Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
This Psalm, most likely written by David at a time of great distress such as during the aftermath of his affair with Bathsheba or while being hunted down by King Saul, provides a deeply powerful Psalm that all of us can relate too as we wrestle with sin and its effects, or as we struggle with life circumstances that can sneak up and hit us like a tsunami.
There is so much packed into each verse in this Psalm, that its tough to pick out just one thing. We see a model for how to approach God, a God who hears the cries of his children like a mom can pick out her child’s cry in a crowded room. We see what a privilege it is to serve God. We see a God who knows the depth of our sins and the acknowledgement that not one of us can stand before the blazing light if his holiness and perfection. We also see God’s amazing grace pictured beautifully in the Old Testament.
This grace shows up powerfully in the names of God that are used in this Psalm. The writer alternates between 2 different words for God. They show up in our English Bibles as LORD (notice the all caps) and Lord. In Hebrew, they are Yahweh and Adonay. Yahweh (or Jehovah) essentially means, “the self-existent, eternal One.” Adonay (or Adonai) is much more personal. It means “my Lord.” It implies mutual connection—relationship.
The one true God is automatically Yahweh, but he is not automatically Adonay. Here’s what I mean. We don’t have to acknowledge his Yahweh-ness, but he’s still Yahweh. Adonay, on the other hand, requires a relationship. Every other world religion, cult, or philosophy has, at its center, an impersonal God, a nebulous force, or a being who requires us to perform in order to win favor. True Biblical Christianity, on the other hand, is a relationship where the Creator of all things died for the created things (you and me) so that He could have fellowship with them in a personal loving relationship.
If you have tried to get to God by any other means, please let this sink in. We can never work enough to reach God. We will never be good enough to get into Heaven. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. If you haven’t yet done so, would you pray right now to make Yahweh your personal Adonay? If God seems distant, cold, demanding, or scary—its time for you to know the Truth. His name is Jesus. He died for you just as a good earthly father would die to save his kids.
As you commit your prayers and struggles to the Lord, start with the ultimate baseline—a real relationship with the Savior so you can call him “my Lord.” It’s as simple as inviting Him in and recognizing that although our sins put Him on the cross, that same cross erased our sin. Yahweh is a gentleman. He won’t force his way in. He doesn’t want robots, he wants a real relationship and he literally died to know you.
If you want this relationship, pause right now and pray to invite him in and accept the gift he’s been holding out to all of humanity for 2000 years with arms wide open. Then, from that baseline you can begin to pray for breakthrough, life-change, and other specific prayers!