Bible Book: Psalms
Verse (to): 13
Text: Psalm 30 (and 2 Kings 5:1-14 and Mark 1:40-45)
Psalm 30 is a praise song by David (verse 1) who has been sick and has been healed. God has answered his prayer for healing (verse 2). His overwhelming gratitude concerns the fact that he had been afraid of dying when he was sick (verse 9). God’s merciful intervention fortunately gives him another chance to live. So he praises God and he calls upon God’s saints to praise God too (verse 4). Because God can cure illness and He gives joy where there are tears (verse 5), festive garments for those who are in mourning (verse 11).
Psalm 30 sings about healing. Can only those who have received healing join in this song? Does it exclude those who are sick, because they haven’t received God’s healing in a similar manner? What does this Psalm mean to a person who is terminally ill? What kind of comfort is here for somebody who is living with HIV?
The RCL requests that this Psalm be read together with 2 Kings 5:1-14 and Mark 1:40-45. These stories from the Old and New Testament are both tales of the healing of leprosy. In the times and context in which the Bible story took place, leprosy was the “dreaded, incurable disease” – a sickness which excluded people and left them alone. In 2 Kings Naaman from Aram is healed from his leprosy by the prophet Elisa. The story is told in such a way that it is clear that it is the God of Israel who cures Naaman. In Mark 5 Jesus cures a leper who begs Him for healing.
Both stories of 2 Kings 5:1-14 and Mark 1:40-45 bear witness of God’s grace that is wider and far greater than our preconceived ideas. The leprous man from Aram finds healing with Israel’s God. Jesus touches the leper and sends him off to show the priest (at the temple) that he has been healed. These lepers are not excluded, they are included.
All who get to know the God of Psalm 30, of 2 Kings 5:1-14 and Mark 1:40-45 and discover his immense grace, will testify with Psalm 30 that there is life in Him, that He dries tears, that He “clothes with joy”. We discover something of this when we realise with Paul that God’s grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9). And this grace of God doesn’t exclude anybody.
So we can sing Psalm 30 with David, even though we still find ourselves in a broken world.
PS: A sermon on 2 Kings 5:1-14 en Mark 1:40-45 can be found at http://www.swedenborgchapel.org/read_sa_sb2003_6.html
Author: N du Toit (Ds)