«You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever» (Psalm 30: 1 1 , 1 2).
The Holy Scripture mentions words «dancing» and «dances» more than twenty times. Sometimes, it is a deplorable activity; other times, it is a manifestation of joy and celebration; and at times, a way of worship. For example, at one end, we see the Israelites dancing around the golden calf which was an idolatrous and abominable act (Exod. 32:19). The daughter of Herodias danced for the sensual pleasure of Herod and his guests (Matt. 14:6) which was adoration, an activi lie rejected by God. At the other end, we notice dancing as a gesture of when Miriam, Aaron’s sister, danced with a crowd of women to give glory to God after the Red Sea Crossing (Exod. 15:20); when the father from the parable of the lost son organized a «welcome back» feast for his son with music and dancing (Luke 15:23-25); or when the Psalmist and the prophet Jeremiah speak about praising God with dance, tambourine, harp, stringed instruments and flutes (Ps. 149:3; 150:4; Jer. 31:4).
Today’s text shows dance as a manifestation of the inner joy which bursts into physical activity. However, the modern-day dances do not denote joy but sensuality, so the follower of Christ should avoid this type of activity.
The true transformation from mourning to joy takes place by the influence of the Holy Spirit. This enjoyment does not depend on special circumstances as we can see it with the early Christians who experienced joy in spite of the brutal persecutions they had to endure. We see it when they were «breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness» (Acts 2:46); we also notice the Gentiles from Antioch, who were glad amidst discrimination (Acts 13:48) or the Philippian jailer who «rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household» (Acts 16:34 in times when their life was at risk.
Today’s verse uses the contrast between mourning and dancing , and it clearly reveals God as a transforming agent who turned mourning into gladness. Yes, God can and wishes to take us out of sadness, discouragement and sorrow so we can enjoy life and be prepared to joyfully receive Him. The Lord will bless us if we let Him. Thus, we will end up saying like the Psalmist, «My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise» (Ps. 57:7).