17 August 2020
I WILL REMEMBER THE DEEDS OF THE LORD; YES, I WILL REMEMBER YOUR MIRACLES OF LONG AGO. I WILL MEDITATE ON ALL YOUR WORKS AND CONSIDER ALL YOUR MIGHTY DEEDS. (Psalm 77: 11 – 12)
PSALM 130 – A SONG OF ASCENTS.
OUT OF THE DEPTHS I CRY TO YOU, O LORD; O LORD, HEAR MY VOICE. LET YOUR EARS BE ATTENTIVE TO MY CRY FOR MERCY. IF YOU, O LORD, KEPT A RECORD OF SINS, O LORD, WHO COULD STAND? BUT WITH YOU THERE IS FORGIVENESS; THEREFORE YOU ARE FEARED. I WAIT FOR THE LORD, MY SOUL WAITS, AND IN HIS WORD I PUT MY HOPE. MY SOUL WAITS FOR THE LORD MORE THAN WATCHMEN WAIT FOR THE MORNING, MORE THAN WATCHMEN WAIT FOR THE MORNING. O ISRAEL, PUT YOUR HOPE IN THE LORD, FOR WITH THE LORD IS UNFAILING LOVE AND WITH HIM IS FULL REDEMPTION. HE HIMSELF WILL REDEEM ISRAEL FROM ALL THEIR SINS.
Psalm 130 is a psalm of TRUST, expressing sorrow for sin and asking for God’s forgiveness. Martin Luther called this psalm – and three more (Psalms 32, 51, 143) – “Pauline psalms”, because of their special focus on faith and forgiveness. He said that these were his favourite psalms for, in his own words: – They teach us that the forgiveness of sins is granted without the law and without works. Psalm 130 begins low, as any of the Psalms of Ascents do. It is often called by its Latin name, “De Profundis” which literally means “from the depths”. Charles Spurgeon said about it: –It may start low, certainly it does rise rapidly out of the depths of anguish to the heights of assurance. It is a tiny Gospel, announcing the truths which men in every age need to know. The psalm is a call for help, a cry for forgiveness, and it is all about waiting for the Lord in HOPE.
WAITING. No one likes to wait, and yet life is full of waiting. Waiting to see loved ones, waiting on messages, and answers to questions. Waiting on medical test results and waiting on vaccines and an end to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Waiting … Psalm 130 is a psalm about waiting. As I mentioned earlier it is one of the psalms of TRUST, and yet it almost begins as a psalm of trouble, a CRY to the Lord from a place of deep pain and distress. But the focus is not on waiting through pain. It is about waiting in HOPE, which is what makes it one of the PSALMS OF TRUST. The world around us lacks PATIENCE. Psalm 130 has a simple yet profound message for us today. Those who wait for the Lord wait in hope. We do not wait in desperation or despair. The psalm tells us three things about waiting on the Lord: – Cry to the Lord for mercy, wait for the Lord expectantly, and put your hope in the Lord.
Let us MEDITATE on these today:
A – CRY TO THE LORD FOR MERCY (verses 1-4)
Out of the depths: The depths here portray a place deep beneath the surface. Jonah cried out a similar prayer from the belly of the fish when he was actually in the depths of the sea: – In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. (Jonah 2: 2). Depths here represent when we hit rock bottom and realize we can not fix this on our own. So, we cry out to God for mercy. Do not stop praying when you are in “depths”. You need to be praying more than ever. God is still there. When you cry out to Him from the depths, He will hear you.
If God kept a record of sins: The truth of the matter is none of us can stand before God in our sin. In fact, this is the deepest depth of them all. There is no alternative, we need to cry out to God for mercy. We have to be like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable: – But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, – “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18: 13). The Psalms of Ascents are all about drawing closer to God, and the more aware we become of the depths of our sin, the more is our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Forgiveness and fear: Divine forgiveness is an act of God’s mercy that removes the record of sin that stood against us. The Lord is compassionate and gracious … He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities … as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103: 8-12). There is fear on both sides of forgiveness. Forgiveness relates to fear of God in such a way that leads us to greater worship and reverence of God. In Luke 7: 36- 50 we read about “Jesus anointed by a Sinful Woman”: – Then he (Jesus) turned toward the woman and said to Simon:- “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little”… Jesus said to the woman: – “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”. (verses 44-47, 50)
B – WAIT FOR THE LORD EXPECTANTLY (verse 5-6)
Our hope is in God’s Word: Trust all God’s promises to you in the Bible. Claim God’s promises in Christ and pray. When you put your hope in the Lord and in His Word, you may wait for the Lord’s answer expectantly. You will be able to pray like David did: – In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5: 3).
More than watchmen wait for the morning: The psalmist’s hope is in God’s Word. His hope is in God’s promise to rescue and deliver him. He is like the watchman. The night is real, the night is dark, and the night is long, but he has no doubt that the morning will come, and so he waits expectantly. The multiple repetitions of the word wait, and even the repetition of the whole phrase: – more than watchmen wait for the morning, – is poetical, to increase the sense of longing and expectation already built into the psalm.
C – PUT YOUR HOPE IN THE LORD (verses 7-8)
With the Lord is unfailing love: Psalm 86: 15 says: – But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. We should never forget that God is ever faithful to His Covenant in Christ, faithful to His People, unfailing in His Love. Remember, the Bible explains itself.
With the Lord is full redemption: In Ephesians 1: 7 Paul says: – In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace … We can never out-sin God’s grace, because we are never out of God’s reach or redemption. As the Bible says in Romans 5: 20 – … where sin increased, grace increased all the more …
The Lord Himself will redeem us from all our sins: God’s angel told Joseph: – She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1: 21). JESUS is the Greek form of JOSHUA, which means: – THE LORD SAVES. –Therefore: – Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases ….. who crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103: 2-5)
The Christian Message is a message of HOPE. When we cry out to the Lord for mercy, He will hear and will answer. God is attentive to our prayers. Life may be full of waiting, but God will never disappoint us. Remember, with the Lord is unfailing love and with the Lord is full redemption. As sure as the morning is coming, He comes to rescue us.
No matter how bad our situation may be, no matter how deep the pit, God’s love is even deeper, and he will rescue us from out of the depths. WAIT, then, ON THE LORD IN HOPE.
LET US PRAY FOR:
HOPE in the promises of our Saviour, that He will save us from the depths of sin, trouble, Pandemic. -PATIENCE, to wait for the miracle of God’s forgiveness , mercy and grace. – REDEMPTION in Christ Jesus, our Saviour. – THE WORLD in turmoil around us. – THE PEOPLE OF BEIRUT, in the catastrophe that fell upon them. – CHRISTIANS, AND PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS OR NONE, as we all wait, and hope, and pray for HELP. – THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH UNIVERSAL in all its branches. – THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND, in all its Presbyteries and Congregations. – OUR CHURCH, as we plan to re-open it for worship. – OUR LOVED ONES, wherever they are, and for all our spoken and unspoken prayers attached to this prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour… Amen
THE LORD’S PRAYER: – OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN …
O GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home!
Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defence is sure.
Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame, from everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same.
A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone; short as the watch that ends a night before the rising sun.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.
O, God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, be Thou our guard while troubles last, and our eternal home.
THE LORD IS GOOD TO THOSE WHOSE HOPE IS IN HIM, TO THE ONE WHO SEEKS HIM; IT IS GOOD TO WAIT QUIETLY FOR THE SALVATION OF THE LORD. (Lamentations 3: 25-26)
Sandor, your Minister.