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Psalm 130: When rocks fall

“DANGER! Falling Rocks!” the sign said.

We were traveling down a secondary road alongside a steep cliff in the mountains of Colorado. What should we do? Turn the car engine off, cover our heads, and just sit there? Back down the twisty way we had just come up? Or step on the gas, hoping the rocks wouldn’t fall on us?

When it comes to the troubles that fall in our life, we know what to do. If we have forgotten, the psalmist reminds us. In all the troubles in life, especially with the boulder of sin, we cry to the Lord and wait for him. “Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy” (Psalm 130:1,2).

Cry to the Lord

Why do troubles even come into our lives? Aren’t we God’s dear children washed clean by the blood of his Son? Shouldn’t we be sheltered from all storms and spared from all rocks? As the Holy Spirit matures us in the faith through the Word, we have learned that it’s not the straight roads and gentle corners but the depths of trouble that raise us closer to our loving Father. Like the master woodworker, God uses the sandpaper of trouble to bring out the grain in our faith.

We never go wrong when we follow the psalmist’s advice and cry to the Lord. Especially when we join the psalmist in confessing, “If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness” (vv. 3,4).

Don’t misunderstand his words. He’s not saying that troubles come and rocks fall because of our sins. That horrible statement would leave many a rock-bruised Christian comfortless. Such a statement would also make God into a crook, trying to collect twice for our sins. He sent his Son Jesus to pay for our sins, so how can he exact payment also from us? With this confession, the psalmist teaches us to cry to the Lord, acknowledging that we deserve nothing from him but punishment. If the Lord were to check our overall record, we would not dare cry out to him or ask for his forgiveness.

Wait for the Lord

When rocks fall in our lives, the psalmist has more advice for us. He urges, “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning” (v. 6). Some of us have had nights like that, perhaps on a hospital bed or at the side of a loved one. Or as children we couldn’t wait for Christmas morning. With a longing greater than that of a tired watcher or an eager child, the believer’s soul waits for the Lord.

We never go wrong when we wait for the Lord. With two short sentences the psalmist reminds us of this comforting truth. The first declares, “With you there is forgiveness” (v. 4, emphasis added). The second states, “With the LORD is unfailing love. . . . He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (vv. 7,8, emphasis added). Don’t miss the comfort of these words. They tell us that we have a God who loved us so much that he couldn’t bear the thought of our plunging into the hell we deserved. Instead, he sent his Son to take away our sins so we could stand in the Father’s house forever.

You know what else these words tell us? He who loved us so much that he removed the boulders of our sins and uses the rocks of life for our good can and will take care of the pebbles of our earthly needs.

Other psalms for dealing with troubles in life: Psalms 18 and 34.

This is the first article in a six-part series about the psalms’ guidance for our daily lives. Read the psalms with FIC in a new six-month Bible reading series.

Author: Richard Lauersdorf
Volume 110, Number 1
Issue: January 2023

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Richard E. Lauersdorf
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