WAITING FOR GOD
Gracious Lord, today I want my mind and spirit to be tuned in to the Spirit’s frequency. Enable me to listen to You.
Read PSALM 130
A song of ascents.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The movement in this psalm is from the depths of despair to the joy of forgiveness.
Martin Luther loved the Book of Psalms and this testimony, which begins in ‘the depths’ (v 1) and climaxes in the declaration that with the Lord there is ‘full redemption’ (v 7) was among his favorites. The language used in verse 1 suggests the experience of drowning, calling to mind the story of Jonah who fell ‘into the very heart of the seas’ where ‘all your waves and breakers swept over me’.1 Anyone who has ever been in danger of drowning will know how terrifying this can be, bringing a sense of separation from the world and from life. Here this language is used metaphorically to describe the isolation and abandonment resulting from sin and guilt. Language of this kind is rarely heard in contemporary western culture, yet there are people who, like the psalmist, are deeply aware of the depths of their failure and wickedness and despair of ever recovering hope and freedom.
The despair with which the poem commences is wonderfully matched by the celebration which follows the assurance that ‘with you there is forgiveness’ (v 4). What had seemed an utterly hopeless situation is transformed by the knowledge that God – and God alone – can deliver the sinner from the depths. As Artur Weiser says, ‘Without God man is lost, and only God can throw across the gulf the bridge which man has broken off by his own guilt’.2
So great is this deliverance that the psalm ends with testimony: all Israel must be told that with the Lord there is ‘unfailing love’ and ‘full redemption’ (v 7). No one is beyond the reach of divine grace. No matter how deep the depths of sin and despair may have been, those who wait on the Lord will discover that He redeems the lost ‘from all their sins’ (v 8).
Reread this beautiful psalm and allow the radiant hope it expresses to speak to your heart and strengthen your hope.
Patient One, I take ownership of my sins. I confess them to You and embrace Your amazing forgiving grace. Thank You Lord.
1 Jonah 2:3 2 Artur Weiser, The Psalms, Old Testament Library, Fortress Press, 1962, p773
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