Semi Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford
STUDY IN THE ASCENT PSALMS
We are heading into the HOME STRETCH! Today is Study #11 of our insights into the “Ascent Psalms” – Psalms 120-134!
Each one is unique, an individual, one of a kind. A visual of a pilgrim’s journey – like YOURS!
OUR THEME VERSE
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. (Psalm 84:5 NKJV). This is a short verse – have you learned it yet?
BUT FIRST, A COMMERCIAL !!!
Make that, TWO Commercials!
(Is a commercial allowed, Dr. Becker?)
COMMERCIAL #1: Have you BOUGHT the book?
“Saving Jesus – the unique story of the wise men”
AND the hero doesn’t have a name very similar to mine !!!
Get to Amazon and get your copy – why, I bought THREE – and have given 2 away!
COMMERCIAL #2: NEXT WEEK’S LESSON IS PSALM 131
Did you remember that is my FAVORITE passage in the whole Bible?
Please READ IT this week!
TODAY WE ARE IN PSALM 130
Psalm 130 New King James Version (NKJV)
Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord
A Song of Ascents.
1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
8 And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.
TITLE AND OUTLINE OF PSALM 130 (Dr. W. Graham Scroggie)
TITLE: “De Profundis !!!”
#1. Waiting ON the Lord (vs. 1-4)
A. Earnest Supplication (vs. 1-2)
B. Joyful Consolation (vs. 3-4)
#2. Waiting FOR the Lord (vs. 5-8)
A. Trustful Expectation (vs. 5-6)
B. Stirring Exhortation (vs. 7-8)
SOME INTERESTING INSIGHTS
I had an extra challenge this week! Brother Scroggie entitled this psalm “De Profundis!”. Did you know that Oscar Wilde wrote a book by that name? So what does it mean? According to the dictionary, it means “a heartfelt cry of appeal expressing deep feelings of sorrow or anguish.” THEN to my surprise, it continues “and the ‘De Profundis’ prayer in the Bible is Psalm 130”. So here we go!
The psalmist raises an interesting question in verse 1 – “Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord”. Where do you think he was in life when he prayed such an extreme prayer? Where would you or I be? To be honest, my simplistic prayer usually is, “Father, thank you for a new day. I give the day to you. Bless [whatever I’m looking forward to, or whatever a family member or friend is looking forward to]. Amen”.
I don’t think this kind of prayer of our unnamed psalmist is the “norm” for most of us – but it doesn’t HAVE to be! It is letting us know that WHAT we might pray and WHAT our heart REALLY feels, may be two different things! And that it is OK to “CUT LOOSE” before the Lord.
Matthew 6:8 reminds us, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Paul adds in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
So IF the Father knows our hearts, AND the Spirit knows our hearts, what is the point in this psalm? A little phrase which says, “OUT OF THE DEPTHS” !!! Wow! That phrase sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Who else prayed “out of the depths”? Who? Listen to his INDEPTH [little play on words, eh Dr. Becker?] insight, from, of course, Jonah 2:
1“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly.
2 And he said:
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction,
And He answered me.
“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
And You heard my voice.
3 For You cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the floods surrounded me;
All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.”
Well, perhaps Jonah is teaching us that one does NOT have to go into the BELLY of the great fish to qualify to have an heartfelt prayer with the Lord! What he IS teaching us is that we can pray anywhere, anytime, regardless of the words or the hurt.
[For you studious ones, there is ONE time when our prayer needs to be preceded by repentance:
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” (Psalm 66:18)]
The Lord loves to receive by His ear the hurts of His children! The Spirit loves to help in putting to voice – EVEN if the voice is never uttered by word! – the concerns of the Father’s children.
Even “out of the depths”.
One more quick thought about this psalm. Did you notice that in verse 5 and the first part of verse 6, THREE TIMES the psalmist says that “he waits”:
“I WAIT for the Lord, MY SOUL WAITS,
And in His word I do hope.
MY SOUL WAITS for the Lord…”
OK, let’s be honest here. How well do you and I REALLY love to “WAIT”???
Been in a line at Walmart, especially just before Thanksgiving or before Christmas?
Been in a line at the traffic light?
Been someWHERE when you need to be elseWHERE 5 minutes ago?
So what does the psalmist DO while he is WAITING for the Lord to act?
The rest of verse 5 says, “And in His word I do hope.” “IN HIS WORD I DO HOPE!” Did we catch that?
I knew of a missionary friend, ministering among the Guanano Indians, who ultimately was martyred for his faith by Colombian rebels down in Colombia many years ago. Tim VanDyke LOVED the Lord, he LOVED to share his faith. And the testimony that came back after his martyrdom was WHAT? That while he and his co-worker were dwelling among their captors, what did they DO? They SHARED the Word of God in the hopes that their captors would be…SAVED! Tim and Steve HOPED in the Word of God! Yes, they, too were both “in the depths”. And while waiting upon the Lord to get them OUT of the depths, they HOPED that the Word of God would not only be THEIR hope, but it would also be the HOPE of their captors! Wow! The Great Faith chapter says of Tim and Steve, “of whom the world was not worthy”.
Look at the last two verses. How would YOU have finished a prayer from “out of the depths” of the despair or situation that the Lord allowed YOU to be in?
Our unnamed psalmist prayed for ISRAEL! He prayed for their:
HOPE in the Lord
MERCY in the Lord
ABUNDANT REDEMPTION in the Lord
REDEMPTION from all their iniquities!
The psalmist did NOT end his prayer praying for himself! He prayed for his country, his beloved Israel! In one sense, in praying for Israel, he was praying for the preparation of his nation for the future coming of the Messiah. But he was also praying for the hearts of the people of his land: that they would know the HOPE, MERCY, and REDEMPTION of the Lord!
Is that OUR prayer for the LAND in which the Lord has wisely put each of US?
Why not while IN the depths, and while an answer is not visible before us, let us remember to pray for an ENTIRE NATION that it, too, would be surrendering to the Lord’s amazing HOPE, MERCY, and REDEMPTION!
Will you pray for your land today?