Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
2 O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
These verses could have been penned by Jonah from the belly of the whale, who took Jonah literally to great depths! But who has not at least once or twice in their lifetimes, found themselves in the depths of despair over a situation or circumstance that was so hard, so unexpected, and so painful that it made you wonder: God, where are you? One or two of you may be in those depths right now: your depression has deepened with the added burdens that are yours from COVID-19. Do then, what this psalmist does: Cry out to the Lord for mercy! Mercy here means more than love; it means relief from pain.
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
In this quatrain, we are given a hint that this writer’s despair was brought about by his own sin. Serious sin causes a feeling of desperate separation from God. God has not moved from you. You have moved from Him. Sinners often make the mistake of staring at the mess they’ve made instead of looking up to God for forgiveness. Friends, sin leads to spiritual death. It is serious. Confess and repent. But, for every look at sin, take ten looks at the Savior.
Here is what Robert Murray McCheyne wrote:
For every look at self—take ten looks at Christ! Live near to Jesus—and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.
How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are at this moment hidden in the deep recesses of the ocean caves. Likewise, unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again—you will never come to the bottom of these depths!
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
I simply love these verses! I call them my verses to wait by. God’s grace is an inexhaustible store. If you are carrying the load of sin and shame on your back, confess your sin to the Lord, and if ongoing, get help from another, and then together, cast that sin into the depths of the sea of God’s mercy.
“He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. The Lord will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19.
If you are carrying a load of grief or pain, whether from your own making or by divine permission, know that the Lord is carrying the heavier end of the cross you are bearing just now. And now, look at this promise in the concluding verses.
7 O Israel [daughter of Zion], hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And He will redeem Israel [you]
from all your iniquities [and missteps].
PLENTEOUS REDEMPTION are two of my favorite words in all of Scripture. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. All things (even hard, prolonged and very painful things) work together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. God will redeem you from all your iniquities, missteps, and afflictions. You get there by maintaining “hope in the Lord” remembering that with the Lord there is always “steadfast love.” One who knows this truth deeply and well wrote this: “Sometimes God allows what He hates to achieve what He loves.” Joni Earekson Tada.
Keep looking up, keep looking out, keep handing others the cup of salvation, and keep hoping in the Lord. This difficulty shall pass, and by God’s grace, there will be silver linings,