As a Christian, have you ever felt unworthy of God’s love? You know that you are a sinner, and you are only saved by the grace of God. Because Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for your sins, you know that you have been forgiven and are free from the penalty of sin. This gospel message is incredible!
But are there still times when you question if it’s a bit too good to be true? You know that you accepted Christ as your Savior, but then you committed another sin… and another. You got caught up in that addiction or you fell into that trap, or you just willfully decided to go your own way for a time. You’ve tasted that the Lord is good, but now that you’ve wandered away, you wonder if there is any hope for you to return.
That is David’s struggle as he concludes Psalm 30. As David reflects on the grace of God in giving him such an incredible kingdom, he also fears what would happen should God take away His favor. David knows some of the heinous crimes that he has committed; he knows how often he has rebelled against his Great King, and he fears that God might give up on him. If you can relate at all to David’s feelings, then join me as we study the rest of this psalm.
But, before you read these verses, remember that, even though this is a personal struggle for David, he writes these words in a psalm that is intended to be sung by the entire nation at the dedication of the temple.
Please read Psalm 30:8-12.
When David reaches that point of utter contempt for his sin, complete guilt, and endless shame, he turns his eyes back to God. “To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy.” When we feel like we have wandered far away from God, and we have nothing to offer as recompense, we often resort to crying and pleading and bargaining. David even suggests that God somehow needs David to offer Him praise. As if God doesn’t already have millions of angels singing His praises in heaven! God doesn't need David, nor does God need any of us!
But, once David gets past the crying, and pleading, and bargaining, he finally asks for the right thing: “be merciful to me!”
Once we get to the point where we realize that the only way for us to have a right relationship with God is to rely on His mercy, then He will turn our mourning into dancing. As David relies on God’s mercy, he can take off the sackcloth, which was the symbolic dress of a mourner, and allow God to clothe him with gladness. No longer does David have to quietly stew in his guilt and shame; now he can sing out the praise of God in the congregation—He can publicly give God thanks for saving him, even though he is unworthy.
This is the ultimate lesson that David wants to teach his people through this psalm. When the nation sings this psalm at the temple’s dedication, they may feel a sense of shame for their king, who has wandered so far from God and fallen so low. But then they will have to sing out the truth that everyone, even David—perhaps the greatest of all of Israel’s kings, everyone must humble themselves before the Lord. No one can come to Him except by His mercy.
So, the next time that you feel like you are too unworthy to come to God, rest assured that you are right! But He loves you anyway! God wants to show you that same mercy that He has shown to David, that same mercy that He has shown to me, that same mercy that He has shown to you in the past. Trust in His mercy, and allow Him to turn your mourning into dancing.