The human condition — Job 5:7 (ESV)—7 …man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.
We might call those troubles — as the psalm does — depths.
Theme: The pilgrim cries to God from the depths and becomes awed by His grace, which stimulates a continual waiting on God and testimony about how much that waiting works.
- 1 Cry to God from the depths.
- 2 Be in awe of God due to His grace.
- 3 Habitually wait for God.
- 4 Tell others how it will turn out if they do the same.
The Pilgrim Cries To God — From The Depths, Even Self-Induced Ones (130:1-2)
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! 2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
In the other Psalms the depths are connected to deep waters in the form of a sea or a flood (Psalm 69:2, 14-15). To be in the depths is to be in despair because you’re in a sea of troubles.
- The Message: The bottom has fallen out of my life.
- You might have been here. You might someday be here. And you might today be here.
So the song is birthed in tragedy.
- It is not embarrassed by the suffering.
- It does not treat the suffering like a big theological problem for the theologians and philosophers to figure out.
- It does not see the suffering as strange, a problem which must be eradicated.
Of all people, disciples/pilgrims know suffering is a normal part of life. Jesus suffered for us. We’ll suffer in this broken world. God hates human suffering, so He planned a way to end it. And that way was through the cross (which was brilliant because it did not make us unsuffering automatons).
So we aren’t offering glib answers or quick remedies. We aren’t escapists, looking to drugs and drink to intoxicate us from reality.
For Christians, it is in suffering we enter the depths, and there we find Christ.
Furthermore, theses depths (the tragedy) are likely self-induced.
- He will sing about iniquities (2), forgiveness (3), and redemption from iniquities (7-8) as the song progresses.
- The strong indication is that these depths were caused by personal sin.
As difficult as it is for us to understand pain, it seems even more difficult to understand our invitation to run to God after we’ve sinned.
- We take a “I made my bed and now I have to sleep in it” type of attitude. But this isn’t grace!
- Grace says: Romans 8:1 (ESV)—1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- Grace sees how Jesus went straight for the (1) demon affected, (2) sick, (3) sinful, and (4) unclean.
It is often hard for us to run to God.
- When pain is the fault of others, we wonder if God failed us.
- When pain is our own fault, we wonder if God will receive us.
But we can learn from two people in Scripture — Jeremiah and Jonah.
- Jeremiah’s prayer from the depths — Lamentations 3:53 (ESV)—53 they flung me alive into the pit and cast stones on me; Lamentations 3:55 (ESV)—55 “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit;
- See Jonah’s prayer from the depths and learn — God listens! Jonah 2:2 (ESV)—2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
The Pilgrim Is In Awe Of God — Because Of His Forgiveness (130:3-4)
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
He makes a theological point — If God marked iniquities no one could stand before Him. His holiness would drive them from His presence.
Fortunately, God’s heart is to forgive.
- Through Christ, He does.
- Romans 3:21–25 (ESV)—21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
The person who realizes SIN and the need for God’s FORGIVENESS will STAND. Conversely, the person who is blind to sin and scoffs at forgiveness — but merely thinks God should accept everyone as is — will not be able to stand in God’s presence. And that forgiveness leads to fear.
This helps us understand “the fear of the Lord” as wonder, worship, and amazement at the Lord.
- Servile fear would have been diminished, not increased, by forgiveness, but we are instead in reverent awe of Him because of it.
- Think of Simon’s house: Luke 7:47 (ESV)—47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
The deeper you go into forgiveness, the deeper you’ll go into worship.
True grace does not embolden sin, but enlivens obedience.
- Titus 2:11 (ESV)—11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, Titus 2:14 (ESV)—14 (He) gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
The Pilgrim Waits For God — In Strong Hope (130:5-6)
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.
How to wait for the Lord:
- Daily — Proverbs 8:34 (ESV)—34 …watching daily at my gates…
- Expectantly — Moses went to Sinai with the tablets (Exodus 24:12, 14).
- Patiently after disaster — Like Noah after the flood.
- New Testament: For Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 9:28; 10:13, James 5:7, 2 Peter 3:12-14, Jude 21).
The grace of God invites you to wait for God in strong hope!
- Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)—31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
The waiting is necessary and important.
The Pilgrim Testifies Of God — Of His Love, Redemption, And Trustworthiness (130:7-8)
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.
Hope in Him — because He can redeem iniquities.
- The exodus was His nature, not His one-hit wonder.
- Every believer has had their share of redeemed iniquities.
- But the enemy loves to tell us we’re the only ones.
Hope in Him — because with Him is steadfast love.
- God is love — God eternally gives of Himself to others.
- Father to Son / Son to Father / Both to Spirit.
- So heaven is going to be this explosion of love like we’ve never experienced.
1 John 1:9 (ESV)—9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 2:1 (ESV)—1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Appeal: Release from burdens or shame.