Nothing can stop the Lord answering those who cry out to Him sincerely.
Psalm 130 begins with an anguished cry for the Lord to meet some deep request; it ends with unswerving hope. Sin might separate us for a while but repentance breaks the power of iniquity (straying from or twisting the abundant life that God prescribes for His people) and restores us to God. God forgives His people because of His loving commitment to them.1 Even if iniquity does divert people from God, they can be certain that “He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities”.
It is that assurance that leads to the picture of watchmen, sandwiched in the middle of the psalm.
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
and in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than the watchmen for the morning;
indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. (Ps. 130:5-6)
So, what did morning mean to a watchman?
Watchmen were posted on the walls of a city to warn of attack. Invaders preferred the cover of dark to launch surprise attacks. While the city slept the watchmen bore heavy responsibility for everyone’s safety. A sleeping sentry might face the death penalty.
Watchmen spent the night battling eyestrain, fatigue, fear, cold, loneliness, and boredom. Morning promised warmth. The sun illuminates everything, bringing relief to the eyes and restoring color and texture to a dull, flat world. As dawn began to break, the watchmen could sigh with relief that a raid was now unlikely. The sunrise meant breakfast, a chance to sleep, and time to laugh with family and friends.
We experience the spiritual equivalent of a sigh at sunrise when the Lord breaks through for us after a long wait. An answered prayer; the restoration of His presence; His reassuring voice; all evoke relief in our hearts. If we don’t have complete answers, at least we have perspective on what He is doing. Watchmen never doubt that dawn will come. Every sunrise is unique; but the sun never fails. We can wait on the Lord with even greater assurance that He will come through in His time. “His going forth is as certain as the dawn” (Hosea 6:3). There is no place for hopelessness or doubt. Turn any impatience into expectancy. He will answer.
In light of that assurance, times of waiting in the dark should be exciting. He is preparing us for a breakthrough. God is about to birth a new day in our lives.
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- “Lovingkindness” (NASB) or “unfailing love” (NIV) are common translations of the Hebrew word. [↩]