His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime
Psalm 30 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death. A Psalm of David.
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God,
I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
3 O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.
4 Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
5 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
6 Now as for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I will never be moved.”
7 O Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong;
You hid Your face, I was dismayed.
8 To You, O Lord, I called,
And to the Lord I made supplication:
9 “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?
10 “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
In today’s text the psalmist says: Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. Some would say that the psalmist did not know the loving God of grace, that he did not have a true understanding of God because he lived under the covenant of the law and not the covenant of grace. They would say that God is loving, compassionate, full of grace and mercy, and so He is never angry. The thing is the God of the Old Testament and the Old Covenant, is the same God as the God of the New Testament and the New Covenant of grace. God has not changed. He never changes. Perhaps it is those who do not think that God could or would ever be angry that really don’t know God. We are mistaken if we impute the same emotions to God that we ourselves have. It is possible for God to be angry and not to sin. Ephesians 4:26 even instructs us to: “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. Godly anger does not cause sin. Rather it is caused by sin. It is directed toward sin. God’s anger is righteous anger. It is indeed possible for the loving God of grace to be angry at unrighteousness.
Rather than question the psalmists understanding of God’s grace, we should see the true deep understanding of grace the psalmist has. He says: For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. God looks on sin and is angered by it, but then He looks on His beloved people and He loves them with an everlasting love. The anger of God toward our sin lasts only a moment, because the God of the Old Testament says: "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25) When God looks on us, He no longer sees or remembers our sins. That God wipes out our transgressions, is why He is angered by sin in the first place. We consider it grace that we are forgiven, and that it is a free gift from God. God though knows full well the cost. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The grace of God that wipes out our transgressions caused Jesus the suffering and death of the cross. God is angered by sin, but because of His love demonstrated in the cross, He sees us and no longer remembers the sins. He looks on us with favor because of the price Jesus paid for us.
If we would truly know God, we would know that He never changes. We would know that He is the same today as He was the day the psalmist wrote this declaration. God, the God of the old and the new says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20) If we would truly know God, we too would be angry at the things that cause Him anger. We would not though allow our anger to cause us to sin, by causing us to judge others for who Christ also died. We should mourn the sin which causes God to be angry and the sin which cost Jesus His life. The psalmist says: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Grace is God’s gift of salvation and forgiveness. It is free to us. There is nothing we can do to earn it. But if we truly know the God of grace, we too will dance for joy and be glad. We will sing praise to God and forever give thanks for the price Jesus paid to free us from sin.
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.