|Mercy Street Church of Christ
Psalm 130 is a profound prayer of repentance.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
2 O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.
Mankind’s relationship with God was broken by Adam and Eve’s sinful disobedience, and through the atoning death of Jesus and his resurrection, sin-ridden humanity was reconciled to God. Through the shedding of his blood, Jesus removed our condemnation and offered us forgiveness. Yet God calls us to repent of the personal sins and offenses that we commit and that separate us from him.
The fullest meaning of repentance involves a dual choice: to turn away from sin and to turn toward God. When we repent, moved by sorrow and remorse, we show not only a change of heart, mind, and behavior, but a fidelity to God and the desire and intention to set aside sin and live by his commandments and standards. God’s forgiveness is inseparably linked with our repentance: “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This forgiveness brings to fullness in us the work of transformation and healing begun by our repentance.
The Book of Psalms gives us profound words in which to acknowledge our sin before God as well as a way to express the confidence and joy of knowing his steadfast love and forgiveness. Seven psalms are particularly expressive of sorrow for sin (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143) and have been designated by tradition since the sixth century as “penitential psalms” or “psalms of confession.” Among them is Psalm 130, called in Latin the De Profundis for its opening words, “Out of the depths.” A heartfelt request for pardon and mercy, it is prayed at funerals.
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