Two questions to get you going:
How hard is it for you to admit that you are struggling (1 to 10)
How easy it is for you to wait? (1 to 10)
If it is difficult for you to admit that you struggle or hard for you to wait, then Psalm 130 may be for you!
Psalm 130 teaches us two things–we should be honest about our struggles and we should wait! Eugene Peterson writes about the two great realities of Psalm 130: suffering is real and God is real. “Suffering is a mark or our existential authenticity; God is proof of our essential and eternal humanity. We accept suffering; we believe in God.” 145
Verses 1 and 2 allow us to admit to a feeling of being overwhelmed. Reflect on the first phrase, out of the depths and examine Psalm 69:1-2 and 14-15 to get a better feel for the imagery here. More from Peterson:
We can face, acknowledge, and live through suffering because “we know it can never be ultimate, it can never constitute the bottom line. God is at the foundation and God is at the boundaries. God seeks the hurt, maimed, wandering, and lost. God woos the rebellious and confused.” Peterson 144
Question: What is currently overwhelming you? In what way are you suffering? Or the people with whom you serve?
The good thing about being overwhelmed—you become real and you don’t have to hide or deny. When we deny pain and suffering, we deny ourselves an encounter with reality. (Idea from Ivan Illich)
Verses 3 and 4 tells us that forgiveness is available. “The fact of forgiveness is not in doubt.” Peterson describes God as the forgiving God:
God is “One who forgives sin, who comes to those who wait and hope for him, who is characterized by steadfast love and plenteous redemption, . . . God makes a difference. God acts positively toward his people. God is not indifferent. He is not rejecting. He is not ambivalent or dilatory. He does not act arbitrarily, in fits and starts. He is not stingy, providing only for bare survival.” Peterson 143
Remember the following:
- No culpability, no sin
- If God kept a record, kept track of? Who could stand? Expected answer–NO ONE!
- The word guard or shamar is also used in v6–what is happening here?
- Now With Yahweh—forgiveness v4
- Fear follows forgiveness—reverence and implied relationship come with true fear of God
Verses 5 and 6 tells us what we are to do: We are to wait!
7 times the Psalmist tells us to wait
- I wait
- My soul waits
- In his word I wait (hope—yachal)
- My soul waits
- watchman (wait) for the morning,
- watchmen (wait) for the morning
Peterson helps us to understand what it means (and does not mean) to wait:
“Hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. It is not compelled to work away with a bogus spirituality. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying.” 147
“And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain. It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it his way and in his time.” 147
Verses 7 and 8 tells us why we can wait in two simple phrases
- With God—hesed—love, faithfulness, covenant keeping
- With God—abundant redemption—restoration
We wait. . .
He will redeem and restore
He will remove our sin, the guilt of our sin and even the consequences of our sin
Our suffering has boundaries and these boundaries are established by God!
Peterson writes, Psalm 130 does “not exhort us to put up with suffering; it does not explain it or explain it away. It is rather a powerful demonstration that our place in the depths is not out of bounds from God. . . We are persuaded that God’s way with us is redemption and that redemption, not the suffering is ultimate.” 148
What struggles do you need to admit today?
What will waiting on God mean for you today?
- not sending that email or text message?
- keep showing up?
- not responding in kind?
- letting go of something you have been holding onto?
- being quiet and allowing God to show you that he cares, he forgives and that he will redeem your situation. Remember, there are boundaries that he has established.