the sentiments expressed here with such a lofty occasion.
1-3: During his lifetime David overcame many foes, internal and external. He is remembering how God rescued him from his enemies, from times of illness, and from times when it seemed certain he would lose his life (“you pulled me out of the grave”).
4-5: The people of God are not punished forever but are only chastened as needed. The faithful can be sure that God’s favor will always return. “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the sunrise.” What a wonderful attitude of faith.
6-10: David remembers a time when he got a little too big for his britches, as the old folks used to say. He thought he was the cat’s meow, the boy who hung the moon, to gather clichés. But God wouldn’t let him get away with his high-minded self-adoration for long. God “looked away from me,” he says, and he had to cry for mercy.
11-12: God responded with favor to his supplication, and he was restored, and that is his reason for praising God publicly.
Although the psalm is supposed to relate to David’s life and times, it is an appropriate outline for the lives of most believers. We would do well to read the psalm as if it were a summary of our own lives and remember how God has responded to us in times when enemies (opponents) gloated or when illness threatened or when vanity turned our heads.