Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
    O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
    from all his iniquities. – Psalm 130:1-8

We all have some little prayers and then we have some BIG prayers. Little prayers are for things like: Help me get a good score on my final exam, or give me traveling mercies plus (this is a bit of a joke between my wife and me, traveling mercies means arriving at our destination without any mishaps, the “plus” part means we get a great parking spot right in front of the store we are heading for. This obviously belongs to the little prayer category).

The BIG prayer category includes things like, “Lord, raise up laborers to work in the harvest of an unengaged, unreached people group,” or “heal my friend of stage 4 cancer,” or “grant boldness and perseverance in the face of persecution for the church in China.” These prayers have more weight than whether or not I get a good grade on an exam or get a good parking spot at the mall. Don’t misunderstand my intent. I don’t mean to imply that little prayers are less important to God and get less attention. Not at all!

The structure of this Psalm begins with verses 1-4 referencing God’s mercy and acknowledging our desperate need for it. Verses 5-6 emphasize our need to wait on the Lord, something that is foreign to most of us in the Western world. We are used to instant gratification, results without waiting. But BIG prayers usually require waiting. Bummer. Actually, it is a good thing that we have to wait on the Lord. Lots of growth and development take place as we wait. The Holy Spirit has time to dig deep in our hearts and reveal our sin we didn’t know was there. When we don’t know it is there, how do we repent? Waiting is good.

Finally, verses 7-8 establish our hope while we wait on the Lord. For us to get the full benefit of this Psalm, as Gentiles (i know most of you reading this are Gentiles like me) we need to have a full orbed definition of Israel. The original Psalm had immediate reference to the descendants of Jacob or Israel. However, Israel is also other than physical descendants of Jacob. Paul says that “not all Israel are Israel” meaning that true Israel are people of faith and not just physical descendants. We Gentiles enter the category by faith as we are grafted in to the root of Israel through faith in Jesus Christ. So, we who have trusted Jesus Christ and his finished work are Israel and have claim to the hope if Israel.

We are commanded to hope in the Lord for…the word “for” tells us the text that follows reveals the foundation of the expectation of hope. In this case it is two-fold.

  1. With the Lord is steadfast love
  2. With him is plentiful redemption

The foundation of hope is the character of God revealed as his steadfast love and his plentiful redemption. Those of you who have been following my writing know that the term steadfast love comes from the Hebrew HESED, one of my favorite words in the Bible. To get a better feel of these two terms, here are some other translations of this verse from several translations.

Steadfast love, mercy, faithful love, lovingkindness, loyal love, kindness, unfailing love.

Plentiful redemption, redemption in abundance, abundant redemption, more than willing to deliver, his redemption overflows, full redemption, full salvation.

Following this proclamation of God’s character is the stated declaration that God will redeem Israel (all people of faith in Jesus Christ) from all of our iniquities. No question about it. As the old saying goes, “God said it, I believe it, that makes it so!” I don’t mean to be trite about it, but it really is that simple.

So, when we are praying our BIG prayers and we are required to wait on God, never lose sight of the foundation of our hope. We are in a real fight and there are real winners and losers. Spiritual warfare is more real than physical warfare although the two are very much connected. The end of unengaged unreached people groups hangs in the balance of our participation in spiritual warfare on their behalf as does the end of many other people in need of God’s abundant redemption. Because God is sovereign and has control over all things that we can pray our supplications, knock and keep on knocking, and trust him for the outpouring of his sovereign grace.

Our hope is his steadfast love and abundant redemption.