Out Of The Depths

August 29, 1997

Psalm 130:1 – Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!

A well-known and helpful book on the Psalms by Bernhard Anderson is entitled Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for Us Today. The first part of the title, of course, quotes Psalm 130:1. The second part echoes a comment of the courageous fourth century Christian leader and theologian Athanasius who said that the Psalms have a unique place in the Bible because while most of Scripture speaks to us, the Psalms speak for us. In other words, the unique feature of the Psalms is that they enable us to articulate and to bring before God our deepest feelings – our hopes, our fears, our joys, our sorrows, our guilt, our longings.

It is a sure instinct which has led almost all branches of the Christian Church to appropriate these Old Testament prayers and use them in both public worship and private devotion. Psalm 130 was a favourite of Martin Luther; the reformer Theodore Beza is said to have died with its words on his lips; John Wesley heard it sung as an anthem in St. Paul's Cathedral not long before his experience of having his heart "strangely warmed." Many of us are familiar with it in the Scottish metrical version:

    Lord, from the depths to Thee I cried:
    My voice, Lord, do Thou hear.

There are times when all of us are tempted to think that God doesn't know or care about our situation, times when we are "down" if not "out." This psalm reminds us that even when life is "the pits " God does know and care.

Prayer: Lord, sometimes life is the pits. Help us to remember that even when we're down and our faith is at its lowest ebb, your love and care still surround us. Amen.

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About the author:

Charles Scobie
Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

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