A devotional of Psalm 130
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
This is one of the songs of ascents (Psalm 120-135) also known as the songs of degrees or songs of elevation. Pilgrims to the Temple approached it from the bottom of the hill then up the 15 steps. They came from a low place to this lofty place because “God is high and lifted up,” Isaiah 57:15.
The concept of degrees or levels is hereby reflected. It’s one thing to be bugged by an issue and have it merely affect us superficially. It is another matter to be struck and rocked at your very core. That is where today’s psalmist is coming from. The attack has affected the very center, the heart and soul, a place of depth maybe even formerly unknown to the psalmist. It has brought him to a low, low place. It has plunged him into a deep, deep pit. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” What a blessing that no matter how low we are, whether we took ourselves there or someone else did, the principle remains – “for everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved,” Rom. 10:13. “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” Ps. 124:8.
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me,” Ps. 139: 7-10. You call, he answers. You call, he answers. You call, he answers. That’s the relationship.
2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.,” Ps. 18:6. This verse paints the reality of heaven when we call upon God. We don’t stand in long lines to get a few seconds of his attention. The cry of his children bypasses all lines. It is as though he has a special ear bug tuned to me and to you at all times. No matter what else he is attending to, he is completely tuned to you.
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
The simple answer is no one. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Rom. 3:23. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isaiah 53:6. And as we saw yesterday, “Let God be true, and every human being a liar,” Romans 3:4a. When it comes to iniquities, we all fall flat on our faces in contrition. We are guilty as judged.
4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
But then look at your God. Tenderly, he stoops down to the woman who was not just accused but caught in the act of adultery. Whether she was set up or not, she was guilty as all get out, and brutally dragged before Jesus by her rabid accusers. She deserved death and they were loaded for bear. The mob of dignified religious leaders and the Pharisees said, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” John 8:4, 5.
They were salivating for blood and ready to have it upon their hands. But it wasn’t her blood they were after, she was a just a pawn. It was his blood they sought!
Jesus promptly cut them at the knees and banished them in a few choice words. Those words have rung down through the centuries, “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” v. 7. They left one by one. If those experts in the law couldn’t attain it by their works, we have no hope. We would turn and walk away too – guilty and hopeless. Or we can be like the woman and hear the words of life that have also rung down through the centuries, ““Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jn 8:10b -11.
She had come fearing for her life and she left with a better fear, the fear of God. She came within an inch of her life, met him who is a consuming fire, and lived to teach a whole new truth: “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” Note his strong stance for her. Note his strong stance against her sin. “Consider the kindness and sternness of God,” Rom. 11:22.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
To wait – qavah – is to expect and hope for. Figuratively it is to bind oneself to. Remember the intertwined cords of the wicked we learned about yesterday? If not, revisit that. To wait on God is to entwine ourselves to him. For our souls to wait is to shush them so they come into alignment with God’s. Our will or desires, our intellect, our emotions wait expectantly throughout our lives as we go about the business of training them to conform to God’s will, his intellect (attention, focus, plans, thoughts, memories, etc.), and his emotions. Lord, we want to have emotional responses like you have. We want to desire what you desire. We want to think your thoughts, mull over your memories, problem-solve like you do, and pay attention to what you pay attention to. We want to be just like you and we want that more than anything!
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
“My hope is built on nothing less. than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame. but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Edward Mote (1834.) Turn it up and sing along!