“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 please 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.”
As we look at this Psalm, I would like us to focus on the desperate
cry for mercy. The Psalm begins with a picture of the psalmist crying
out from the depths. In verse 1 we read, “Out of the depths I cry to
you, O Lord!” It is clear the psalmist is in a desperate condition. He
describes himself as being in the depths, a picture of himself
submerged in water. The waters are deep, too deep for him to stand. He
is unable to keep his head above the waters.
It seems that this desperate condition of the psalmist is based on a
recognition of the depths of his sin. Look down at verse 3 & we
read this, “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who should
stand?” It seems as though the reality of the exceeding sinfulness of
his sin is overwhelming him. He is being engulfed, as it were, by the
waters of his sin. In this desperate condition, he is unable to
do anything—anything other than to cry out for help. He looks to the
Lord here. He cries to the Lord, he pleads to the Lord for mercy.
Because he knows that, “with you there is forgiveness” (v. 4).
Therefore, despite this desperate condition the psalmist is in, he
has hope. His hope is in the Lord. And because he has hope, he is able
to wait. To wait upon the Lord. To wait with a confident hope, like
the confidence of a watchman waiting for the morning (v. 5). The
watchman knows the morning will come and the sun will rise.
So too, we can have confidence in our Savior, our Hope, Jesus Christ.
For with the Lord there is steadfast love and plentiful righteousness.
We have the hope of being redeemed from all our iniquities (v. 6 &
7). This is a redemption that is based on the work of Christ on the
cross. For his steadfast love is demonstrated, in a way, to sinners by
his death, redeeming us from our sins. The penalty of our sin has been
paid. Because of that, we have confidence in Christ. A greater
confidence than any watchman who is waiting for the sun to rise in the
morning. For we know that Christ is faithful, because He has promised us
that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
So, no matter how deep in sin we may feel, no matter how sorrowful we
are because of our sin, we can cry out to the Lord for his help. We
can plead to him for his mercy. Because we know that there is
forgiveness with the Lord. Christ will forgive. He will forgive by his
I hope this Psalm provides us a wonderful reminder of God’s mercy to
sinners. With that, I hope it gives us an encouragement to cry out to
God for forgiveness of sin, spurred on by our hope in Christ. We see
that God’s ear is attentive to our cries for mercy. We see that God is
ready to hear our cry and meet our greatest need, the one for
forgiveness for sin.
As we pray, I suggest this Psalm should also give us confidence to
pray to God for help for all of our needs. Paul argued from the greater
to the lesser in Romans 8:32 by saying, “He who did not spare his own
Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously
give us all things?” In the same way, we know that God is a gracious
God, He is a merciful God, and He is a God Who is ready to hear all of
our prayers. He hears our desperate pleas for mercy and help, our
prayers for forgiveness for sin, but also all of our prayers for help in
times when we may feel like we may be in the depths of despair caused
by severe trials, by intense suffering, or by other burdens we may be
bearing that seem to threaten to overwhelm us. I hope that this Psalm
will help us to remember to cry out to the Lord and that He is a