Out Of The Depths
From The Bottom Of The Deep Pit I Call You
From the bottom of the deep pit, O Lord, I call you.
O Lord, please hear my voice.
Please incline your ear to my voice groaning in prayer.
(Verses one and two)
2. Here we have a person all by himself who has fallen into a deep pit, a bottomless depth [of some kind]. We don't know the exact circumstances he is in. We don't know if it's sickness, or some failure in life, or troubles in his relationships with others, or persecution from a foreign enemy, but we can tell he is in some definite pain [of some kind].
3. But, don't think that his pain is just because of the severity of external circumstances. In the words "deep pit" there is more than that being expressed. He is crying from its bottom. This is a word that can also be translated "shouting out." He shouts out, "Please hear my voice!" Because he won't be heard if he doesn't shout out. There is "a distance, a gap" in his life, [a gaping whole in his existence]. There is a seemingly endless distance, where it seems he is helpless but to shout. Is it a gap between him and someone else? Yes, it is. It is a gap between him and the one to whom he is calling out, that is, to God. The depth of this pit could be defined as his estrangement from God.
4. That's where the real depth of his pain is. Setting aside specific circumstances, in his crisis of life, his real pain is in not being able to find close by the one called "God." He is so deep that it seems even his prayers aren't getting out [to God].
5. This isn't the suffering of just this psalmist either. Along life's way, we [all] experience changes in our various situations. There are times when we are loaded with many problems, can't see the light and seem to be at the "bottom of a deep pit." But, the worst problem for a person lies in that deepest of places, which is, when a person is separated far from God and [though] in trouble he is in that place where he cannot find close to him Him whom we call "God."
6. This wailing psalmist says this next in verse three, "O Lord, if you remember every sin, o Lord, who will be able to withstand?" As we see from this phrase, we see that his real problem is in his unrighteousness and sin. What separates us far from God is nothing but our sins. In Isaiah it says this, "The hand of the Lord is not so short that it cannot save. The ears of the Lord are not so dull that they cannot hear. Rather, your wickedness has separated you from God and your sins have hidden God's face and they are preventing him from inclining his ears towards you," (Isaiah 59:1-2). In this world there are a lot of bad things. But, sin alone separates God and persons and this separation due to sin is the greatest calamity of all for human beings. The depth of our abyss is the same as the depth of our sin.
7. This phrase "out of the depths" is used also in Psalm sixty-nine. "O God, please save me. Flood waters have reached my throat. I have entered a deep quagmire with nowhere for my foot to hold upon. I am sinking to the deep bottom of the flood waters and the tumbling waters are pouring over me," (Psalm 69:2-3). Here where it is translated "the deep bottom of the flood waters," in Psalm one hundred and thirty "the bottom of the deep pit" is the translation used.
8. As we see from this, in Psalm one hundred and thirty when the psalmist says "bottom of the deep pit," he is not saying a place he could crawl up out of if he tried hard. He is actually saying that he is in the kind of place that is like "a deep slime without any foothold," a place where he goes in deeper and deeper the more he struggles and moves.
9. That's what sin is. When sin pulls us away from God, when because of sin we are in a deep pit, there is nothing for our foot to hold onto where we can crawl out of it on our own. Neither our best efforts nor our good works will do for us to stand upon to crawl out of this deep whole. Within ourselves there is no such possibility either. What are we to do then? What does this psalmist do? He says, "Out of the depths, o Lord, I call you." He calls. He cries out. He cries out as much as he can from this depth, "O Lord, please hear my voice." For, he can only cry out. For, for anyone sinking in a deep pit, hope does not lie within; hope lies only in God's deliverance. That's why he is crying out and seeking Him.
10. "God alone can save me" -- How long does it take before we learn this one thing that so occupied his heart? We're always struggling and looking for a place to land our foot, but we don't cry out to the Lord. We search for possibilities within until the end and do not sincerely cry out to the Lord. But, as long as we do that, there won't be deliverance for us. We'll have no hope. Because deliverance is in God and him alone.
Forgiveness With You
O Lord, if you remember every sin,
O Lord, who will be able to withstand?
But, forgiveness lies with you
Man fears and respects you.
(Verses three and four).
12. He knew the depth of the spot he was in. He knew it was a depth from which he could never climb out; for, he knew that since the Lord remembers every single sin, no one is able to stand in his presence. Some have translated the word "remember" as "record." If we would try to understand the depth of the "deep pit" he was in as our own, we might picture the figure of God as one who records our [every] sin not omitting one single sin. If God is making a record of all of our sins and unrighteousness, whether it was out in the open, hidden, an act, or a thing of the heart, who will be able to stand in the presence of the Lord? Even if at that time we were in distress, who could seek for deliverance out of it as if they deserved it? Instead, if God were near, we couldn't help but be destroyed, don't you think?
13. He knew the depths of it all. But still, he calls upon the Lord; for, he banks on one possibility, which is, "God's forgiveness." He believed in the mercy and the forgiveness of the God that had been spoken of for ages by the Israelites, and he trusts in this. He seeks for deliverance and cries out. But, if there is anything that we can really call deliverance it is ultimately only in that place where fellowship with God is recovered through "God's forgiveness." Of course, we might also call it deliverance when the actual problem is resolved. But, without "God's forgiveness" and without restoration of fellowship with God, nothing has really been solved at all. Unless one's relationship with God changes, the person is still as ever at the bottom of a deep pit.
My Soul Waits Expectantly For the Lord
14. His faint hope where he had been crying out seeking the Lord soon starts to change during prayer to an expectancy filled with conviction. He says:
I put my hopes in the Lord
My soul puts its hopes [in Him]
And waits expectantly for your word.
My soul waits expectantly for the Lord
Waiting more than watchmen do for the morning
Waiting more than watchmen do for the morning.
(Verses five and six)
16. The ones called here as "watchmen" are believed to be the Levites guarding over the temple. The reason the guards wait for morning is that morning always comes. However pitch black the moon less night might be, the guards know that the light of daybreak will always come. So, they wait.
17. That's how the psalmist also waits in hope for the Lord. He outwaits the lookouts waiting for morning. Now it might look like he's in the dark of night. But, morning will certainly come to him. This is how he is no longer a man living in the dark of night alone. He is a man awaiting the morning. And the reason he can be a man waiting for morning is that he knew that forgiveness is with God. Therefore, he doesn't only say "I put my hopes in the Lord," but states that I "wait expectantly for your word." He calls and seeks the Lord, the Lord speaks graciously. [This is] because he knows that he already has salvation there with him, upon having fellowship with God, a fellowship rooted in God's forgiveness.
18. As I stated earlier, we can't tell from this psalm what kind of situation he was suffering under. There probably wasn't that much difference in change in his external circumstances from the first half and the second half of this psalm. But, in the second half of this psalm, we see here a person who is no longer taken captive by any specific points of suffering. This man believing in the Lord's forgiveness, waiting in hope for the Lord, and waiting expectantly in the word of God is no longer at "the bottom of the deep pit."
O Israel, wait in hope for the Lord.
Mercy is with the Lord
Abundant redemption is also with the Lord.
The Lord will redeem
Israel from every sin.
20. He says to an Israel expecting deliverance to "Wait in hope for the Lord." He tells them that since mercy is with the Lord and abundant redemption is also with the Lord, to please wait in hope for the Lord.
21. There is mercy with the Lord and there is plentiful atonement. Only One has come to us from that Lord. He has come right into the suffering of this human world. He has descended right down to the very bottom most part of the pit that we humans experience, even unto the deepest of the deep of places. From there he cried out. "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" The name of this One is Jesus, which means "The Lord is salvation; The Lord is deliverance." Another name he has is Emmanuel. It means "God is with us."
22. The psalmist cried out from the bottom of a deep pit to a faraway place. We know that the savior went down into a deep abyss for us. Salvation has already come. The message which this psalmist was waiting expectantly for has come to us in the form of a Person. Therefore, we have become persons who can say with even greater joy and conviction than the psalmist, "Mercy is with the Lord, abundant redemption is also with the Lord. Wait in hope for the Lord!"