There are a group of Psalms called the Psalms of Ascent which are we believe devotional songs that were sung as pilgrims went “up” to Jerusalem for the great feasts. They are also variously called Gradual Psalms, Songs of Degrees, Songs of Steps or Pilgrim Songs, songs for the road. Psalm 130 is fascinating because it starts in the “depths” and ends in a great Gospel proclamation.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
The answer lies of course in the fact that there is no other cause for the problems and the difficulties of life than our own sinfulness and therefore there is no other help than the forgiveness of God. We get ourselves in the depths but can’t get our unless God lifts us out. Psalm 103 states that God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. The reason is His great mercy and love for us. That love sent Jesus to the cross to be lifted up so that everyone who believes in Him might have everlasting life. Jesus goes into the depths that we might be lifted up forever.
That is why Luther called the Psalm the proper Doctor and master of Scripture. It is pure Gospel and anchors our hope in mercy not self justification.
Tonight at Zion and Trinity we meditate on this Psalm as the last of our Lenten devotions.