Preparation and Sacrifice
1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
2O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
3If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
4But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
5I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
6my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
7O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.
8And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
This psalm falls into the category of the Songs of Ascent (Psalm 120-134). These 15 prayers were recited by those making pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The group would chant as they walked and this particular psalm pointed hearts and minds in the direction of repentance before a forgiving God. Each pilgrim brought with them their own personal or family sacrifices (lambs, various birds, goats, rams . . .) and would present them to the priest to be offered for their sin. These words remind them that this not merely an exercise but an actual act of repentance. These words bring meaning to the actions they were about to perform.
We don’t have to carry an animal to the altar because the Lamb has already been slain and because we stand on this side of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we know that He completed that final sacrifice once and for all.
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
This psalm divides into four parts:
- A cry to be heard – despite my sinful soul
- An acknowledgment of God’s perfection and my sinfulness
- Waiting for the Lord for He is the only One who can save
- Hope – because God holds the key to my redemption
Each of us can relate to all four parts because just walking around in human skin makes us subject to each section of this psalm. The realization of our great need for a Savior is a part of our daily life. Our spirits cry out for relief from the perils of sin. There is much comfort for the believer in recognizing that our God is indeed holy and perfect because that make Him a fair judge of our condition and powerful enough to do something about it. We wait for His salvation to come and each of us stands before Him alone to claim or deny Jesus as Savior. This us leads to hope, for Jesus holds the key to my redemption. The Lamb of God offers up the perfect and final sacrifice and my strength is found in that hope.
One of these sections probably resonates with you today more than the other three. That is where you might focus your meditation for God has something to tell you specifically in those words today.