“Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord!
O Lord: hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness that You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Ps 130:1-6
The Psalmist is being candid about his turmoil. In anguish he cries to the Most High God by doing what? Being transparent about his heart and recounting doctrine.
Soundbites are so much easier. I am subjected to them all the time. When I watch the politicking talking heads on the news shows I hear the same bit phrases over and over. After a very short while I get frustrated and ask the TV: “Be specific, show examples, explain why, and stop throwing the same meaningless phrases out there!” What I see is these constant phrases being tossed out into the public and hoping that the listeners are interpreting the meaning the same way. Doesn’t always happen…
As a believer for a few years now, I have seen the same thing out of contemporary Christianity. Spiritual soundbites lifted from the Scriptures and repeated over and over again-more than a few times lifted out of context because oh boy, do they sound good! Jason preached on that a few months ago.
Doctrine, though, seems to get a bad rap. While not ever replacing Scripture, doctrine serves to analyze, categorize, deduce, and understand the Scriptures: their themes, teachings, precepts and principles. To be fair, doctrine also reins in speculations, deviations from sound doctrine, and spotty independent thinking and practice-things that smack of legalism.
The Psalmist isn’t having any of that; he is crying out with sound doctrine peppering his cries that I certainly cannot dredge out of my heart on any moment’s notice. I recognize the doctrine of Sin, the doctrine associated with the Attributes of God, the doctrines associated with Mercy and Forgiveness, and more. I revert to trying to quickly figure out how to escape my troubles independently from God. Pray? Wait? (Note: either as a servant to his Master or in exercising patience). Wait hoping in his Word? Who does that anymore? Many times I don’t; even when I try this mode of action gets abandoned quickly because it is much more satisfying doing something-frankly I succumb to thinking praying (even fervently) isn’t really “doing something.”
Learning and knowing about Doctrine isn’t the entire answer either. Like after school, what we do with that knowledge defines how well a student we were. For folks like us, being a disciple means learning all my life until That Day when I stand before the Throne and more than likely for the rest of Eternity.
So what will I do? When I am in the depths of despair, anguish, and trouble I will cry to the Lord. I will not stop my cry but repeat it for His ears over and over again. I will acknowledge my iniquity and His deserved Wrath but also acknowledge His profound mercy in forgiving me. And I will wait patiently, wait as a servant for his Master; I will cultivate waiting fearfully and hope in His Word.
Father God. Is there one thing that messes up my thinking of You than the subject of fearing You? And yet, the more I learn about You, the more I understand fearing You. The scripture testifies of the inevitability of falling down in fear on That Day, on which I will tremble being in Your Presence. And yet, You will open Your arms and welcome me, redeemed by the Lamb, adopted as a child.
Help me to pray like the Psalmist; not just mimicking his pattern of prayer (although I probably couldn’t go wrong there) but imitating the depth of his praying. I want to know You more and the power of the Cross. AMEN.