Psalm 130: Israel's Waiting for Jehovah's Appearance
130:1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Jehovah.
130:2 Lord, hear my voice: Let thine ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
130:3 If thou, Jehovah, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
130:4 But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayest be feared.
130:5 I wait for Jehovah, my soul doth wait, And in his word do I hope.
130:6 My soul waiteth for the Lord More than watchmen wait for the morning; Yea, more than watchmen for the morning.
130:7 O Israel, hope in Jehovah; For with Jehovah there is lovingkindness, And with him is plenteous redemption.
130:8 And he will redeem Israel From all his iniquities.
In our study of the Songs of Ascents we have seen that they deal with Israel's final return to God in the end of the dispensation. Each of this cycle of hymns deals with some special
phase connected with Israel's return and his complete redemption.
Throughout Psalm 130 the writer speaks of himself and of his crying to God, waiting for the appearance of Jehovah, and praying to God in behalf of his nation. We have seen in Psalms 122 and 123 that, though the writer uses the personal pronouns I, me, and mine, yet he is joining his voice with that of the nation, which fact is shown by the employment of the plural pronouns we, our, and us. Since Psalm 130 is one of the Songs of Ascents, and since the individual note is sounded here, we may reasonably assume that the writer is joining his voice with those of his brethren in their crying to God. In view of these facts we may safely conclude that here is a prediction of Israel down in the depths of the lowest valley of suffering and sorrow through which any individual or nation has passed — looking up to God and crying for deliverance. When we view the poem from this point, everything is in harmony and perfectly understandable.
Israel in the Depths of the Tribulation
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Jehovah.
Lord, hear my voice: Let thine ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
If thou, Jehovah, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayest be feared.” (vs. 1-4)
When we look at these verses and apply the Golden Rule of Interpretation which admonishes us to take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, and literal meaning unless something in the context indicates clearly otherwise, we come to the conclusion that the word depths seen in verse 1 is used in figurative sense. To understand that the psalmist was down in a literal hole or gorge and was praying for deliverance does not fit in with the flow of thought. On the other hand, we know that it is a usual figure that is used to indicate one's being in deep sorrow and distress. This interpretation is confirmed by the fact that the psalmist is speaking of his waiting personally for the appearance of Jehovah upon earth again. We therefore conclude in the light of these facts that this psalm pictures Israel in the very depths of despair — figuratively speaking, flat on his back and in a helpless condition pleading for God to come and bring the desired deliverance.
David, in Psalm 69, employed a similar metaphor, describing the nation as being in the great Tribulation and looking to the Lord for deliverance. In this case he used the figure of waters, or a deep well or fountain, to express the idea of the deep sorrow and distress in which he is engulfed (Psalm 69:1-8):
Save me, 0 God; For the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing:
I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
I am weary with my crying; my throat is dried:
Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head:
They that would cut me off, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty:
That which I took not away I have to restore.
0 God, thou knowest my foolishness; And my sins are not hid from thee.
Let not them that wait for thee be put to shame through me,
0 Lord Jehovah of hosts:
Let not those that seek thee be brought to dishonor through me, 0 God of Israel.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; Shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren,
And an alien unto my mother's children.”
When this psalm is properly understood, it is seen that this is a prediction of penitent Israel when he is in the depths of the Tribulation.
The prophet Zechariah gives us one of the most vivid and graphic pictures of Israel's being in the depths of the Tribulation and looking to God alone for deliverance (Zechariah 12:10-14):
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; 14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.”
At that time the nation, being convicted of the enormity of the national crime of rejecting Messiah — yes, convicted by the preaching of the Word by faithful witnesses — will in its extremity look to the Lord and confess its national sin and mourn as Zechariah has foretold in this passage.
The confession of the national sin that the penitent nation of Israel will make is found in Isaiah 53:1-9. These verses must be read and studied from the standpoint of the last year of the Tribulation, when Israel, being convinced of the sin of rejecting the Messiah, confesses his share in His execution. With his eyes opened and in contrition of heart, every Israelite living at that time will thus, penitently, confess his share in the national sin of Messiah's rejection and execution. Each one will pray for forgiveness.
In verse 3 of Psalm 130 the psalmist asks the question: “If thou, Jehovah, shouldst mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who could stand?” By this rhetorical question the affirmation is made that no one could possibly stand in God's sight if there were not forgiveness with Him. In other words, everyone has sinned. There is no one perfect. If one violates one precept of the law, he is as guilty as if he had broken all the laws that have been given by the Lord. Thus there would be no possibility of forgiveness upon a legalistic basis. But the psalmist praises God that he is not to be put upon such a foundation. Each one will have at that time learned the message of grace and forgiveness. They will take their stand upon that platform and plead for forgiveness.
God has made provision in His marvelous, wonderful grace to forgive sins when anyone in true penitence and faith accepts the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. There is no other way of obtaining redemption, of being forgiven, apart from the blood of Christ, the one all-sufficient sacrifice which was made for the redemption of the human family, that is, for all who will accept God's free grace.
Israel Waiting for Jehovah
I wait for Jehovah, my soul doth wait, And in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord More than watchmen wait for the morning;
Yea, more than watchmen for the morning.” (vs. 5-6)
In these verses the psalmist sees in vision the entire nation of Israel waiting expectantly and patiently for Jehovah to appear for their deliverance. One can wait on God to answer prayer. The word “wait” sometimes is used in that sense. But it is not thus employed in this passage. The context shows that the psalmist is talking about Israel's waiting patiently for the coming and presence of Jehovah who alone will right all wrongs, and who alone can put down wars and establish a reign of righteousness, peace, joy and blessing. David declared that he would have fainted had he not believed in seeing Jehovah in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13-14):
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living.
Wait for Jehovah; Be strong, and let thy heart take courage; Yea, wait thou for Jehovah.
Hezekiah, when he was told that he must set his house in order because he was going to die, lamented the fact that in that case he would not see Jehovah in the land of the living (Isaiah 38). Hezekiah evidently expected Jehovah to appear upon the earth to establish His reign of righteousness. He was hoping that it would be in his day. When he was told that he had to die shortly, he lamented the great fact that he would not be here when Jehovah would appear. Hosea, in 12:6, urged Israel to wait constantly for Jehovah, that is, for His personal appearance.
From the two verses under consideration (Psalm 130:5,6) we see that Israel will be waiting patiently for the appearance of the Lord. He will have lost all confidence in men and nations and groups of nations and will turn to God alone, who can bring the deliverance.
There is a very significant statement in the last clause of verse 5: “And in his word do I hope.” This little clause is very significant in its setting. Someone will have given to Israel the truth of the Lord's soon return, will have given it in the power of the Spirit of God in such a way that the entire nation, then living, will believe the message and will take it at its face value.
“The word of Jehovah is right,” the psalmist declared to us in Psalm 33:4. It is right in everything that it says. The original autographs were infallibly inspired by the Spirit of God. They were without error or mistake in the least. We can depend upon everything that the Lord has said. Throughout the entire Christian Dispensation those who have believed in the infallibly inspired Word of God as an inerrant message from the Almighty, and who have especially studied the prophecies, have held to the position that Israel would be restored to her land in the end time. Back as early as 1910 I began to study the prophecies very earnestly. I saw that they foretold the restoration of Israel to the land. When I began to preach this position, many said that this was mere speculation and guessing, that the Jews were not going to return to their land. Everyone who knows anything about the movements in Jewry and what is going on in the world cannot doubt for one second that the prophecies relating to Israel's return are being literally fulfilled today. What God said with reference to Israel's restoration is, as the psalmist says, right. He has spoken on many occasions concerning His coming back to this earth to deliver Israel, to take the governments of the world in His own strong hands, to right all wrongs, and to establish a reign of righteousness, justice, and peace. We believe that that time is coming. When we look at the world as it is today, we cannot see any signs or indication that such a regime of righteousness and justice could be established, but upon the bare testimony of the Word of God we believe that the Lord Jesus is coming back to this earth and will reign literally on the earth for one thousand years. This message is going to be given to the Jewish people, who, upon the bare testimony and evidence of the Written Word, will believe that Jehovah is coming and will be waiting for Him with their gaze fixed upon His visible return. In this connection, re-read Psalm 123.
The Psalmist's Exhortation to the Nation to Trust Jehovah
O Israel, hope in Jehovah;
For with Jehovah there is lovingkindness, And with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel From all his iniquities.” (vs. 7-8)
As we have just observed, the author of Psalm 130 sees that Jehovah is coming back. He has put his hope in God, who has made this promise. He turns to his brethren in the conclusion of his hymn and urges them to hope, to put their trust in God. No word from God is without power. God will fulfill every promise and carry out every threat that He has made. Thus the Psalmist exhorts Israel to hope in Jehovah.
The reason that he assigns for his exhortation is that “with Jehovah there is lovingkindness,” which word is the Old Testament term for grace. The grace of God is wonderful; it is marvelous; it is beyond our comprehension. If it were not for the boundless, unspeakable grace of God there would be no hope for any mortal.
The psalmist reiterates what he has said and assures his fellow countrymen that with God there is plenteous redemption, abundant redemption. Christ went to the cross to redeem us from all sin. He became a ransom for us all. If anyone is lost it will be because he, figuratively speaking, goes roughshod over the dying, bleeding body of the Son of God who is, as John the Baptist said, “... the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient to wash away all stain of every sin except that of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The psalmist therefore declares:
For with Jehovah there is lovingkindness,
And with him is plenteous redemption.”
There is plenteous redemption for Israel — but let us always remember that it is through the blood of the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world!
Not what these hands have done can save this guilty soul:
Not what this toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers, and sighs, and tears, can bear my awful load.
Thy work alone, 0 Christ, can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, 0 Lamb of God, can give me peace within.”
God will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. The nation will be forgiven — when Israel repudiates his national sin in genuine repentance, craves divine mercy, and puts his trust in the Savior of the world, Israel's Messiah, and pleads for Him to return and save him (Hosea 5:15-6:3).
May we who know and love God, who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, do all that we can to show the truth of the Scriptures to God's Chosen People in order that they may see and turn from their error and accept Him who alone can save them from all of their iniquities!