Psalm 130


In this psalm, the psalmist appears to be deeply repentant of the sins they’ve committed in their lives and so, they plead with the God of all grace to forgive them.


‘A song of ascents.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us this is a song of ascents. Psalms 120-134 all have the same heading.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Several theories of why this group of psalms is so named are available. The Jewish explanation is that there were fifteen steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Men in the Temple, and that each of these psalms was sung in succession on those steps. Another view is that these songs were sung in successive phases of the Jews’ return from captivity. Apparently the true explanation is that these psalms were written for the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. ‘It seems most probable that these songs form a collection for the use of pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts.’

‘Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.’ Psalm 130:1-8

The psalmist begins by crying out to the LORD from the depths of their despair, Psalm 69:2 / Psalm 69:14. Notice they cry out to the LORD, that is Yahweh and the ask the Lord, that is, Adonia to hear their voice, Psalm 5:1.

They ask that the Lord’s ears be attentive to their cry for mercy, in other words, they want the Lord to hear their cry requesting God’s forgiveness.

They acknowledge if the LORD, that is, Yahweh, kept a record of every sin people commit, without grace and forgiveness no man could be saved, Romans 3:9-10 / Romans 6:23.

They acknowledge that without God’s grace and mercy, then no one could stand before the Lord, that is, Adonia, Psalm 1:5 / Romans 14:4.

The psalmist obviously knows God very well, hence, why they declare that with God there is forgiveness. There is nowhere else the psalmist can turn to except God for forgiveness. They want to be forgiven so that they can revere God and serve Him and so, for the psalmist to revere God, they first must obey Him and ask for forgiveness, 1 John 1:7.

After asking for forgiveness, the psalmist is happy to wait for the LORD, with their whole being, they are happy to trust God’s word and put their hope in it.

In other words, while they are waiting, they are happy to remind themselves of God’s great promises of forgiveness which God has revealed in His word. God has promised His forgiveness, and so, we have hope for forgiveness because He has stated that He will remember our sins no more, Hebrews 10:16-17.

Notice again they are waiting upon the Lord, that is, Adonia and the LORD, that is, Yahweh. The psalmist was confident in the forgiveness of God and they are confident in the mercy of God, they are more confident in receiving God’s mercy than the watchman who had confidence that the sun would rise.

If the LORD is gracious enough to forgive the psalmist of their sins, then the LORD is more than willing to forgive those in Israel who also have a repentant heart.

The psalmist encourages the nation of Israel to put their hope in the LORD because, with the LORD, there is unfailing love and full redemption, Isaiah 55:7. They called on all of Israel to come to the Lord for forgiveness.


The psalmist pleaded with God for forgiveness and they encouraged the nation of Israel to do the same. Before the cross, all those who lived under the law of Moses looked forward to the cross, the coming of the Head Crusher, the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15, that is, Jesus, the Messiah.

However, after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ on the cross, everyone now looks back to the cross for forgiveness. We can receive forgiveness today, however, there are certain conditions which must be met.

We must hear God’s Word, Romans 10:17, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, John 3:36, confess His name before men, Romans 10:9-10, repent of whatever sin that is in our lives, Luke 13:3, and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, Mark 16:16.

On the day of Pentecost, after the Jews had been reminded by Peter that they crucified Jesus, Peter tells them that they need to be baptised for the forgiveness of their sins, Acts 2:37-38.

We read that baptism gives us a clear conscience, 1 Peter 3:21, that’s something the old sacrificial system couldn’t give, Hebrews 9:9-10. Even after a person has been baptised for the forgiveness of their sins, they will sin again at some point, therefore another condition for forgiveness is found in confessing our sins to God, 1 John 1:9.

Forgiveness is also conditional upon our willingness to forgive others, Matthew 6:15 / Ephesians 4:32 / Colossians 3:13.

Go To Psalm 131


"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."