Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
A song of ascents.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. 3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. 5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. 8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Today we look at another psalm of confession. This one was not written by David, but by an anonymous believer. It is one of the “psalms of ascent.” These were the psalms (120 – 134) which were sung by travelers as they walked from their homes “up” to the festivals in Jerusalem (Jerusalem is a high city, on a mountain). This psalm wonderfully contrasts two key truths. First, when we are truly honest about our sins, we realize that if God counted our sins, we would not be able to stand – we’d cower in fear of judgment. But then it quickly leads to the second great truth, that we can face our sins, because with God there is forgiveness. Indeed, v. 8 anticipates God himself being the solution to our sins, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Hymn #600, “Out of the Depths I Cry to You” is a fine hymn Luther wrote based on this psalm.