Seeking Joy the world doesn't understand
Psalm 30. A near-fatal illness has passed, the anticipation of enemies has been disappointed; all is well. The poet is moved to lilting praise for the swift change of God’s anger to favor, from weeping to joy. It has been a salutary lesson. For he had been overconfident, feeling immovable, until God hid his face. Then he begged mercy, and argued with God that death would profit neither. God heard, turned wailing to dancing, penitence to joy, silence to song. No wonder the psalmist is grateful.
A. Joy over what?
Joy as Feeling. Joy is a feeling called forth by well-being, success, or good fortune. A person automatically experiences it because of certain favorable circumstances. It cannot be commanded.
The shepherd experienced joy when he found his lost sheep (Mt 18:13). The multitude felt it when Jesus healed a Jewish woman whom Satan had bound for 18 years (Lk 13:17). The disciples returned to Jerusalem rejoicing after Jesus’ ascension (Lk 24:52). Joy was also the feeling of the church at Antioch when its members heard the Jerusalem Council’s decision that they did not have to be circumcised and keep the Law (Acts 15:31). Paul mentioned his joy in hearing about the obedience of the Roman Christians (Rom 16:19). He wrote to the Corinthians that love does not rejoice in wrong but rejoices in the right (1 Cor 13:6; see also 1 Sm 2:1; 11:9; 18:6; 2 Sm 6:12; 1 Kgs 1:40; Est 9:17, 18, 22).
Psalm 137:3 shows that the emotion cannot be commanded. The Jews’ captors wanted them to sing in the land of their exile, something they were unable to do. Faraway Jerusalem was their chief joy (Ps 137:6).
Joy as Action. There is a joy that Scripture commands. That joy is action that can be engaged in regardless of how the person feels. Proverbs 5:18 tells the reader to rejoice in the wife of his youth, without reference to what she may be like. Christ instructed his disciples to rejoice when they were persecuted, reviled, and slandered (Mt 5:11, 12). The apostle Paul commanded continuous rejoicing (Phil 4:4; 1 Thes 5:16). James said Christians are to reckon it all joy when they fall into various testings because such testings produce endurance (Jas 1:2). First Peter 4:13 seems to include both action and emotion when it says, “But rejoice [the action] in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad [the emotion] when his glory is revealed.” Joy in adverse circumstances is possible only as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, who is present in every Christian (Gal 5:22).
Joy as Feeling.
1. Being lifted
The vividness of thou hast drawn me up is quite accurate: it is the word for pulling up a bucket from a well. That well was as deep as death (on Sheol, see on 6:5), and the threat had come from sickness (2b) rather than war.