Summary: God has a generous supply of forgiveness and healing.
Iliff and Saltillo UM churches
Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 17, 2002
INTRODUCTION: Psalm 130 is one of seven Penitential Psalms consisting of confession of sin, repentance, and a desire to return to God. Five of the seven were written by David. This one is said to be written by Hezekiah and one other one, Psalm 102, the author is unknown. This week you might want to compare these seven Psalms to see in what ways they are similar. They are not grouped in a particular section of the Psalms but rather are scattered throughout. The Penitential Psalms are:
6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143
Probably the most well known one is Psalm 51 in which David prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” (verse 10). What these seven Psalms all have in common is that they are individual Psalms. A person who is in dire need of help from God is calling out to God in faith to help and that trust is very evident in each one of these Psalms.
Today’s Psalm, 130, is written by Hezekiah. As we search our hearts during this Lenten Season, I believe we can all find ourselves in these Psalms. We can identify with these people who had need for forgiveness and healing and who at times felt far from God. Let’s see what we can get out of Psalm 130 today that will help us as we continue our Lenten Journey.
1. Approaching God--with lament and confession of sin: In the first four verses of this Psalm the writer is in deep despair. It doesn’t say what the problem is, but he is in some kind of a dire situation where he feels alienated from God. We may identify with his aloneness at times when we wonder, “Where is God in my situation?” Many times we find that it doesn’t take much for us to feel that God is not there--sickness, job losses, problems on the job, when we make wrong decisions, when we outright sin--there’s a feeling of alienation from God and no sense of His presence. Maybe that’s the way this person felt. As he called out to his Covenant God from the depths of despair, He prays for two things--that the Lord would pay attention to his cry and that he would be merciful.
This man’s overall self esteem may have been pretty low at the time he prayed this prayer because of the low estate of the Jews after they returned from Babylon. Intense sorrow was often compared to deep waters or a pit or the depths of despair.
What we can get out of this first part of the Psalm is that he turned to the Lord and asked for His attention and help. Many of us wait until we have exhausted all other means before we go to the Lord or before we go to church. The Lord is a last resort.
STORY: A woman asked her husband to pray for her.
He replied, “Oh, has it come to that?”
Psalm 63:1 says, “EARLY will I seek thee--I won’t wait until all other resources have been exhausted.”
James 4:8 says, “DRAW nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” Our access to God is not difficult--we can approach him with boldness but WE have to call upon him.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come BOLDLY unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”
People say, “Oh, I don’t ask the Lord for anything for myself. I pray for other people but it would be selfish to pray for something for myself.” Scripture says, “YOU come boldly that YOU may receive help in time of need.” This man did exactly that. He realized that it was only God who could bring forgiveness from sins. He said in verse 3, “if you kept a strict record of sins, no one could stand--or be justified.” Some people try to make God believe that they are so good that they don’t need him for anything. Yet only God can do some things for us--forgive us our sins and our iniquities which means the deepest and most inward word for sin. The very CORRUPTION OF THE HEART. The best people may be in the depths of great trouble and at a loss to know what in the world to do. Jeremiah found himself in a dungeon, Daniel the den of lions. Jonah in the belly of the great fish. Call to God to prevent sinking lower and to recover us out of the pit. Psalm 40:1,2 David prayed, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry and lifted me out of the slimy pit.”