Psalm 130:1 – 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. (NIV)
There are a number of Psalms that are called ‘penitential psalms’. Psalm 130 is one of those psalms. The penitential psalms stress repentance and forgiveness of sins. Scholars also note that Psalm 130 was most likely one of the psalms that was written during the time of Babylonian captivity. Sin and captivity – the two are certainly related. The Jews believed that their sin as a people led to their captivity. Likewise, our sinful behavior will hold us captive, as well.
Out of their depth of captivity (verse 1), they cried out to the Lord. Whether we recognize it or not, this is humanity’s plea. Humanity’s search for fulfillment – which often leads to sin – can only be found in the one who can forgive sin. Our forgiveness can only be found in the one who, if we were left to stand upon our own merit, we could not stand before (verse 3).
The psalmist, speaking for those held captive, was waiting for the Lord (verse 6). The Good News is that our wait is over! In verse eight the psalmist looked forward to the time of redemption, and we know that that time has come, redemption has come through Jesus our Lord.
While this is a powerful psalm, I am drawn to verse four: “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” This verse speaks to the age old question of the relationship between works and forgiveness. We don’t work to receive forgiveness, for our sin does not deserve forgiveness. We work – we serve – because we are freely offered forgiveness! Verse four speaks to this – forgiveness is given and then we are free to serve. Our service to the Lord is our loving response to the free gift of salvation.
Today, let us give thanks and praises to the Lord who forgives! Let us thank God in tangible ways, as well – through loving service to our Lord.
Posted by Ramón Torres