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Read Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

Editor's Note

Psalms 120-134 are known as the “Psalms of Ascent” or “Pilgrim Songs.” Every year as the Jews traveled uphill towards the city of Jerusalem to participate in one of the three Jewish festivals, these are the songs they would sing. They became a staple of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem back then and now they serve as a helpful template for us as we worship today.

Go Deeper

We all can relate to crying out for mercy from God. Some cries are from the seemingly unrelenting troubles of this world and some are due to the consequences of our sin. This psalm refers to the latter. Believers in Christ have much to learn and grow from its truths.

Psalm 130 is known as one of the seven psalms of repentance, similar to David’s Psalms 6, 32 and 51. Though we are unclear the exact circumstances that prompted the writing of it, verse 8 points towards Israel waiting for redemption of their sins. We see repeatedly in the Old Testament that Israel’s lack of faith and trust in God lead them to turn from Him and seek their own answers to their problems. We are no different today. We seek earthly pleasure to hide from pain or control when our life is spinning out. This psalm shows us we serve a God who keeps no record of our sins (v. 3), forgives us (v. 4), and has unfailing love and full redemption for us (v. 7). Through Christ, we see the evidence of this truth fulfilled. Ephesians 1:7 says that in Christ we have redemption and forgiveness of our sins. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that we are saved by God’s grace alone. If believers in Christ simply confess our sin to God, He will forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). What a loving and forgiving God!

Another truth addressed in this psalm is found in verses 5 and 6: waiting. The word is repeated 5 times within these 2 verses. Here the Israelites are waiting for God to redeem their sins. Waiting is a reality we all face probably every day. Some waiting is more excruciating: a result from a biopsy, a successful pregnancy after many failed attempts, or a prodigal return to the faith. We cry out to God, waiting for His answer. In verse 5, we are instructed to put our hope in His word in our waiting. God has laid out promises to us throughout Scripture for us to trust in. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us that if we lay our anxiety and requests before God, His peace will guard us. He sees us in our waiting. 

Put your trust in the God that has forgiven all of our sins and gives us hope through His Word while we wait. Cry out to Him with whatever you are walking through today.


  1. Have you put your trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? If so, thank Him for this truth!
  2. Does your life reflect the reality of His forgiveness? Are you reverently serving Him in response (v. 4)?
  3. What promises of hope do you need to hear from Him today while you wait? Do a word search in Scripture for His truth to you.

Keep Digging

For a list of God’s promises to you read this. It includes our promise of forgiveness and salvation along with many more we can cling to while we wait.

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3 thoughts on “Psalm 130”

  1. Waiting—something we aren’t very good at and generally despise. The busier we are the more we hate it as our frenetic pace drives us at full throttle. What if we could see our “waits” as a gift to slow and grow in grace? Our unchosen pauses could be moments of divine appointment where He ushers in hope. Something we could practice in the wait is pausing to pray and look for God’s hand in the delay. V1-2 says “Out of the depths I call to you Lord! Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help.” His redemptive work is ongoing, I’m looking for it today as I quiet my racing pace to listen for His voice. My hope is in His faithful love.

  2. This Psalm is beautifully set to music in John Rutter’s “Requiem.” I invite you to listen for fresh inspiration from God’s miraculous promises:

    “Oh Israel, trust in the Lord! For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption, and he shall redeem Israel from all its sins.”

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