ful and great is the God who can triumph over it in forgiveness and he cries out in awe, “With you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared”.
John Newton had been a slave trader and a foul sinner. He gave his life to the Lord in a fierce storm at sea which threatened to sink his ship. He became a great preacher and wrote the hymn Amazing Grace. One verse is particular echoes Psalm 130:4
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed.’
The writer of Psalm 130 cries ‘out of the depths’ because he realized how deeply he has sunk into sin and how great is the problem of forgiveness. Yet he prays with hope because “Yahweh our God brought Israel out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery”.
He knows that sin separates him from God (vs 3) so that he cannot stand before God in time or eternity. He knows the fear of God that fell on the people of Israel, the Egyptians and the surrounding nations because of Yahweh’s power in delivering the people. If we today appreciate the awesome, glorious holiness of God and the unspeakable ugliness of sin, we will also cry out “There is forgiveness with you; therefore you are feared”.
“O, LORD, forgive us that we approach you so lightly. We presume on your forgiveness and ignore the infinite cost to our Lord Jesus. Lord, fill our lives with reverent fear.”
The Psalmist knows there is nothing he can do except to wait (5-6) and to hope (7). Only God can forgive and so he waits for God’s sovereign action. Yet he is as hopeful as a watchman who waits with intense longing for the darkness to lift when morning comes.
He is expectant because he knows the LORD has three companies or characteristics.
We have seen the first in verse 4 “With you there is forgiveness”. The second is ‘With the LORD is unchanging love’ (vs 7). That is the LORD’s unfailing attitude. His love will never abandon His people.
The third is “with Him is full redemption (vs 7). Redemption always carries the truth of the ransom price, (e.g. ‘you must redeem holy every first born son at the redemption price set at 5 shekels of silver’ Numbers 18:15). We rejoice in the ransom paid by the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The unfailing love of the LORD reaches out to sinners through a price for sin which satisfies Him. Why does He forgive? Because of His unfailing love. How does He forgive? Through a ransom price. What does He forgive? All sin! With the LORD is forgiveness; therefore He is feared. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
"God will forgive me. That is His business". So spoke a careless young German as he gave in again to his favourite sin. The tone in this Psalm 130 could not be more different. The psalmist does not presume on God's forgiveness. Being aware of the greatness of His sin he realizes how exceedingly fear