In this sermon series entitled ‘Becoming Whole’ Brian is looking at Psalms 129 to 131 which form part of the Songs of Ascents sung by pilgrims on their way to worship God in Jerusalem.
These Psalms highlight three words which are deeply significant to us as followers of Jesus – sufferer, sinner and son/daughter.
In Psalm 129 we heard God speak to us as ‘Sufferers’ (see Deep Dive 5 March 2023).
In Psalm130 we come to the second of the words that describe us: ‘Sinners’.
The concept of being a sinner is not popular today. Rather we are encouraged to view ourselves as victims of our circumstances – even as Christians we may not readily acknowledge our sin. However, for all of us, our deepest need is to have our sins forgiven and to be restored to our loving Father.
Part One: Despair
At the beginning of the Psalm we see the author in despair because of his sin. Like David in Psalm 51 and Paul in Romans 7 the Psalmist recognises that he is in a hopeless situation, unable to stand against God’s judgement.
This recognition is the first step to addressing sin in our lives. We then have a choice with what to do with our hopelessness and guilt: we can turn away from God in shame, reject His authority or we can turn towards Him as the Psalmist does and cry to the Lord for mercy.
Part Two: Forgiveness
In verse 4 the Psalmist finds hope in God who is able to forgive sins.
Brian illustrated God’s forgiveness with the story of John Newton, a man who worked on slave ships and was known to be violently against God. During a terrible storm at sea as he pondered his impending doom and the greatness of his sins, he thought on the death of Jesus. He recollected Jesus’ death for the sins of others, put his trust in Him and was saved. Newton went on to write about his salvation in the much-loved hymn Amazing Grace.
Likewise, God’s mercy is greater than any of our sins. His heart is always to forgive if we come to Him.
How should we respond to being forgiven? The Psalmist tells us that we are forgiven so that we can serve.
Part Three: Waiting and Hoping
How should we serve the Lord? We are to serve God by waiting and hoping.
Being impatient, we often find waiting uncomfortable; however the Psalmist tells us how we can wait patiently on the Lord.
We can follow the example of the watchman and invest time in watching for God by:
- Searching His word intently
- Waiting in prayer
- Meditating on His past goodness to us
We are also to serve God by hoping in Him – not wishful thinking but an expectant, certain hope.
We hope in His word and in His promises. For example, Lamentations 3 tells us that God’s mercies come new every morning. We also hope in the person of Jesus who has broken through the sin and darkness in our lives.
Last week we saw Jesus present in our suffering. In Psalm 130 we see Him with us in our sin – providing redemption.
This Psalm is a journey from despair to hope for every sinner who seeks forgiveness.
- Where are you in Psalm 130? Are you yet trapped in the despair of sin? Or have you come to God for forgiveness? God has promised that He Himself will redeem us from all our sins.
- Have you reached the point where you are able to wait patiently for God? We can wait and trust because of the certain hope we have in Him.