“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.”Psalms 130:1-4 ESV
What a beautiful thing the Psalmist says. If our Heavenly Father remembers our sins and bears them against us, we are doomed… yet there is forgiveness with God. And the sweetness of that forgiveness compels us to honor (or fear) Him!
When we are in the depths of misery and in slavery to our sin, do we fear God? So often, we hate Him for letting us dwell in our selfishness. We despise His love when we don’t feel it. Yet, God forgives our iniquities and marks out our stains. The holy God brought Himself so low as to condescend into the form of a man and then died in the place of His hateful children. How could we not love and honor Him?
The Psalmist is a man who knows his evil ways. Because he knows the character of his God, he knows that he deserves nothing but to be struck down in an instant. Yet he praises God for undeserved forgiveness.
There are some who compare the parenthood of human fathers and mothers to the perfect parenthood of God. As such, these people make the bold claim that just as God is deserving of unqualified obedience, so are human fathers. But does such a line of reasoning really hold up? In this Psalm, we see that we praise and adore God when we realize the gravity of His forgiveness. But such forgiveness is so special only because we are dirty, corrupt and sinful and He is clean, pure and sinless. Can human parents make the same bold claim?
We praise and adore God when we realize the gravity of His forgiveness.
There are some punitive discipline supporters who would suggest that a young child who transgresses their parent must be punished. “How else will they learn to obey God?”, they chant. What a fascinating comparison some make. God punishes human sin, and so must we punish our children’s sin.
Yet, in their apparent piety, they have forgotten something. When humans hate God and sin against Him, does God’s punishment draw them near? I know of no atheist who loves and adores the God they deny. I can think of no sinner cast out by God who sings praises to Him. Indeed, for those who hate God, there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth! When unbelieving men suffer the natural consequences of disobedience to God, do they look to God for appreciation?
How sweet are the words of the Psalmist!
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!”Psalms 130:1 ESV
In the midst of suffering, the Holy Spirit has moved the Psalmist to throw himself at the feet of God!
“O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!”Psalms 130:2 ESV
As the Psalmist is moved to worship, the Spirit softens his heart to plea for mercy. And God hears such pleas as a loving Savior.
“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”Psalms 130:3 ESV
Indeed, is our God a punitive parent? Does He mark iniquities and offer vindication to His wayward children? His children long for nearness to Him… and does He not bear our iniquities on Himself?
“But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.”Psalms 130:4 ESV
And thus the Psalmist drives the final point home… God, our Parent, forgives. And in His forgiving love, we have reason to fear Him. That is, we revere Him. We honor and adore Him.
There is forgiveness in Christ, which produces our love. There is joy in His grace, which feeds our desire for Him. He has chosen us, forgiven us; He has calculated our debt and nailed it to the cross.
What a model for parenthood. Let us imitate our King! When our children defy us, we must forgive. When they fall, we must hold them and kiss the hurt away. When they hurt us, we must show them our hurt and remind them that we love them in spite of it.
And that is the beauty of the parenthood of God! He is the great forgiver, not the great punisher! Those who hate God receive only the bitterness of their hatred! Yet those who love God are His true children; they enjoy the sweetness of His love, and the pleasure of His forgiveness.
And because He chooses us, forgives us, cherishes us, comforts us, there is a crucial quality He builds in us: hope.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”Psalms 130:5-8 ESV
Oh that my children would say of me, “Dad, your parenting gave me hope.”