A Psalm of Hope

In the Midst of War

Psalm 130


Did David write this Psalm? Neither the text nor the notes indicate that he did. However, it certainly has the ring of his life and his style.

One source provided the following historical notes of interest.

“Because Psalm 130 is marked by an awareness of sin and a powerful assurance of forgiveness, tradition numbers it among the seven penitential psalms (Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143).

“Luther, when he was buffeted by the devil at Coburg, and in great affliction, said to those about him, Come, let us sing that psalm, ‘Out of the depths,’ etc., in derision of the devil…. And surely this psalm is a treasury of great comfort to all in distress.” (John Trapp)

“On the afternoon of that same day [which his heart was strangely warmed, and he truly trusted in Jesus for salvation], John Wesley attended a vesper service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, during which Psalm 130 was sung as an anthem. The anthem greatly moved Wesley and became one of the means God used to open his heart to the gospel of salvation.” (James Montgomery Boice).1

When Life Is in the Pit (1)

Life in the pit is described similarly in other Psalms. Psalm 71, the depth of the earth. Psalm 86, the depths of the grave. Each is an expression of an overwhelming condition. We might say, “I am at the end of my rope,” or “I can’t take it anymore.”

The Psalmist cries out, Lord, I have cried out to you; please hear my prayer and rescue me.

There Is Hope

We may immediately think of such things as being on the brink of financial collapse, a critical health issue, an unbearable spouse, or some form of persecution. Certainly, these are times when we feel we are at the end of our rope, and we should be crying out to the Lord. However, such is not the concern of the writer. He is overwhelmed with guilt over his sin. Now, that is the ultimate depth of despair!

Yet, he has hope and cries out to the Lord. There is hope because he has confidence in the Lord for several reasons.

  • He is confident that the Lord hears his cry (2)
  • He is confident that the Lord is able not to hold him ultimately accountable (3)
  • He is confident that his accountability is covered by God Himself (4)

He Does the One Thing He Can Do

He waits upon the Lord with the certainty that the Lord will respond (5). From whence does that certainty arise? He states the source equivocation; “in His Word do I hope,” He illustrates the intensity of his waiting by citing the morning watchman. That would be the fellow on third shift duty upon the wall. He was the man responsible for sounding the warning if an emergency occurred—like an approaching enemy. He was a man who was focused at the more difficult time, two to five a.m. Hence, the Psalmist conveys his focus on the Word of God—the promise of God to execute forgiveness (6).

What Is Good for the Individual Is Good for a Nation

He encourages the nation to join him in his hope that emanates from the Lord (7). While I admittedly am bringing New Testament revelation to this next thought, it is arguably embedded in the promises of God from Genesis 3:15, Genesis 12, and the several promises made to David.

He is confident that there is lovingkindness at the hand of God, providing abundant redemption (7).

A foreshadowing of Pauline theology may be seen in his final affirmation that the Lord will redeem Israel from all iniquities (8).


This is the Word of God at the hand of God’s servant for the people of God. Remember, Jesus told us, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished (Matthew 5:18). So, my friend, whatever the depth of your despair, whatever offense is producing your guilt, you have hope. Come to Jesus, confess your sin, and cry out to the Lord, “Lord, hear my voice.” He promised in John 6:37-38 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.

1 https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-130/ cited 10-11-23

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