Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent

Day 15: The Active Discipline of Hope

Scripture Reading: Psalm 130

The Christian life is a climb—a journey of constant growth, sacrifice, and trusting God for what we cannot see. As Eugene Peterson said, we are pilgrims, but we are also disciples—always moving and always learning. The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) were sung by worshipers as they made the journey up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. In this 3-week reading plan, we are digging into these traveling songs with the help of short summary essays and thoughtful, reflective questions for each psalm. Take your pack on your shoulder and walk with us as we pursue God together.

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Psalm 130 (CSB)
AWAITING REDEMPTION
A song of ascents.

1 Out of the depths I call to you, LORD!
2 Lord, listen to my voice;
let your ears be attentive
to my cry for help.

3 LORD, if you kept an account of iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that you may be revered.

5 I wait for the LORD; I wait
and put my hope in his word.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning —
more than watchmen for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the LORD.
For there is faithful love with the LORD,
and with him is redemption in abundance.
8 And he will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

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A Song of Hope
The pilgrim-disciple cries out from the depths, placing his hope in God’s forgiving love.

This is a song of repentance for not trusting in the forgiveness God offers. If God were to hold our sin against us, we could not enter into His presence. But God’s mercy beckons us to come to Him. The God who forgives is to be revered and trusted. We depend on God, and in Christ He gives us everything we need to know Him and worship Him without fear.

Reflect
1. The opening verse of this psalm has an urgency to it. The pilgrim-disciple is asking the Lord to hear his cries for mercy. What is typically your most urgent prayer? Why?

2. Do you believe your sin makes it so that, apart from God’s mercy, you could not stand before Him? Do you believe He shows mercy and forgives? Why or why not?

3. This is a corporate song—one believers would sing together. What impact would it have on a community if every member believed they needed God’s mercy, and trusted that God gives it? In what ways do you add strength to your community by believing in the mercy and forgiveness we have in Christ?