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Psalm 130 – Out of the Depths


The psalmist prays for help "out of the depths" and reminds Israel to hope in God's steadfast love.


This is a lament psalm in which the pray-er cries out of the "depths" of human need--including probably some particular present trouble, but also the recognition that no people can "stand" before God without peril because of the reality of human sin. The only hope--a great hope!--lies in God's readiness to forgive (v. 4).

God's forgiving and redeeming love makes the psalmist able to wait in hope for the answer to prayer (v. 5). All waiting is not hopeful, of course, but it can be here because of the poet's firm trust in God. This "hopeful waiting," encouraged in the Old Testament (see also Psalm 39:7; Isaiah 8:17; 51:5), is echoed by Paul (Romans 8:25; Galatians 5:5); it is another way to speak of living in faith.

The psalm ends by turning from petition to proclamation, assuring the hearer, then and now, of God's steadfast love and power to redeem (v. 7).

Psalm 130

Waiting for Divine Redemption

A Song of Ascents.
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.

Psalm 130

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