A song of degrees
Hoping for deliverance
1: Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. 2: Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. 3: If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 4: But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. 5: I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. 6: My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. 7: Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. 8: And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
A song of degrees of David
1: LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. 2: Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. 3: Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.
Today we are reading the 11th and 12th Psalm of the Degrees, No 130 & 131. In this Psalm Hezekiah is described as shut in the city like a ‘bird in a cage’. Sennacherib had surrounded Jerusalem and held the whole city captive. But the Lord had enabled Hezekiah and thousands with him to escape like birds from a cage. This expression is found on the Cylinder of Sennacherib 607-583BC which can be found in the British Museum. This cylinder of clay describes the eight military expeditions of Sennacherib and it contains these words, quote..
I fixed upon him And of Hezekiah (the king of) Jews, who has not submitted to my yoke… …(Hezekiah) himself like a caged bird within Jerusalem his royal city, I shut in etc.
See Psa 124v7 ‘Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers. The snare is broken, and we are delivered’.
This Psalm of David is taken by Hezekiah to describe his day but originally it described the time when David was shut up into the high fortresses of the mountains.
Hezekiah begins saying out of the depths of my distress I cried to the LORD. He says Lord hear my voice and let your ears listen carefully to the sound of my prayers. He says if the Lord took specific notice of every sin then were would any man stand? But you forgive men so that they will fear you. He says, I will wait on you and in your promises I have hope of deliverance. I long for you more than those who long for the dawn to break. May all Israel hope in the LORD because in the Lord there is mercy and he has plenty of redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities. Apart from the immediate deliverance there is a prophetic hint to the salvation of Israel prior to the kingdom. In Psalm 131 we have the city of Zion held captive by Sennacherib, but some have escaped. 200,150 were taken captive when they made a bid to escape but the rest eventually were delivered. This little Psalm of only three verses is a Psalm expressing Hezekiah’s humility. He says, Lord my heart is not proud nor do I have a superior attitude. Nor do I do ‘great things’. I have been quite, like a child that is now weaned of his mother. No more crying for milk. So let all Israel set their hope in the LORD from this time forward and forever.