Psalm 130 was written during a time of great anguish for God’s people, and the psalmist reflected on why God would allow their situation to be what it was.
PSALM 130 (NASB)
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.
Cry Out to God
We also find ourselves in unprecedented times. We are in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic, our country seems to be hopelessly divided politically, there is violence in the streets, and there seems to be no end in sight. What do God’s people do in a time like this? Hopefully, we turn to God and pray! The psalmist felt that he was at the very end of his rope when he said, “Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications” (Psalm 130:1–2). Can you relate to these verses? In the situation in which we find ourselves, now is the time to cry out to God for help. If you are struggling with anxiety and fear, you can also look to Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” God’s presence should always encourage us.
Next, the psalmist wrote, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Psalm 130:3–4). The psalmist realized that if God gave people what they deserve, not one of us would survive. To mark iniquities means to keep a record and hold each sinner accountable for every sin committed. But this psalm is about hope and forgiveness for God’s people, and because of that forgiveness, God is to be feared. The Hebrew word for fear has more to do with reverence, worship, and obedience than it has to do with being afraid.
We can find ultimate encouragement in the fact that God has forgiven all our sins—past, present, and future—when we seek that forgiveness in the Messiah who was “bruised for our transgressions.”
Wait for God
The psalmist then wrote about one of the most difficult things we have to do—wait on the Lord. “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning” (Psalm 130:5–6). The psalmist testified that he was patiently waiting for the Lord and hoping in the promises of His Word—the promises of forgiveness and redemption for His people. He compared his wait to that of one of the city’s watchmen looking for the first rays of the sunrise, a time when he would be relieved of his duties by another guard and when darkness would become light. It reminds me of the words of the famous hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” taken from Lamentations 3:22–23, “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Trust in God
Finally, the psalm closes with encouragement to trust in the Lord: “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalm 130:7–8). For the psalmist, hope and redemption are connected. Even now, some Jews recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as the hope of Israel and as the one who brings redemption to this world (Isaiah 53). Because of that hope, we can call to Him out of the depths of our affliction, even in the midst of this pandemic. We can find ultimate encouragement in the fact that God has forgiven all our sins—past, present, and future—when we seek that forgiveness in the Messiah who was “bruised for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53). We can look to the future fulfillment of this psalm when the people of Israel will one day again go up to Jerusalem—perhaps while reciting Psalm 130—to greet Yeshua upon His return, welcome Him as their redeemer, and recognize Him as king of kings and Lord of Lords.