This psalm is one of a group of fifteen which are called the ‘Songs of degrees’. The 19th Century preacher Mr. Spurgeon said that they could also be called ‘The Songs of the Goings Up’ as it is certain that they were sung by Jewish pilgrims as they made their journey up to the temple. In these fifteen psalms selected truths are highlighted. This highlights the issues that God thought were important for his people to attend to if they were to know his presence and his blessing on their arrival.
Psalm 130 is the eleventh of these psalms and it draws our attention to the need for forgiveness and redemption before approaching God. Our situation is no different today. If we are going to know the presence of God when we gather as believers we need to make sure that our personal sins have been dealt with.
In verses 1 & 2 the psalmist hits rock bottom and was crying to God. Likewise, we tend to ignore the damage that sin is doing in our lives until things become extreme and we have a problem. Ephesians 4. 22-32 is a good template we can use to deal with any known sins in our lives before we ‘hit the bottom’.
The psalmist’s knowledge of the character of God is seen in verses 3 & 4. He knows that if God held our sins against us no one would survive his judgment. God has the ability and capacity to keep a record of our sins and He has the right to judge us in light of how we have lived. There are many passages that support this fact, 2 Cor. 5. 10, Rev. 2 & 3 & Rev. 20. 12, 13.
Thankfully God is characterised by grace. He loves to forgive and does this righteously because of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. God acts like this so that we might live in His presence, revering and loving him. Our sins would eternally bar us from that privilege if He was not a forgiving God.
To experience this forgiveness, we need to come into His presence, verses 5 & 6. We need to wait for the LORD. We need to rest on what His Word says as God cannot lie and always behaves in line with His Word. The need to do this is so strong that the psalmist describes twice within one verse this urge to wait on God. This desire is stronger than that of the insomniac who is longing for the morning to come. The writer longed for the presence of God, do I?
I am sure that the Psalmist didn’t know how far his nation, Israel, would depart from God. He would have had no idea that their national sins and idolatry condemn them to exile in Assyria and Babylon. In verse 7 he stresses that his nation must ‘hope in the LORD’. They need to rest with confidence in what the LORD can do. The title LORD is the name Jehovah, the one who keeps His word and is unchanging.
The LORD is the only answer to all their present and future problems. You might ask, why the LORD? The answer is that the LORD is loving and kind and with Him is abundant redemption. The LORD will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. No matter how far that nation would go the LORD had a place in His heart for them. His love and kindness will reach them. He has the ability and desire to clear their guilt and pay the debt that they owe Him. That is what is mean by the statement ‘with Him is abundant redemption’ & ‘He shall redeem Israel from all their iniquities’. In Daniel 9. 24-27 we learn that all of Israel’s transgressions, sins and iniquities would be dealt with on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise God, that those who trust the Lord Jesus today come into the same blessings that Israel will enjoy in the future, 1 John 1. 7-10.