"Our of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications."
We have all been in the ditch, where we cry out from the depths. Perhaps going to church every week is getting the ox out of the ditch, us, over and over again as we need that hand up to be encouraged by the Keeper of our soul.
We have lived in our neighborhood when it was newish, but now is considered the old "hood." Since we have been here in what was thought to be a new housing area, newer houses popped up like popcorn, tree-lined streets were extended beautifying our little community with a waterfall at the entrance. One of my daughters, a talented photographer, hiked the fields to capture the lovely trees while there was still time before they were cut down sacrificed to the housing expansion.
Once in these earlier days, a neighbor took her little dog on a walk in the dark and fell down into a deep ditch. We never heard her cries for help, but we heard the helicopter hovering coming to her rescue. Now that field that was deeply carved, is now filled in with a elementary school and park built upon it.
This is the image I get when I read these verses of someone who wandered in the dark and fell injured unable to rise. God hears. He answers and hovers over us to lift us up out of the depths. He wants to fill in those dangers and built upon it those things that are useful to our souls.
"If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchman for the morning."
No one can stand before His holy law. We would cry with Isaiah,
"Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
the Lord of hosts."
But there is an answer, a hope hovering...
"Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand,
which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
He touched my mouth with it and said,
'Behold, this has touched your lips;
and your iniquity is taken away
and your sin is forgiven."
"Mercy belongs to Thee."
"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
and He is the propitiation for our sins:
and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
"I wait for the Lord"
"The word which we translate to wait, properly signifies the extension of a cord from one point to an other. This is a fine metaphor: God is one point, the human heart is the other; and the extended cord between both is the earnest believing desire of the soul. This desire, strongly extended from the heart to God, in every mean of grace, and when there is none, is the active energetic waiting which God requires, and which will be successful." (Adam Clarke)
I have begun to believe, and have written to a few grieving friends, the reason it hurts so much when we lose a loved one is that our heart is stretched clear to heaven. But this stretching of a cord, the desire, strongly extended from the heart of God to the earnest believing desire of the soul, is a more beautiful concept, His means of grace in waiting. This manner of waiting is called hope.
Adam Clarke asks, then answers why this hope: "With the Lord there is mercy. And with Him is plenteous redemption...that to which there is none like, --the Fountain of redemption...God perfectly justifies, and perfectly sanctifies, all that come unto Him through the Son of His love...flying to Him for comfort, remission, and purification."
I especially love when the Psalmist says,
"And in His word do I hope."
In one of those lying in bed waiting for the morning moments recently, I was pondering what means the most to me in this life, what I wish the most I could pass down to my children. It is this, hope in His word. In these turbulent times, opinions have been flushed out beyond the ordinary exchange of pleasantries. It has, sadly to me, appeared that most of the grandchildren of my conservative grandparents, we who should have benefited most from our lineage of those in the ministry, have wandered so far away that they have no comprehension of what it means, or appreciation of our heritage which our grandparents sacrificed for and have risen up vocally against it. Thus, I hope in His word, not just for me but hope in it for my children and grandchildren as well that they not wander away. A life of serving in the ministry, though leaving me feel battered and bruised sometimes, also leaves me hoping that it was worth it, first of all to my descendants."
"O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness (mercy),
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities."
"For with the Lord there is mercy."
"This is the reason and encouragement for the hope. Mercy flows from Him. 'And with Him is redemption.' Which we need, being all sold under sin; and this redemption was purchased for us by the death of His Son."
"And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities."
"He will make a ransom for Israel. He will provide a great price for Israel, for by it will take away all their his iniquities...Every believer may take it to himself...It is not, as the Jews expected, a temporal redemption, but a spiritual, as the angel told Joseph; 'His name shall be Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins." (Adam Clarke)
Ooh, goodie! Do you realize that after one more Sunday, Advent begins. So here lies a hint, the word from the angel to Joseph.