Read: Psalm 130

. . . that you may be feared (v. 4)

We all know what it’s like to cry out to God for help when we’re in the depths of sickness or sorrow. But here the pit is one the psalmist has dug for himself through his own sin. And we’re all in there with him. God could show us things about ourselves that would make us collapse in shame. If the Lord chose to mark our iniquities, if he published a report card detailing every one of our sins—every nasty thought, every angry or hurtful word, every misdeed and failure—it would flatten us.

“But with you there is forgiveness . . .” (v. 4). Has there ever been a more beautiful statement of the gospel? Yet there is a twist: “. . . that you may be feared.” There it is again, the response that’s so important for biblical believers. Not “that you may be praised” (though we do), not “that we may be thankful” (though we are), but “that you may be feared.” We never treat forgiveness lightly.

The psalmist knew that God would somehow erase all the bad marks against us and enable us to stand before him, justified and forgiven. What he couldn’t know is how God would do that. For that we turn to the apostle: “And you, who were dead . . . God made alive together with [Christ], having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13-14). Thanks be to God! —David Bast

As you pray, bless the Lord for his wonderful forgiveness.