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Today’s Psalm, Psalm 130, is a beauty, and I don’t want anyone who is interested to miss out on this treasure. I think maybe this is my favorite one so far. In case you’re just now “tuning in”, I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s study on the Psalms of Ascent, Stepping Up, and taking the opportunity to re-write, in my own words each psalm we’ve studied.
Here’s the original text of
“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 or 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.”
Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on in this psalm. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!” It sounds to me like the psalmist has dug his own little pit, and there he sits, down in that pit, realizing exactly where he is, and the total impossibility of his situation. You know, when you’re in a pit, it’s a pretty isolating experience. Think Joseph, in the nice deep pit where his brothers wanted to leave him for dead (till brother Judah sorta kinda came to his almost rescue… only to SELL him to some slave buying Midianites… Sheesh… with brothers like that….)
You ever been in a pit? There are many kinds of pits: some more comfy than others, but, pardon the inevitable pun, they’re just the pits. I’ve been there. Maybe somehow all your lovely props have been knocked out from under you – you used to think you knew what God had called you to do with your life, but suddenly, everything has changed. Maybe you find yourself stuck in the same old sin pattern that you THOUGHT you were making progress with… but no, there you go again… Maybe your health has taken a cross-country hike and left you behind in the dust. Maybe you’ve lost a child or a parent. Maybe you feel totally isolated because you’re a home schooling Mom, and adult company just doesn’t happen with the regularity you feel you need, and that leaves you feeling isolated.
Pits by their very nature leave us feeling isolated, and when we are isolated, I think the enemy is just licking his chops. You know how wolves hunt, right? They pick off the vulnerable prey, and isolate them from the flock. Isolation is NOT good for us.
But God loves us so much, he even shows up right there IN our pit. Even when we think we don’t WANT Him! He is Immanuel. God WITH us. There in the pit.
“Out of the depths, I call to You, Lord!”
Can I just tell you what a blessing it has been to me to be in this Beth Moore study with the fabulous group of women who attend my church? I’m not so ISOLATED anymore! Our group meets one morning a week in my dear sister in the Lord’s home, so it’s not an officially sanctioned church thing. But let me tell you, it’s a God ordained thing. Women are getting prayed for and loved on there. And I just thought I would mention, if any of you have toyed with the idea of doing such a thing in your own home, maybe this is the Lord nudging you to be a lifeline, to help some other friends you might have, to climb out of their pits as well. It doesn’t have to be a church sponsored event. It doesn’t even have to be women from your church. We ordered our materials through our church to take advantage of the church’s discount, but other than that, we’re just a group of women seeking the Lord together, praying for each other, and enjoying sweet fellowship, and a little time out of the pit.
Enough time on the first verse. Oh, this psalm has so much more, but I’m sure you’re growing weary of reading, so let me just touch on a few more things.
“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.”
Do you hear the expectation in the psalmist’s voice as he tells of how he is waiting and watching for the Lord? On what does he base this confident expectation? “IN HIS WORD I put my hope.” Put another way: His Word trumps our feelings. WHATEVER you might be feeling, what does His Word say? If God has said something in His Word, you can bank on it. Period.
“O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.”
Unfailing love. Can you hear that?
My love is weak. My love fails. My love grows impatient, becomes exhausted, throws up its hands in the air and gives up in despair. But God’s love for me NEVER FAILS. Oh, I could just stay there forever. His love is a love that will not let go.
And what kind of redemption does He offer? Full redemption. He buys me back lock, stock, and barrel. The good and the bad. And even the bad, he redeems so completely that in His skilled hands, it becomes the very thing that He turns around and uses for good. What can we say in response to so great a love, so complete a redemption.
My friend Diane brought to my mind an old hymn I used to sing in church by John Wesley, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul”. And all morning the words to one of the later verses have been going through my mind. Here they are:
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art
Freely let me take of Thee:
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity!
Plenteous grace! Full redemption! Thank You, Jesus, for those sweet gulps of living water that you provide, new every morning.
My Version of Psalm 130
As a somewhat anti-climax, here’s my version of Psalm 130, reworded just for me, applied to my own little life’s circumstances:
Out of the hole I dug myself by my own sin,
I cry out to You, Lord!
Lord, please listen to me!
Hear my cry for help!
Lord if You were constantly keeping a record of all our sins
who could stand?
But with You, there is forgiveness.
What other response is there but to honor You?
I’m waiting for You, Lord.
I’m putting my hope in the words You have spoken.
My soul is watching for You
more eagerly than a watchman scans the horizon,
watching for the dawn’s first light.
All God’s people – put your hope in our Covenant Maker and Keeper
for with Him is love that won’t let go
and total, complete redemption
He Himself will redeem His people from all their sins.
Where would I be without that love that won’t let go?