Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sermon Help: Joy in the Morning.

I've been given a text for Sunday: Psalm 30, and a title: 'Joy in the Morning'.

A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment;
his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
‘I shall never be moved.’
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face; I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cried,
and to the Lord I made supplication:
9 ‘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?

10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!’
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.

Some questions that might help you to help me...
  • From V5: So, is there a clock to joy? Or maybe a season? ('Weeping at night; Joy in the morning'?)
  • What is the relationship between suffering + death + fear and Joy?
  • Has God ever 'hid his face' from you (V7)? What does that mean?
  • Have you ever had people question whether your joy is real? (God has turned your mourning into dancing; and clothed you with joy, but someone else can't see the clothing?)
  • Is there a relationship between this Psalm and John 16:20-22?
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer identified the Psalter as the "Prayer Book of Jesus." How does this Psalm find it's fulfillment on the lips and in the life of Jesus?
  • What is your experience of Joy?
Feel free to comment anonymously. And say what you want about Joy!


Martin said...

I don't see a season for joy. The NT letters tell us to "rejoice in the Lord always," and to "consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials." Joy for me means delighting in what the Lord has given, regardless of my emotions otherwise. I might be reaming a kid out for hitting someone in my class, or I might be doubled over in pain after running a mile race, but I think I'm joyful in the midst of that. Whenever I am conscious of God's grace and grateful for his gifts, I think I'm experiencing joy.

That's the understanding of joy that I get from the NT. I'm not so sure that it squares with the phrase, "Joy comes with the morning." I would lean toward saying that the psalmist is talking about something else when he uses the word "joy," the more popular definition that refers to the bubbly emotion you feel at weddings and births and quiet sunrises. I guess that is joy too, but it's joy as an earthly emotion, not joy in the NT sense.

Anonymous said...

hey J-dude! my unthrough thoughts, are that the psalmist is describing something very real - night time is often hard, and with the rising of the sun things 'seem better' - maybe not a lot, but it's coldest at 3am, its darkest in the night. Its lonely. Kind of makes me think of other psalm 139 - where the night is not dark to God, but the night is as bright as day - which is the consolation to what you feel in the long dark night - its not dark to God, he sees you, you are not lost to him - although he may feel lost to you. There is genuinely a reflief that comes in the morning. With the Light. funny that Jesus is the light of the world.
I know for me, at times i have cherished the rising of the sun! with jesus as my light, and the knowledge that the night is not dark to God, the human experience of 'night' is made better ... i think this psalm is being real about how we feel - joy and saddness - and that sadness gives way to joy, even though like a long night, it seems like it woin't! Rhea

Jonathan said...

The rising of the sun can be easily associated with joy, but I didn't think the psalmist was saying joy has to follow the clock. Rather, it is an illustration and example of the point made in the first half of the verse - the weeping has an end. The morning may be literally the next morning, it may come at any time during the day, or may take many mornings.

If the NT sense is different, perhaps the main difference is that part of the morning has already come. Is it because of what we know about Jesus, and the gift of the Spirit, we are more able to appreciate God's grace in any situation? But even with that joy, we still know that the night is coming to an end and the day is coming.

Anonymous said...

Echos of Lamentations? Amidst such weeping and crying out, they had no comforter (cf vs 10?). And yet, there is praise (and joy?) to be had for God's compassions are new every morning, and his great faithfulness endures forever.

Gavin Parsons said...

Hello Justin

I bumped into your Blog

I hope life is good for you at NYC
Are you survivng Parenthood ?


Geetings from the Parsons in Perth!


Anonymous said...

Didn't Woodie do some serious research on this?


Daria said...

What a neat blog topic! : ) I *love* this Psalm--and the topic of suffering is a "biggie" for me, as I study stress, trauma, coping, and suicide across the lifespan.

The verse about joy coming in the morning is tied in my thoughts to Paul's wonderful passage in Romans 5 about what the Holy Spirit works in our lives because of suffering: perseverance, proven character, and hope. This is not a natural progression, necessarily--it really does speak of Grace when suffering can bear the fruit of hope, rather hopelessness, in our lives!

When we have persevered through the "night" of suffering, and done so across many times of dark valleys, our perseverance yields the experience that the intense woe comes to an end, that God restores our souls...that we may find Joy again, as "morning" dawns in our minds and hearts as we fix our hope on Jesus and allow the Spirit to fill us with God's love.

What strikes me about what David says about his time of suffering here is that, in his prosperity, he took his eyes off God and boasted in his own strength (cf what Paul says about boasting about what we have, as if it had not been given to us). When David experiences God hiding His face--suddenly, the favor, the privileges and blessings being ripped away from him--David is shocked back into a proper view of himself and His Creator. He acknowledges once again his dependency...and so he dances again in proper praise. : ) ...a particular kind of joy experience, seems.

Re: your q about death and fear and the feeling of God hiding His face, I think of Asaph's Psalm 73 (as well as Jeremiah's Lamentations): that intense grief, fear, loss, and horror do cut us off from the experience of God's presence (e.g., "I was senseless and ignorant, I became as a brute beast before you" Psa 73); the vast comfort that brings hope and joy is the tenacious acknowledgment that we are "continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand..." (Psa 73) --there, we can experience the joy of security in our God holding onto us, despite our inability to apprehend that in the moment...

(kinda long, sorry)

Blessings to you~