The Pit

April 10, 2016   Psalm 40:1 -8  The Pit 


     I got the idea of this message from Beth Moore’s book get out of that pit.   What do you think of when you hear the word pit?  Do we generally have a good feeling about the word pit or do we have negative feelings?    I suppose when we think of a pit we may think of a hole or a well.  On occasion in the news there is the story of someone or an animal falling into a pit.   Sometimes the owner will say I never knew it was there.    We might think of a fire pit that contains fire.  I think of the fiery pit.  A pit usually has sides and a bottom.  We also might think of a fruit pit.  Did you ever bite into a cherry pie and find a pit in the pie?  We have heard the phrase the pit of my stomach.  I suppose that means the bottom of my stomach.   We could mention arm pits.  I remember one of the TV shows where a guy was mad at someone so he was making hamburger patties for them using his arm pit.  That was just for laughs.  I suspect generally we do not think of positive things when think of the pit.  The word pit in the bible has a number of meanings. 

     Have you ever been in the pit?  How do you get into the pit?  What are some examples of being in the pit?  Beth Moore shares about a woman who told her that when she was young her father dropped her off on a country road and left her for awhile because she was crying.  He came back and got her thinking that he taught her a lesson.  She learned she could not trust her father.   She struggles with the thought that her husband could walk out and leave her at any time.  That is kind of a pit isn’t it?  The breakup of the family in America is so tragic especially with minorities. 

    We are probably not going to leave this world without being hit by something difficult and putting us in a pit.  There is a few ways to get into the pit.  One way is to have someone throw you there.  Is there an example of that in the bible?  Does that remind you of someone in the bible?   The word pit ion the KJ translation is used about 85 times and the first usage is with Joseph in Genesis.  You remember that his brothers threw him in the pit.  Later Joseph was thrown into prison.  But it was through the prison that he gained not only release but was promoted.   It is painful to have someone throw you into the pit.  There are many people who feel like they are in the pit today from sexual harassment and bullying.  There are many students who live with that virtually every day at school.  

   Satan likes to put people in the pit.  Let’s switch gears to Revelation.  Does Revelation talk about a pit?  The NIV translation calls it the abyss.  The KJ talks about Satan being bound and cast into the bottomless pit.  Satan likes to bind us or put us in a pit and the bible talks about Satan bound and put in a pit.  I think the bible is full of truth and fascinating.  You reap what you sow folks. Satan reaps what he sows.    One of the word usages of pit in the bible is a person who digs a pit to capture or trap another person and then falls in their own pit.   It is also warning to us not to try and trap someone.  The bible has other examples of being thrown into the pit.  Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den.  I would call; that a pit.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace.  Over and over again in Daniel they were in trouble. You could say they were thrown into a pit of sorts and God delivered them. 

    We are in a spiritual war.  We war not against flesh and blood.  We need to put on the armor of God for protection.  Our power is in the word of God our words and our faith.  We overcome the world by our faith I John 5 tells us.   If we say to the mountain to be removed and believe it will be removed.  You have to speak to the mountain.  Of course if someone throws you into the pit or under the bus then you can complain about them.  It is all their fault.  This mess I am in is because he did that to me or she did thus and so to me.   Usually the person goes and tells others about the situation. 

    One way to get into the pit is to have someone throw you there.   I guess in today’s words is someone throws you under the bus.  Another way is for Satan to throw you into the pit.   Both of those situations are tough.    I think another situation is when God allows us to get into a spot.  Jesus in John 6 sent the disciples out on the Sea of Galilee and a storm came up.  The Lord protected them and allowed the storm to show them some things.  Someone said God will tax the last star for his children.  We need to walk in faith when we are in the pit.    Many have been martyred for the name of Jesus.  That is not to be negative but Jesus said his followers would be persecuted. 

     Sometimes we may find our self in the pit not from anyone else but just because of life.  We may get a bad report from the doctor.  As we get older our bodies change and we may not see, hear or function as well.  There can be a lot of pain associated with that.   The house gets older and the car and they need repair or replacing. Maybe we lose a loved one or a loved pet.   Something may happen on the job.   My oldest sons company is in the process of being sold.  Things and life change.   Some day in heaven we will not have these issues but today we must exercise our faith.  . 

   Perhaps the most notable way that we put ourselves in the pit is by doing something stupid.  We do reap what we sow.  There is such a push for money today. I had a few minutes at the doctor’s office and read a sports magazine and 1 article caught my eye.  It was titled under the gun.   The article quoted a book which said they are pushing children to pitch faster and harder.  They are pushing young kids even 9 years old to pitch the perfect game.  Tyler Kalsh in High School could throw a ball 100 MPH.  He signed up with the Marlins for 6 million dollars.  College recruiters are looking at kids in the 7 and 8 grades to recruit to baseball.  Kids that play more than 8 months a year are in danger of surgery because our body is not made to do that.  Those that pitch over 100 games a year are over 3 times more likely to have surgery.   Life can push us beyond what we should do.  I have read where high school athletes that wrestle in an unhealthy way diet to keep in certain weight limits.  I would say that is putting your body in a pit.  Proverbs talks about that.  Do you have any idea what Proverbs says about that?   One verse the strange woman is a deep pit and another verse a narrow pit.  The strange woman is an immoral woman.   Proverbs tells us do not travel that path.    

   I talked to a man recently who said he had been paralyzed by fear.  He could not even work.  He has worked through that but at times he will tell his wife what if we can’t pay our taxes?   What if I can’t earn any more money?  What are we going to do?  They are Christians and she told him where in the world did you get that from?   I do not know if that is from him or from Satan but it is not from God. .  I know God has not given us a spirit of fear.  I would say he experienced some time in the pit.  To me the pit is a place of fear, darkness of soul and anxiety. 

    David said in the Psalm 40 I waited for the Lord and the Lord heard his cry.  God lifted him out of the slimy pit.  This is David a man after God’s own heart.  He was a man who walked with God in the OT.   God pulled him out of the mud and mire and put his feet on a rock.  I do not know what the circumstances were that David is writing about.  Later in Psalm 40 David talks about those that sought his life.  Perhaps he writes this when Saul was pursuing him.  I like Psalm 103:4 he redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion. 

   I do not know what you think but I think we can get into the pit pretty easily today.  I think there is so much going on in the world and in our nation.  This is election year and some are so caught up in it that they spend far more energy on that then on Jesus I believe.  I think we need to pray that God’s person becomes president.  We can get hung up on many things.  I think a number of Christians spend more time on face book than with the Lord.  Some of those posting can bring a lot of anger in our life.  I was impressed with one person who said I am getting off face book for awhile because I need to. I see face book as a tool which can be bad or good.   There is so much going on around us in society, in our family in our work with our children that if we are not careful Jesus is no longer the center of our life.  I do not think that it is good when Jesus is crowded out of our life.   Many Christians do not have time for Jesus.  To me that is being in the pit.  That can be a trap and I believe with all my heart that God is speaking to us today.  Stay focused on Jesus.   Jesus is your first love.  Your life is not right without Jesus.  Face book will not fill your soul your spiritual inter being.  Movies will not fill your soul.   Some people may have a different opinion.  

    To me the pit sucks the light out of my life.   To me the pit sucks the life out of a person.  It takes the joy away.  Faith gives way to depression and discouragement.  We can lose our direction in life because we are not hooked into our director.   Satan is a master at getting the Christian side tracked.  He likes to get us off center.  Satan would steal your light and your joy.   Satan would steal your walk with Jesus.   I Peter 5 says humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.   Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.    Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.   Resist him, standing firm in the faith.   Is your cup full today?  Is your spiritual cup full today?   

    The pit may become home to us.  We can get used to the pit whatever it is.  In the pit we may put up a sign home sweet home.  I am sure that I spend some time in the pit week by week but I do not want to call it home sweet home.  I do not always walk in full faith.  Sometimes I get discouraged and feel over whelmed.   I am a human being.  Maybe there are some here who are always on track.   Some folks may begin to look forward to their pit.  That is where we live emotionally.   Some folks wallow in their pain.   Sometimes we like to nurse our grudges, our fears and our anger.  When you have been hurt I find that it easy to focus on that.  It is so easy to focus on injustice.  The world is full of injustice.   I think we may need to look at the things that upset us and monitor the time that is spent on those things.

   The good news is you do not have to live in the pit.  I do not have to live in the pit.  I can climb out of the pit.   God does not want us to live there.  I remember the story of the donkey that fell into a pit.  The farmer tired and tried and tried to get him out.  Finally he decided to bury him in the pit and so he started throwing dirt in the pit and after awhile the old donkey would shake the dirt off and stamp his hoofs in the dirt and you know what happened.  Eventually the donkey walked out of the pit.  God wants us to live on a higher plane.  To get out of the pit you have to fight.  How hard you have to fight depends on the pit that you are in and how long you have been living there.   We have to change our thoughts.  You can’t keep doing what you have been doing and expect different results.   We need to change what we feed ourselves on.  We need to focus on Jesus.  We need to meditate on the word of God.   We need to focus on how to help someone else out. 

    In Acts 16 Paul and Silas are whipped and thrown into prison.  It is mid night and they are singing.   Are they in the pit?  Well certainly physically but they are singing and praising God.  I guess you can say that you can be in the pit and yet not in the pit.  They get one of those get out of jail free.  Things begin to shake and bake you might say and they get out of jail free.  I suspect that the angel of the Lord was there as everyone’s chains became lose.   Do you think Jesus was ever in the pit?   Things were difficult at times for Jesus but I think he always had his eye on the Father. 

    In conclusion I am going to share an illustration.   In an interview with Lee Strobel, Peter Kreeft concludes that the answer to suffering is not an answer at all. “It’s the Answerer,” says Kreeft.  “It’s Jesus himself.   It’s not a bunch of words, it’s the Word.   It’s not a tightly woven philosophical argument; it’s a person.   The person.  The answer to suffering cannot just be an abstract idea, because this isn’t an abstract issue; it’s a personal issue. It requires a personal response.  The answer must be someone, not just something, because the issue involves someone — God, where are you?”   — Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith (Zondervan, 2000).    Job never got his questions answered from God yet he was satisfied and humbled with his encounter with God.  God wants to use whatever pits you may be in or have had for good thing