Meditations on the Psalms #297

Psalm 130 Part 1

This psalm has the following pattern: The first two verses reveal an intense desire and supplication; and the next two are a joyful consolation. Vs5&6 is a trustful expectation; and vs7&8 a stirring expectation, both for the author and all Israel.

This song rises rapidly out of the depths of anguish to the heights of assurance. It could be called the “Out of the Depths Psalm.’ These are its opening words. Out of those depths we cry, wait, watch, and hope. It follows well upon Ps129; when we have overcome the trials, which arise from men, we are better prepared to meet those sharper sorrows which arise out of our matters towards God. He who has borne the scourges of the wicked is trained in all patience to wait upon the dealings of the Lord. In this Psalm we hear of the pearl of redemption, vs7-8: perhaps the musician would never have found that precious thing had he not been cast into the depths. Pearls lie deep. This psalm is a treasury of great comfort to all in distress.

Above the crashing waves rises the cry of faith. Prayer is never more real than when it rises out of the worst places. Deep places beget deep devotion. Depths of earnestness are stirred by depths of tribulation. The more distressed we are, the more excellent is the faith which bravely trusts in the Lord and therefore appeals to Him alone. The repeated pleas are a poetic device. 
While people experience depths of poverty, sorrow, confusion, and pain, the depth that the psalmist cried from here was the depth of the awareness and guilt of sin (v3). Many have been spiritually drowned in these depths.  ‘Lord, hear my voice’ he cries. This psalm is grouped with the penitential psalms. 

The meaning of v3 is that if the Lord should mark sin with a strict and severe eye, as a judge, to charge it upon the person sinning, no man could bear it. Who could stand such a trial, and who could stand acquitted in the judgement? His conclusion: there is forgiveness with God(v4). What a blessed phrase!  

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