Dr. Jerry A. Collins


We all have our preoccupations: ideas and things that we just can't stop thinking about. We could say that someone who is engrossed or absorbed in something is in a state of preoccupation. You may have a preoccupation with video games or social media, if you can't keep your mind off those things. We have recently been preoccupied with a pandemic and even more recently, with rioting derived from a clash within police and race relations. Preoccupations take up our time and energy; determine our focus and priorities. There is a biblical preoccupation. One that believers must have if they are to orient their lives properly. They should be preoccupied with being glorified. Let this dictate everything in life.



Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications (verses 1-2). We all want that when we are distressed. The Psalm is an appeal to the Lord for desperate help. The need is not specified, but it is acute out of the depths (of hopelessness or despair or fear or sin) v 1. The appeal is to answer prayer. Prayer is communicating messages to God while He is not visibly manifested. Our job is to share the message. Godís job is to answer according to His sovereignty. This critical need is not like the valley of the shadow of death of Psalm 23, but some type of circumstance that seems like being in a pit or valley or miry clay. The trouble was dire; a difficult situation only resolved by shouting out to God I have cried to You, O Lord.


The appeal is urgent Lord, hear my voice! v 2. The point is to plead for God to respond to what the Psalmist is saying. He wants an answer, not merely an audience. He requests let Your ears be attentive giving his desperate cry a more vivid appeal; as if he wants to Lord to lean in and get closer so to hear better. His request to God is to hear and respond to my supplications. This is a petition for God to show him favor. So this is a desperate appeal to God for gracious provision, some type of selective favor, from the Lord in the midst of such personal difficulty. At this point the Psalmist is still in need of a favorable answer, so his prayers are frequent and intense.

Application: Some circumstance may often take us to the place where we have run out of resources. We are at the end of our rope with nothing else to hold onto. Our desperate appeal to God for selective favor at those times of dire need is warranted and valid.



If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared (verses 3-4). The psalmist realized that if God gave people what they deserve no one would be able to survive if You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? v 3. This rhetorical question is intended to affirm that no one could stand if the Lord actually kept sins on the recordóthat is, hold it against them. This understanding motivated the urgency of his request. To mark iniquities means to keep a record of them, and hold the sinner accountable for each one. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). No one, in fact, could escape condemning judgment otherwise. The double repetition of Lord and O Lord underscores the sovereign God from whom the charges come and will be enumerated. No one could survive such searing scrutiny.


This disheartening prospect is contrasted with the reality that there is forgiveness with You [the Lord] v 4. God does not preserve the sins of the penitent; rather, He forgives. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sinsÖ (1 John 1:9). Forgiveness means to excuse and remove sin. The purpose of the forgiveness is that You [God] may be feared. What! Not loved? We fear God because forgiveness comes only from Him. God forgives us in order that we might fear Him, meaning that we might become faithful, obedient worshipers. Your love for God cannot sustain your obedience when your tempted to disagree with God about sin. Your fear of God ensures your obedience, or motivates you to confess your sin to God when you do fall. This One who has power over the soul is to be feared beyond any with power over the body. The good news is there is forgiveness, and the fear of God frees the devout from the fear of condemning judgment.

Application: If God gave any of us what we deserve, we could not survive. Fortunately, Our God forgives sin. He does not keep track of it or the exact punishment for it. We can confess our sins and be forgiven. The fear of God that should keep one from sin and its consequences, is the same fear that should motivate one to confess his sin and be forgiven, though the consequences often remain.



I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning (verses 5-6). The writer purposed to continue to wait for the Lord to deliver him while he reflected on Godís forgiveness. He was eagerly waiting with anticipation and with his entire being I wait for the Lord; my soul does wait v 5. Why can he wait expectantly? Not only is he waiting for the Lord to act and work, he is also hoping in His [Godís] word. Frequent throughout the Psalms is reliance upon and appreciation for Gods Word. Hope in Godís word provides him with the strength or inspiration for waiting. Hope is desire with expectation. So hope assumes the value of desire and that desire should become an expectation when it is promised by the word of God. The idea is that in our dire situation, waiting in hope upon Gods Word calls for constant vigilance, until the hope is realized.


The object of this hope is Godís word. For the Psalmist, this word might be an oracle of forgiveness from the Lord through a priest or prophet declaring the sin removed and punishment abated. Forgiveness would bring relief from the crisis. Or the hope might be deliverance from a distressing hardship or oppression from an enemy. No matter, the object of hope is Gods word. His soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning v 6. The watchman does little more than wait for the morning, checking regularly, anticipating that first bit of dawn, and then the morning light. The writer is entirely focused on looking to the horizon for an answer from the Lord to his appeal.

Application: For the devout believer, his or her hope is entirely in the Word of the Lord. Gods Word, the Bible, is revelation that supplies the mind, heart, and will of God to us. Christianity is based on the supernatural.



O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities (verses 7-8). Here is encouragement to keep hoping in the Lord O Israel, hope in the Lord v 7. He wants the entire nation to know this hope. Apparently, the nation was in the same type of difficulty from time to time as the Psalmist. In either case, losing hope was not an option if they found solace in Gods word. Two reasons for this hope is the lovingkindness of God that availed abundant redemption from the Lord. The devout believer, dealing with life and sin and difficult experiences, need never lose aspiring hope, since Gods loyal love which brings deliverance is always present and active!


This point is reiterated and He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities v 8. The believer can look ahead to the time when the Lord will ultimately deliver his people from their sins, their difficulties and hardships, once and for all. In the meantime, every act of forgiveness; every experience of deliverance, can be viewed as a harbinger of that time when it is all behind us. So Israel is called to keep on hoping, expecting, looking, and anticipating Godís intervention.


For us today, as devout believers, our hope through successive generations is for the rapture, then the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, the warning to us is that we abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming (1 John 2:28). It was all his [Israelís] iniquities that had caused the crisis out of which the writer cries. This is not just redemption from sin alone, but deliverance from crisis or catastrophes often caused by sin of someone else in some way. We often experience chaos and hurt from anotherís sin against God, not only our own sin.

Application: We should live each day as a watchman waiting for the dawning of our new day, namely, our eternal glorification. In the meantime, here on earth, in the midst of our lives, we can cling to Gods forgiveness and deliveranceótwo things we will never need to have again in heaven!


So What?

         Believers are not immune from painful life situations that drive us to our knees. They need to be coped with by hope in the Word of God.

         Since we can often violate the love of God, repentance is necessary for His forgiveness

         Constant prayer, and the need for deliverance and forgiveness is Gods plan now to keep us preoccupied with our eternal hope of being glorified forever