1: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” – When we sink into the depths of despair and isolation, God is the only place to turn.
2: “Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!” – This is a despair so deep that you are not even sure God can hear you from the depth and darkness in which you find yourself.
3: “If you, O Lord should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?” – Our sins hurl us into the darkness, separating us from God’s love. No wonder we despair. When we realize what we have done then standing before God becomes a nearly impossible task.
4: “But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.” – God does not keep track of our sins, instead, He forgives and blots out their memory so that we can stand before Him and worship Him.
5: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope.” – When we remember God’s steadfast love, hope springs eternal.
7: “O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is great power to redeem.” – No matter what we face in life, this promise from God is always available when we turn to Him and focus on His redeeming love.
Points to Contemplate:
Have you ever reached the depths of despair where you are engulfed and over-whelmed by your circumstances? Have you found it literally difficult to breathe as the issues of life pour into you with each breath you attempt to take? Have you felt overwhelmed, distressed, and lost in the darkness? Can you relate to the words of the psalmist, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord”? Where else is there to turn? Who, but God, is always there in times like these?
No matter where you wish to place blame in your overwhelming circumstances, can you see that sin is the root cause of all separation from God? If you have been persecuted, victimized or wronged, is it the act against you that has caused your overpowering depression, or is it your tendency to wallow in pity and self-righteousness? Do you see how turning to God in these circumstances begins to take your focus from your despair and point it towards God instead? Does this reveal the importance of praising God in all circumstances, especially in times of sorrow, distress and need?
Are you hopeful? Are you filled with the passion that God loves you and forgives you? Are you overwhelmed with the realization that God has forgiven you of all sins? That He holds a special place in His heart for you; yes, even you? As you grasp the understanding of what God is doing for you and as you read this psalm out loud again and again, do you find your heart bursting with His love? Do you feel hope returning? Are you lifted by the promise of His redemption? Do you shout for joy?
This week’s verses are revealing how God’s influence in our lives affects our relationships with others. Where in your life have you experienced God’s touch? How have you been changed by His love? Has He revealed His love for you through a difficult relationship? Has He led you to share His blessings to those in need? Has He restored you in times of distress? Has He worked through you to provide love and healing to others?
Promise of the Gospel:
It is during times of despair when we can feel the most isolated and removed from God. In this week’s Scripture lesson, David despairs at the loss of his son Absalom. Enmeshed within that pain was the litany of wrongs that David committed that contributed to Absalom’s demise. David was as much to blame as anyone and this heightened his anguish. In this type of darkness the only light of hope that is available to us is the understanding that God’s steadfast love and forgiveness is always available to redeem our souls and to lift us from our sorrow and pain.