Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Advent Inspiration from The High Calling: Waiting for Forgiveness

Waiting for Forgiveness:
A Devotion for the Second Sunday of Advent

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins,
     who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
     that we might learn to fear you.

Psalm 130:3-4


Psalm 130 begins with a desperate cry for help. The psalmist calls out
to God “from the depths of despair” (v. 1). We do not know the exact
predicament in which the psalmist found himself, but we do know that it
was related to his sin: “LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O
Lord, could ever survive?” (v. 3). Implied within this statement is an
understanding that our sins are so numerous and appalling that we
deserve to die because of them.


But that’s not the end of the story. Verse 4 continues: “But you
offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.” No matter how much
we have sinned, we have hope because God is merciful. He forgives and
restores. Notice the unexpected result of our forgiveness: “that we
might learn to fear you.” You might think that the experience of
forgiveness would lead to taking God for granted. In fact, however, when
we truly grasp the import of our sin, and when we truly realize the
wonder of God’s forgiveness, the more we will be drawn to reverence. We
will bow before the Lord in humble worship and live our lives in service
to him.


In Psalm 130, the fact that God forgives and restores fuels the
psalmist’s hope: “I am counting on the LORD; . . . I have put my hope in
his word. I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn”
(vv. 5-6). The psalm writer yearns for the day when God will forgive,
not just his sin, but also the sin of Israel. On that day, “He himself
will redeem Israel from every kind of sin” (v. 8). Thus, the psalmist
urges Israel to “hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is unfailing
love” (v. 7).

The hope of Psalm 130 is an Advent kind of hope. The psalmist is
hoping, waiting, aching to experience God’s forgiveness and redemption.
In the season of Advent, we remember how God’s people once yearned for a
Savior who would restore their nation. We also get in touch with our
own need for forgiveness and renewal. Though the situation is quite
different from that of the writer of Psalm 130, we also put our hope in
the Lord and long for him. We too need him to put our lives back
together. We too need to experience the new life he alone can give.
Thus, Psalm 130 helps us prepare for a rich celebration of the birth of
the Savior who will indeed bring God’s forgiveness and redemption to the
world . . . including you and me.


reflect on the reality of God’s forgiveness through Christ. How do you
respond to the fact that God forgives all of your sin? How does this
truth help you to fear the Lord, that is, to revere him and humbly
worship him?

PRAYER: Gracious God, like the psalmist, there have
been many times when I cry out to you from the depths of despair, times
when I beg you to hear my prayer and pay attention to me. Thank you for
being there, for listening, for making yourself known to me.


Yes, it’s true, Lord, that if you kept a record of my sins, I’d be
without hope. But in fact you are gracious and merciful. You do forgive.
Thus I hope in you. I trust you with my present and my future.

To be sure, there is still more to be redeemed in my life. May your
forgiveness and healing touch every part of me. May I live each moment
out of reverence for you, offering myself to you as a living sacrifice.

Thank you, dear Lord, for the season of Advent, for the opportunity
to be reminded of just how much I need you. All praise be to you, Amen.


Would you like to receive a Daily Reflection like this one in your email inbox each morning? 


Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God ( You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Mark D. Roberts. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration ...

posted 2:09:11pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Conclusions
In this series on the death of Jesus, I have presented four different perspectives on why Jesus had to die: Roman, Jewish, Jesus’, and Early Christian. I believe that each of these points of view has merit, and that we cannot fully understand ...

posted 2:47:39am Apr. 11, 2011 | read full post »

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling
Can We Find God in the City? Psalm 48:1-14 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that ...

posted 2:05:51am Apr. 10, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 3
An Act and Symbol of Love Perhaps one of the most startling of the early Christian interpretations of the cross was that it was all about love. It’s easy in our day, when crosses are religious symbols, attractive ornaments, and trendy ...

posted 2:41:47am Apr. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 2
The Means of Reconciliation In my last post, I examined one of the very earliest Christian statements of the purpose of Jesus’ death. According to the tradition encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus died “for our sins in accordance with ...

posted 2:30:03am Apr. 07, 2011 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.