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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
     Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
     to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
     Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
     so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
     and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
     more than those who watch for the morning,
     more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
     For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
     and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
     from all its iniquities. (NRSV)


One of the most famous English preachers of the Victorian era, C. H. Spurgeon, was once asked why in his preaching and writing he so vociferously defended the Bible. “Defend the Bible?” he retorted, “I do not defend the Bible. The Bible is like a lion; it defends itself!”

I often find echoes of Spurgeon’s response as I read some of the psalms that deal with the extremities of the human condition, such as fear, guilt, oppression, persecution, loss, and exile. To hear the plaintive voice of the psalmist’s plea in our psalm today, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,” is to encounter the Bible defending itself against charges of irrelevance to modernity or of being of interest only to scholars of the Ancient Near East or the view that in some simplistic sense it is God’s little rule book for how to be nice and go to heaven.

Psalm 130 roars at us—and at God—with the elemental force of liminal existence, and as we read it, we are asked by the book, “What is the nature of the ‘depths’ out of which you cry out to God in your life?”

And always, always, the assurance of our faith: “With the Lord there is steadfast love.”


Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Amen.

Written by Calum I. MacLeod, Executive Associate Pastor and Head of Staff

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