Originally scheduled for February 15
In Psalm 130, which many scholars think was
written during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, we see the way
in which the believer returns to God. Thus, it is a fitting picture
There is a sweet and simple appeal in this
Psalm. In the first two verses, the psalmist acknowledges the depths
to which he has come. He appeals to no one but the Lord himself; the
situation is so desperate that there is no one else who could help
him. In so doing, the psalmist asks only that God hear — there is no
rationalization or claim of being one of the good guys. There is no
appeal of merit. Rather, it is the simple and direct plea of a man
asking God Almighty for help.
in the third and fourth versus the psalmist
shows us why that appealed to God alone is made. He acknowledges
that not one of us has any standing before God on our own merit to
make such an appeal. Indeed, he acknowledges, if God chooses to keep
a record of our sins, not one of us would have any standing before
him. But that implies that God has the choice of whether or not to
mark our iniquities. It’s somewhat like a court case. The
authorities must bring charges; the charges must refer to a known
section of the law — and therefore they have the option to prosecute
or not. God has the same option: when he does not prosecute us we
call that forgiveness. The fact that forgiveness exists means there
is a way past our iniquities to the help of the Father. But why
would God do this? The psalmist tells us here that this is to create
and enlarge the fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom.)
Curiously, the next two verses talk about
patience. You might ask why. The psalmist understands that God isn’t
going to jump through the hoops set up by man. He will bring forth
his redemption in his time and by his way. That, it seems, would
eliminate the possibility of hope — after all, if God’s going to do
what he’s going to do and we have no influence, could we have any
expectation of blessing? The answer is quite certainly that we can.
As the psalmist tells us our hope is in his word. We are trusting
the honesty of God; we believe he will do as he has said.
Communion is a ritual portrayal of these
things. By partaking of the body and blood of Christ we acknowledge
that it is not our merit. It is his table; it is his body; it is his
blood. In approaching the communion table we ask forgiveness — and
should be willing to grant it to one and all as He does. It is also
our acknowledgment that we believe him when he says he will return
to judge the living and the dead. And like the psalmist we wait
anxiously for that day.
In the last two verses we see three virtues
which we are to spread to the world:
There is God’s loving kindness, or
There is redemption from sin.
There is hope in his return.
All three of these are portrayed in communion.
In the simplest of rituals is shown God’s most profound mercy and
hope for us.