Psalms, Book 1, Psalms 29-31

Psalm 29‑31  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
These psalms fall fitly together: not only so, but the first of the three appears to be an answer to the call in Psa. 28 For the encouragement of the faithful, Jehovah is proclaimed mightier than the mightiest, who are challenged to give Him glory. We see in the beginning of Job how the elements of nature as well as human passions may be left for a moment in the enemy's hand; but God is over all, and is faithful to His people; and all things work together for good to those that love Him.
Psalm 29
“ A psalm of David. Give unto Jehovah, ye sons of the mighty, give unto Jehovah glory and strength. Give unto Jehovah the glory of His name; bow down to Jehovah in the beauty of holiness. Jehovah's voice upon the waters! the God [El] of glory thundereth—Jehovah upon many waters. Jehovah's voice in the power! Jehovah's voice in majesty! Jehovah's voice breaketh cedars in pieces; Jehovah even breaketh the cedars of Lebanon; and He maketh them skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young buffalo (a son of buffalo). Jehovah's voice heweth out flames of fire. Jehovah's voice shaketh a wilderness, Jehovah shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. Jehovah's voice maketh the hinds to calve and layeth bare the forests; and in His temple every one (or everything) saith, Glory! Jehovah sitteth upon the flood, and Jehovah sitteth King forever. Jehovah giveth strength to His people, Jehovah blesseth His people with peace” (1-11). Magnificent in its range, it is a triumphant assertion of Jehovah's power asserted to bless Israel. But He has a temple where everyone says, Glory!— a center for His people who know His name, the revelation of what He is to them.
Psalm 30
Death however is beyond the powers of nature. There all ends, now that sin is come in, and with consequences yet more awe-inspiring and agonizing to the spirit. Hence the danger, for man who trusts human thoughts, of utter moral degradation in present enjoyment, with nothing but the darkness of despair before him. It was not so with the godly Jew who clung to God in hope of Messiah, though he too shrank back from death before the Advent; he had not passed that way heretofore. Yet it was his shame to doubt resurrection, whether of just or unjust, though his longing was for His reign Who annuls the power of death: even the book of Job clearly reveals the two resurrections, separate in time as well as character, as may be seen in chaps. 14 and 19. Altogether different and far superior is the ground of the Christian who in the death and resurrection of Christ reads his justification, is dead and risen with Christ already, and awaits with joy His coming to present him with Himself in the Father's house. Here it is but the deprecation of death, while the Jew learns the deliverance of Jehovah to be better than any prosperity He gave, or the strength He established in His favor for his mountain: a lesson of enduring praise. “A psalm and dedication song of the house, by David. I extol Thee, O Jehovah, for Thou hast drawn me up, and hast not made mine enemies to rejoice over me. O Jehovah my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me. Thou, O Jehovah, hast brought up my soul from Sheol; Thou hast kept me alive from going down to the pit. Sing praises unto Jehovah, ye His holy (gracious) ones, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. For a moment [is] in His anger, a life in His favor: at even weeping lodgeth, and at the morn rejoicing. And for me, I said in my prosperity I shall not be moved forever. O Jehovah, in Thy favor Thou hast established strength for my mountain; Thou didst hide Thy face, I have been confounded. Unto Thee, O Jehovah, I call, and unto Jehovah I make supplication: what profit [is] in my blood, in my going down to corruption? Shall dust praise Thee? Shall it declare Thy truth? Hear, O Jehovah, and be gracious to me; O Jehovah, be a helper to me. Thou hast turned my lamentation into a dance; for me Thou hast loosed my sackcloth, and Thou girdest me with joy; so that glory may sing praise to Thee and not be silent. O Jehovah my God, forever will I give Thee thanks” (1-13).
Psalm 31
It is not triumph over the grave here, but the heart exercised in distress, and the Jew dying in the confidence which the proved knowledge of Jehovah gives. Hence the Lord did not hesitate to adopt its words for Himself at that moment (Luke 23:4646And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)), only substituting as became Him “Father” for Jehovah; as now He risen from the dead authorizes us to do in the faith of His redemption, as later the Spirit of adoption was given to be its power. But it is not as a whole His utterance, still less in resurrection power.
“ To the chief musician; a psalm of David. In Thee, O Jehovah, have I trusted; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Thy righteousness. Incline Thine ear to me, deliver me speedily; be a rock of strength to me, a house of defense to save me. For Thou [art] my rock and my fortress, and for Thy name's sake Thou guidest and leadest me. Thou bringest me forth from the net which they hid for me, for Thou [art] my fortress. Into Thy hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast redeemed me, O Jehovah God [El] of truth. I have hated those that observe lying vanities; and for me I have trusted in Jehovah. I will exalt and rejoice in Thy mercy, Who hast seen mine affliction; Thou hast known my soul in distresses. And Thou hast not shut me up in the enemy's hand; Thou hast set my feet in the large place. Be gracious with me, O Jehovah, for I am distressed; consumed with grief [is] mine eye, my soul, and my belly. For my life is wasted in sorrow and my years in sighing; my strength hath been feeble through mine iniquity, and my bones have been consumed. I have been a reproach among all mine oppressors, and especially to my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintances: they that saw me from without fled from me. I have been forgotten as a dead man from the heart: have been as a perishing vessel. For I have heard the slander of many; fear is round about when they consult together against me; they devised to take my life. But I have trusted in Thee, O Jehovah I have said, Thou [art] my God. My times [are] in Thy hand; deliver me from the hand of mine enemies and from my persecutors. Cause Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; in Thy mercy save me. O Jehovah, I shall not be ashamed, for I have called on Thee; the wicked shall be ashamed, they shall be silent in Sheol. The lips of falsehood shall be dumb, which speak against the righteous one insolently with pride and contempt. How great [is] Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up for those that fear Thee, [which] Thou hast wrought for those that trust in Thee before the sons of men! Thou hidest them in the secret place of Thy presence from the plots of man, Thou concealest them in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Blessed [be] Jehovah, for He hath made His mercy wonderful to me in a city of defense. And for me, I said in my haste, I have been cut off from before Thine eyes; surely Thou hast heard the voice of my supplication when I cried unto Thee. Love ye Jehovah, all His holy (gracious) ones. Jehovah preserveth the faithful, abundantly requiteth the proud doer. Be strong, and He will strengthen your heart, all ye that wait for Jehovah” (1-25).
The closing rise of the soul from verse 20 is very fine after varied trials, with solemn sense of the judgment awaiting persecuting foes and the haughty wicked. He realizes the pavilion of the divine presence, and the great goodness laid up for the God-fearing. It is the Spirit of Christ in the tried and delivered soul, rather than Christ personally.