Meditations on the Psalms – Week 4: Psalm 30 – Thanksgiving

Stewart Fenters Meditations on the Psalms

Several years ago, I had the misfortune of having a strange viral infection in my knee for about three weeks making it very difficult and painful to move or walk. My knee could not bend whatsoever and even sitting still proved to be uncomfortable. After the healing, I looked down in wonder as I walked and realized how easy it was to overlook such a simple thing as walking down the hall. But the recent memory of knee pain made the present experience of walking that much sweeter.

If you were with us last week, we looked at Psalm 13, which is a Psalm of Lament. This week’s psalm is Psalm 30, a psalm of Thanksgiving, which is located thematically after lament. As you read this psalm, you’ll hear the quiet “sigh of relief” as David recounts God’s deliverance, healing, and help. David is recalling the ways that God acted, and he is responding in praise and thanksgiving.

Yet this psalm is more than a quick “thank you, now I’ll be on my way!” It lingers for a bit and helps us to discover the reason why joy and thanksgiving are so sweet: because they often come out of seasons or experiences of deep pain. Yet there is this tension that permeates our thanksgiving; we have been delivered and restored, but still struggle and experience hardship. Maybe that’s why “giving thanks to God forever” (v.12) doesn’t depend on current circumstances, but having a heart that seeks to rejoice and praise whether we are on tail end of a difficult season or just at the beginning.

Giving thanks to God is a lifestyle. As you go throughout the day, be mindful of all the ways that God is good and has shown his love for us. The list is limitless and as I recall and reflect, I find that I am continually transformed into having a more gracious and thankful heart.

Psalm 30 (ESV)

Joy Comes with the Morning

A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple.

30 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.[a]

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,[d]
    if I go down to the pit?[e]
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!


  1. Psalm 30:3 Or to life, that I should not go down to the pit
  2. Psalm 30:4 Hebrew to the memorial of his holiness (see Exodus 3:15)
  3. Psalm 30:5 Or and in his favor is life
  4. Psalm 30:9 Hebrew in my blood
  5. Psalm 30:9 Or to corruption
English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Read the rest of the Meditations on the Psalms series.