For this first Lord’s Day in March we focus on Psalm 130 for our worship preparation of the one, true Triune God, our Father in Jesus Christ. This is the eleventh “song of ascents”, another part of those songs the pilgrim saints sang as they sojourned “up” to Jerusalem for her special worship services. Let’s put this Word of God before us so that we may meditate on it and pray from it as we go up to God’s house today:
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3 If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7 Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him isplenteous redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
We sense right away that this is a crucial song for spiritual pilgrims to sing as they come before God in worship. This is a song of confession of sin and it is a song of confidence in a merciful, forgiving Lord. As such it is fitting for our special services too, such as holy communion or preparatory.
Yet, Psalm 130 is a song that we must sing (and pray!) every time we prepare to enter the Lord’s house and every time we stand before the holy and righteous God. For we are sinners, objectively, according to the law and testimony of the supreme Judge of heaven and earth. Not one of us is righteous, no, not one. Not one of us has done good. We are guilty, vile, rebellious people, and proud of it too. And therefore, not one of us fears God and desires to give Him one ounce of thanks and praise. Not one of us is worthy to or seeks to enter God’s presence and worship Him (Go back and read Psalm 14 again, and then Romans 1:18ff., and chaps. 2-3). All we deserve is God’s condemning wrath and fierce, everlasting judgment: “Depart from Me and go to hell!” Yes, He is the only One Who may say that.
But knowing this truth of God’s Word objectively, we must confess this subjectively. With repentant hearts and cleansed mouths (by God’s sovereign grace and Spirit alone!) we must personally acknowledge God’s righteous judgment of ourselves and confess “out of the depths” with a sincere cry, “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” Indeed, looking at ourselves in the light of God’s law again today, who of us can stand before the Holy One?! He knows your sin and mine. He sees far more than you or I see. And only one of our vile sins is worthy to banish me from His presence.
What hope do we have then?! What are we doing taking one step toward Jerusalem and the house of God?! Why start a pilgrimage to the holy city of God?! If we go and appear before this God, we are only damned and doomed!
O, no, fellow confessing sinners, get up and get going to Zion, for we have hope! Don’t stop your reading of Psalm 130 at v.3. Go on to the gospel in vss.4-8! In fact, there was hope expressed already in vss. 1-3 in the name of God the psalmist used: “LORD” – Jehovah God, the faithful, covenant-making, covenant-keeping God! The God of our salvation in Jesus Christ, the Mediator and Redeemer of the covenant! The Lord Who gave the Lamb slain for us sinners! The Lamb Who bore our sins, our curse, our wrath, our hell and took it all away! The Lord of boundless and endless mercy!
That’s why there is forgiveness with Him! Full pardon for guilty, putrid, proud sinners such as ourselves. Full dismissal of all charges against us stiff-necked, law-breaking rebels! Full removal of all stains of guilt and corruption! And perfect righteousness and holiness in the place of these filthy rags besides. O, wonderful God and wonderful gift! Blessed Lamb of God!
What shall we do then, as we prepare for worship? Wait for this Lord, v.5-6. Hope in this God of mercy, v.7. For, yes, He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. We know that and can sing that because He has redeemed Israel. That’s Calvary. The proof is in the empty tomb, which we commemorate every Lord’s Day. Christ is risen and we are redeemed! Hallelujah! Get up and get going to Zion, pilgrims! The Lord of mercy waits to receive us and our praise-giving thanks!
If you wish to meditate on Psalm 130 through the music of the Psalter, I encourage you to make use of this versification, Ps.#363. Below are the lyrics; at the link is piano accompaniment for you to use in singing these words.
1. From the depths do I invoke Thee,
Lord, to me incline Thy ear;
To my voice be Thou attentive,
And my supplication hear.
2. Lord, if Thou shouldst mark transgressions,
In Thy presence who shall stand?
But with Thee there is forgiveness,
That Thy Name may fear command.
3. For Jehovah I am waiting,
And my hope is in His word,
In His word of promise given;
Yea, my soul waits for the Lord.
4. For the Lord my soul is waiting
More than watchers in the night,
More than they for morning watching,
Watching for the morning light.
5. Hope in God, ye waiting people;
Mercies great with Him abound;
With the Lord a full redemption
From the guilt of sin is found.