Friday, March 29, 2019

Cry, Fear, Wait, Hope

Psalm 130:

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

We all find ourselves in the depths of despair.  This psalm gives us hope.  It is a song of ascending from the lower depths to a higher state of life with God. Here are four things it tells us to do when we feel down:

The cry is a voice of supplication. It's a cry for help. Psalm 28 associates crying for supplication with reaching out toward the place of God's sanctuary. This is important. Worldly supplications will not ascend. God himself is the true supplication. We reach toward his presence, his healing, through the living word. We commune and disciple with the saints. We seek to know him and his kingdom. We seek rest in his arms. That is the goal of our cries.

Why does the psalmist say that God's forgiveness will instill fear? Is fear a good thing to have? When the fear is in God, yes! Jeremiah 33:8 and 9 read:

'I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’

Here is no better proof that fear of God is, for believers, a deep awe of him.  God forgives our sins. He cleanses us. He pardons us, even though we have offended and grieved him deeply. He is good! God is pure goodness, and that makes our sinful hearts tremble with fear and joy. We don't deserve it, and yet he grants us this mercy. It should make us quake.

Waiting is meditating on God, meditating on his word. Our minds are focused on the wonderful attributes of God. Watchmen stayed up all night, anxiously awaiting the dawn, when the danger of the darkness was truly over. We, too, live in worldly danger, continually. We wait on the Lord to bring us home, or to finally come and restore all things to newness. In this night, we study and meditate on his word, so that we may fear him until he comes.

Finally, we hope. Because when the end finally comes, all those who are not in Christ are lost forever. None are born righteous. God must transform them, and he does through his Son. In Romans 3, Paul tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but God justifies some as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 1:7 reads, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." Jesus Christ died to save us.

This is the final element that brings us from the bottom of the sea to the shore: believe in Jesus for your salvation, and you will be free indeed from the oppression of sin. Cry to him, fear him, wait on him, and hope in him: all these will lift you from despair and deliver you eternally.