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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - July 21, 2008

  • 2008 Jul 21
  • COMMENTS
 

Overcoming the Pits of Life

Psalm 40

If you are in the pit of sin there is help available—God is in the business of rescuing us from sin. Flee to Him, cry to Him from your pit and let Him pull you out and put your feet on the Rock. Let’s read to see how David’s pits in his life were used to bring him closer to God.

David Reviewed God’s Work In His Life: Notice five actions that God directed toward David—turned, noticed, heard, lifted, and set. Psalm 40:1-3“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. 2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. 3 He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.

David Reaffirmed His Trust In God: Psalm 40:4-5 “Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. 5 Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.”

David Renewed His Submission To God: Psalm 40:6-8 “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” 

Opened ears are the key to submission to God. This is a dual analogy.  First, the Hebrew word literally means “to dig out”. Notice the other times it is used: 

Genesis 50:5 “My father made me swear, saying, ‘Behold, I am dying; in my grave which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.’ Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father, and I will come back. ” 

Numbers 21:18 “Well the leaders sank, Dug by the nation’s nobles, By the lawgiver, with their slaves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah—”

This is a picture of clearing things out of the way so that the water can flow into the well and to make room for something in the grave. So David says you dug my ears.

Like the wellYou took everything out of my life painful as it was, in these lonely times, so that I could hear Your voice clearly and Your water could flow into my life.

Like the graveYou dug things out of my life so that there was room for You to fill my life. A grave was where they laid what was dearest to them on earth.  God, through excruciating times, is making room in my life to deposit something special.

What a beautiful way to look at hard times. God is tunneling a well of water to refresh me; God is making room to bury into my life His greatest treasures. But that is not all that David shares with us from this time in the pits. There is another exciting picture for us of submission to God.

The second way that David uses this word is to look back at an ancient Mosaic ritual. When slaves had worked their term of service and it was time to be free, they were released to start out on their own. But if the slaves loved their master and their work, they could request a lifetime of servitude. This is covered in a fascinating ritual recorded in:

Exodus 21:1-6 “Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: 2 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. 3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. 5 But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.” (public, painful, and permanent)

For us, this side of the cross is such a moving picture of what God wants from us. He invites us to become His Bondslaves—servants for life. If we are willing we will declare it publicly like Paul does so often—“I want to serve the Lord all my days”.  Then we make some painful choices in life to limit our flesh, discipline our life, and invest in the world to come instead of merely in this world. This offering of our lives is reflected in Romans 12. It is a permanent service that goes through life and lasts forever.

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present (aorist infinitive—remain in the state of) your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed (present imperative “do not allow yourself to get squashed”) to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

David Repeated Truths About God: He is Righteous. Psalm 40:9-10 “I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know. 10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your loving kindness and Your truth From the great assembly.”

As David looked back over his life of loneliness, desperation, sorrow and fear—he saw one truth most clearly, God is Righteous. The key New Testament book on righteousness is Romans—mentioned 66 times we read of God’s righteousness and our need of it. In Romans, Paul declares that God is righteous in the four key areas that matter for eternity:

  • God is righteous in declaring us as hopeless in our sin. (1-2)
  • God is righteous in providing for our salvation. (3-5, 9-11)
  • God is righteous in demanding our sanctification. (6-8)
  • God is righteous in bestowing gifts for our service. (12-16)

So David’s life testifies of God’s righteousness. God is always faithful and what He does is right! So David says God is righteous.

·        God is righteous in my perilous years when I was a fugitive.

·        God is righteous in my prosperous years when I was victorious in every battle and sat upon the Throne.

·        God is righteous in my punitive years when I sinned and God had to chasten me.

·        God is righteous in my peaceful years when I gathered treasures to build the Temple.

Troubles—yes; pessimism—no! Poor and needy—always! That is how I came, that is how I come, and You remain the same Oh Lamb of God!

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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