Imagine if God kept record of sins. Warehouses of files, stored as evidence of our foolish behavior, our shameful thoughts. What if He decided to expose all of it? The court is in session.You, the guilty one, seated and ashamed, await the verdict.
Breaking the dreadful silence, the judge announces that the records have been destroyed, never to be retrieved. The action against you is closed and will never be reopened. Case dismissed!
You are stunned to hear further that the judge himself wiped out the files. The one you feared is responsible for your release. Strangely, it causes you to fear him, honoring his greatness and kindness.
The psalmist cried out, not as one calling to a casual friend, but one pleading for mercy from a holy God: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy” (Psalm 130:1,2).
Then revelation breaks through: “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared” (3,4). Peace replaces anguish.
Those who see God as righteous and discover afresh free forgiveness do not take advantage of this kindness. We don’t pull out the forgiveness card every time we step over the line, so we can step over again. God’s goodness has led us to repentance.
Then the posture changes from crying out in need to waiting in confidence. “Wait” occurs five times in two verses: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning” (5,6).
How do they wait? Actively, hopefully. Morning will dawn shortly, anchoring the soul in mercy rather than dread of revenge. Those who think God is punishing them for something they did a decade ago are not worshiping the God of the psalmist. He hopes for what he knows—a rich future in sync with compassion.
He grows so confident that he wants to go public: “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love, and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (7,8). Why keep this news to himself? He knows of others oppressed by guilt, weighed down by shame. So he is crying out again, but this time to fellow Israelites, that sins need not keep a broken sinner from a merciful God.
We don’t ignore the need to cry out as if sin doesn’t matter. We avoid the tendency to muffle it with busyness, food or success. Guilt can drive us crazy, so we go to the one place where it can be properly disposed. And once again, contrary to our condemning heart, we find a God who quiets the fear of a criminal sentence. We discover afresh a deeply liberating truth—God does not keep score! So by sheer grace, neither do we.