1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8 It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
Summary— Guilt before the Judge is a deep pit—you can’t climb out; a sinful habit is deep quicksand—you can’t claw yourself out; discouragement about guilt and habitual sin is a deep ocean—you can’t stop sinking. So it’s from “the depths” that the psalmist cries to God (v.1). All he wants is to know that his cries reach God’s ears (v.2). Which, of course, would be pointless if God kept record of our sins—if He did that, which of us would be left standing? (v.3)—but God doesn’t keep record of our sins: He forgives us for Christ’s sake, and in response we feel grateful reverence (v.4). The psalmist wants to get to that place again, so he’s hoping in the promises and precedents of God’s Word (v.5) while waiting for Him more longingly than those who live through hellish nights wait for the morning (v.6). And the psalmist is not content to be alone in his hope: he calls on the whole nation to long for and hope in God as he does, knowing that God has love and redemption not only for him, but for all others also (v.7-8).
Insight— If your head’s just been under water, while ankle weights dragged you down, and you’d known that you couldn’t do a thing about it, and you’d cried out, sure that nobody could hear your cries under water, and if God has just reached down and plucked you out and set you on a rock, because He actually could hear you under water, well, then you’re feeling grateful reverence (v.4). If we don’t feel that way—if we don’t feel the reverence that comes of being rescued from an otherwise hopeless situation—it’s because we don’t grasp how nightmarishly terrifying our situation really was without God’s forgiveness.
Q: Why does God forgive?
A: So that He may be revered.
Discussion—What are some things that keep us from realizing how desperate a situation sin is, with the result that we do not feel the grateful reverence which overwhelms those who’ve just been rescued (v.4) from the depths (v.1)?
Out of the depths we cry to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear our voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
to the voice of our supplications!
If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
so that You may be revered.
We wait for You, our souls wait,
and in Your word we hope;
our souls wait for You
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O LORD, our family will hope in You!
For with You there is steadfast love,
and with You is great power to redeem.
It is You who will redeem our family
from all its iniquities. AMEN.
Contributed by Scott Cline