Surviving and Thriving While Living Out of the Depths.

The psalmbook of Israel was divided into 5 sections. Book 5 contains many anonymous psalms and some by David. A common theme of these authors is deriving hope from the guaranteed future for the nation of Israel. Their eschatological message is, "it's going to be okay."

Have you ever felt you were living life "out of the depths"? The human life can find itself mired in the depths of depression, disappointment, affliction, and more. Biblically, these depths are the direct result and long-term consequences of sin, whether personal or another's or the general environment of a fallen world. It is constructive to note the confessions that these psalmists make as they rehearse truth in their circumstances.

Peripheral Perspective

Psalms are public in nature. The reflections of this psalm were not brooding in hiding. It could be sung and heard by the whole nation. The depths give great integrity to making disciples. Those who have found comfort in the depths can be used to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4).

This psalm was written anonymously. It doesn't focus on an individual experience; the specific issues are inconsequential. They matter to God, but this section of the book focuses on praise and worship. The psalm points us away from circumstances and toward a growing understanding and manifestation of the truth that we ought to focus on. The depths give a profound, thoughtful occasion for praising and worshipping God.

As a song of ascent, this psalm was sung by a group of people going up to worship together. It reminds us that in corporate worship, the themes of praise are reiterated. The depths give excuses to stay away from the church gathering, but this psalm teaches us to learn and worship together even as we remain in the depths.

Internal Perspective

As we dive in to the content of Psalm 130, 4 distinct ideas challenge us as we contemplate how to survive and thrive when living in the depths.

The psalm opens with a formal entreaty to a sovereign ruler (Psalm 130:1-2). This does not signal disinterest but an absolute conviction that the addressee is the only possible place of help. The request is simply to listen. Living in the depths requires us to learn to entreat. We must realize that we need help and ask for help from the right person.

The psalmist wants God to listen to his confession, which reveals his mentality (Psalm 130:3-4). As bad as temporal life in the depths is, things could be eternally much worse.

Despite sin's effects on us, there remains a great eternal anomaly: the chance of forgiveness. God should mark iniquities against us and work justice immediately, but He does not do that with humanity. We experience a nuanced form of justice. Time is inserted between offense and retribution, and there is the possibility of forgiveness for all eternity.

This profound logic is intended to produce fear and reverence. God's forgiveness is not a sentiment based on a shared experience of failure; a holy God's forgiveness requires His wrath to be appeased in another way, as pictured in the sacrificial system. This was finally accomplished through the death of God's Son, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. To receive this kind of forgiveness results in a gravity and even fearful disposition of awesome respect. The forgiveness offered through the cross is the strongest of arguments against the idea that God has somehow been unjust or made a mistake in our life. It may not relieve the burden but can cool the pain of life lived under the auspices of sin. It is this nuanced meaning of justice that allows sin to exist in time. Blind justice would eliminate the influence of sin and exterminate the sinner immediately.

Life in the depths requires intense, intentional focus when we don't find what we think is resolution (Psalm 130:5-6). We must adjust our expectations. The psalmist "waits" for the Lord; he has a specific event that he is hoping for. The night watchman's only hope is the rising of the sun; even more so, our only hope is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The lesson of the watchman is that life in the depths is managed, not remedied, until the night ends.

The focus is on God's Word, which is objectifiable and available to each individual. Supported by the miracle of inspiration and preserved by providence, the Bible is sufficient for us to manage life in the depths until all is fixed.

As the psalmist has found comfort, he turns to address all of Israel in solidarity, urging them to hope in the Lord (Psalm 130:7-8). Life in the depths forces us to more firmly focus on God's eternally loyal love. His redemption is abundant. The word used for "redemption" here means the reversal of all the effects of sin, final redemption that fixes us and the world.

Believer in the depths must find reason for praise and worship. Isolating yourself in silence is not an option. Nuanced justice allows sin to hurt us, but we are thankful that it exists because it means we too can be forgiven! Progressively understanding the cost of our forgiveness saturates our lives with the fear of God instead of man. For now, we possess a confession, not resolution, and we continue to realize its infinite value. Gathering in the house of worship is a rich resource to renew that confession every week (Hebrews 10:25). The simple truth that sinners stand is one that we must treasure more and more.

Application Points

  • Living in the depths requires us to learn to entreat. Have you realized that you need help with the eternal problem of your sin? Are you asking for help from the right person? God's Son Jesus Christ is the only one who can solve that problem.
  • Have you received divine forgiveness that resulted in profound humility, awesome respect, and carefulness in living?
  • Justice for humanity is nuanced by the possibility of forgiveness. Let this be your confession that eases the pain of life lived in the time of sin. Life in the depths can be lived with the glorious sunlight of forgiveness, the hope of final redemption, praise and worship.
  • What is your focus when in the depths? Discipline your mind to dwell on God's Word and wait for final redemption.
  • When you are living in the depths, do you isolate yourself? Or do you avail yourself of the rich resource of God's people to remind yourself of God's Word and to praise Him together?