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).
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.
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
10 February 2011