by Pastor Joshua Pfeiffer
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‘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?’ (Psalm 30:9).
How bold are your prayers? This verse above has always struck me as one of the most daring prayers in all the psalms, perhaps in the entire Bible. Can you imagine yourself praying like this?
The psalm overall is one of praise and thanksgiving for God’s deliverance in a time of trouble. The psalmist retraces the journey from where he was strong and secure, through entering a time of trial and suffering where it seemed as if the Lord had ‘hidden his face’. It was in this dark situation that the psalmist cried out for help using the words in the verse above. He says something very striking and somewhat surprising, at least for many modern Christians. He asks God what the point would be in letting him die. If he is allowed to waste away and turn to dust, who will be left to praise the Lord? Who will be able to tell others how good and faithful the Lord is? The dust certainly can’t do that, at least not in the way one of God’s chosen people can do.
This fits into a bigger theme in the Bible, namely that God acts not only out of love and compassion for his people but also for the sake of his glory, reputation and name. He acts so that others may come to know who he is. Think, for example, of the famous Psalm 23, where all that the Lord does as our shepherd is ‘for his name’s sake’ (Psalm 23:3).
The Lord heard the psalmist’s bold prayer. He continues by recounting the wonderful deliverance he experienced with these words: ‘You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever’ (verses 11,12).
Be humble and reverent before the Lord in prayer, but be bold, too, like the psalmist. And having been delivered, let us never be silent about all the Lord has done for us.
Heavenly Father, thank you for all the ways you have brought me through times of trouble. Please help me, by your Spirit, to always boldly call on you in times of distress and to tell of your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.