In the original Hebrew, Psalm 30 is given the title “A Psalm of David. A Song at the Dedication of the Temple.”
How does this psalm show us Jesus?
In John 1 it says that Jesus tabernacled (that’s the literal translation for dwelt) with us. While Jesus was the tabernacle, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:16 (and many other places), “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” All believers are God’s temple. When did the building of this temple begin? When was it dedicated?
Psalm 30:1-3 – “I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.”
This is clearly speaking of Jesus and his resurrection. “You have drawn me up.” “Lord you have brought up my soul from Sheol.” In the story of David and Solomon, we read that the temple was to be built in a time of rest, not war. Jesus won the war on the cross. When he was resurrected, restored to life, he sat down on the throne. He was at rest. It was now time for the temple to be built.
Psalm 30:4-5 – “Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
On the cross, Jesus was separated from God. He experienced God’s anger. But, it was just for a moment. God’s favor upon Jesus is for all eternity. Jesus wept for a night, but joy came in the morning.
Psalm 30:6-7 – “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain strong, you hid your face; I was dismayed.’”
The Hebrew word for prosperity is used only this one time in the Old Testament. It actually means rest, quietness, or ease. Jesus is now in rest. He is seated on the throne. He is ruling. This was all by God’s favor. God has made Jesus’ mountain, or kingdom, stand strong.
But, what does it mean “You hid your face, I was dismayed.”? I think this line is Jesus speaking from the place of rest, looking back to the place of his work, the cross. It was at that time that Jesus experienced God hiding his face from him. It was dismaying. It was true suffering for Jesus.
Hebrews 5:8 says, “Although he was a son, he [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered.” Does this mean Jesus was at one time disobedient and what he suffered taught him how to obey? No! He was without sin. He was always obedient.
So, what did he learn? What does it mean he “learned obedience?”In what he suffered, God hiding his face from him, being separated from God, Jesus learned what it cost to obey God. Because of that obedience, Jesus is exalted and on the throne, in the place of rest, building his temple.
This is summed up in Philippians 2:6-9:
“… though he [Jesus] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”
Psalm 30:8-10 – “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!’”
If Jesus died and was not resurrected, then how would the temple be built (what profit would there be). Would men (dust) build the temple to praise God? Remember, God doesn’t dwell in a temple made with human hands.
Psalm 30:11-12 – “You have turned for 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 heard the cry of Jesus from the previous section. God raised Jesus from the pit. So, in this section, we read of a change of garment’s. The sackcloth has been loosed. Sackcloth was made from goat’s hair. The goat was sacrificed for atonement of sin. Jesus made sin for us. But, his body that was made sin was sacrificed and loosed. Now, in his resurrection he has a new garment, a garment of gladness. Peter, James, and John saw the foreshadowing of this when Jesus was transfigured, or transformed. That literally means to be changed from one thing to another.
Then, in his resurrected and glorified body, the disciples saw the reality of this transformation. The time had come. Jesus was at rest. The temple was dedicated. Now he is building his temple, God’s people.