Drilling Through Life’s Pits
Open to Psalm 40, and you will find David feels all alone, abandoned and dejected. Why?
In verses 1-4 we find that he was out of touch with the Lord. His life was defeated. He had yielded to sin. He had cultivated bad habits. He had allowed his circumstances to get him completely down.
Sounds familiar doesn't it?
That is exactly the pathway so many had followed. The good news is that Psalm 40 gives us the map to escape these pits of life. By fleeing to the Lord we find a refuge where we are delivered from constant defeats, besetting sins, crippling habits and paralyzing circumstances. And as we have found each step of the way through this series, the way out is always by fleeing to Christ as our Refuge!
If you feel far from God—check these four areas of your life: what areas defeat you, what sins capture you, what habits control you, and what circumstances drive you? Chances are that one or more of these areas has buried you in a pit, and you are so deep that you no longer can hear the voice of God speaking to your heart through His Spirit, and from His Word.
David's testimony is an invitation for us to find Christ when we are in the pits of life!
David was in a pit under layers of defeats, sin, habits, and circumstances. David was learning how precious it was to hear the Lord’s voice. He speaks in Psalm 40 about how God had to "dig ears for him”.
“My ears You have opened” in Psalm 40:6b in Hebrew is literally “two ears You have dug for me.” David is picturing his desire to reflect Christ's coming obedience and dedication. This is a messianic Psalm, a look ahead through David’s life at the coming Christ.
We saw last week in v. 1-2, that God had to dig through the depths of his defeats and sins. God came to David and had to dig away all the debris that was blocking David’s ability to hear and respond to God’s voice in His Word.
The steep rise in the price of gasoline at the pump has made us all realize the new stage our world has entered—more fuels are needed than are readily available close to the surface.
Many geologists note that there is actually still a vast amount of fossil fuels, it is just getting to them is becoming harder and harder. All that seems to lie in the way is up to three miles of dirt and rock! Digging through all that, especially because drilling two miles deep can go as slow as 4 feet per hour, and when you are trying to travel down another mile—that can take a long time, and can be very costly.
Usually we pay according to how precious, or rare, or hard it is to find an object. The fewer or more difficult places it can be found, the more it costs. That is true with precious stones like diamonds, precious metals like gold, and now precious fossil fuels like petroleum.
In Psalm 40 David confesses for all the world to hear—that he has become buried in the pits of life. And this Psalm is his fleeing to the Lord for refuge. And as we will see, that refuge involves God clearing out, tunneling through, drilling deep, and removing whatever stands in the way of David hearing God’s voice—and responding in submissive obedience.
David was told by the Spirit of God that this would be Christ's desire—and that is the desire that David embraced, even in the deepest pits of discouragement, depression, despair, and loneliness.
No matter what sin tripped him up—David said I want to do your will. I will obey. I will dedicate myself to do your will.
No matter what emotion pushed him down—David said I want to do your will. I will obey. I will dedicate myself to do your will.
No matter what dark thought pierced him through—David said I want to do your will. I will obey. I will dedicate my self to do your will.
No matter what temptation to quit surrounded him—David said I want to do your will. I will obey. I will dedicate myself to do your will.
Even if you are in the pits—nothing can keep you there if you desire to do God’s will with all your heart. Let's join him in Psalm 40 as we read just the opening verses of this struggling young person, living for God—in the pits!
Psalm 40:1-8. Pray the path out of the pits—that would be a great title for this Psalm!
If you have ever been in the pits, or know someone who has—listen and learn. This is a Divine gift to us in God's Word!
Drilling Through Pits
What are the pits David was talking about? There are four possibilities drawn from various eras of David’s life. Remember, David wrote this after the events took place. He is looking back with an inspired view of life. God’s Spirit within him opened his mind and guided his words.
Everything in this Psalm is exactly what the Spirit of God wanted him to say about these times in the pits. Here are the various pits in David’s life that God had to dig out, drill through and remove lots of debris—for David to stay in touch with God.
The pit of defeat: This could be Saul in David’s mind. It was so hard. Saul could never be pleased no matter how hard David tried. Or maybe it was Saul’s bitter hatred and jealousy at David’s success that defeated David, or even the bitter agony and defeat of David’s own son’s betrayal, and attempt to destroy his father which left David in despair. Whatever pulled David into the pit of defeat—God could rescue him.
The pit of sin: This could be on David’s mind as he remembered Bathsheba. Remember how David decided to stay home while he as King was supposed to be leading the army. While enjoying his palace in
The pit of bad habits: We must mortify our proud flesh. When David didn’t, he may have thought of his pride that lured him into the sin of numbering the people (2 Samuel 24). Habits control our lives either for the good or for the bad. Be careful what habits you cultivate in your life—those small things we do over and over again. Make wise choices. William James, in his classic “Principles of Psychology”, put it this way:
Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke or virtue or vice leaves its ever so little scar.
The pit of circumstances: If anyone could wallow in the despair of having all the worst of circumstances, David sure could. When he wasn’t running from Saul, he was fleeing his own countrymen, or the Philistines and everything in between.
David knew that God was watching over every step of his life, he knew God had orchestrated every circumstance to maximize his ability to glorify the Lord! So he joyfully exclaims in Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”
After the Lord dug through those layers of circumstances, David could again hear His voice and feel His presence.
But whenever we think of hard circumstances look at Paul’s life. Turn to 1st Corinthians 4:9-13; 2nd Corinthians 6:4-10; 2nd Corinthians 11:24-28.
1 Corinthians 4:11-13 “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.”
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”
Did Paul stay in the pit of circumstances? No, God drilled down through all those troubles and said something to Paul. Remember what He said?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We didn’t choose and can’t change most of our circumstances—but we can choose our attitude. Paul chose to embrace Christ's gracious offer! This is what David confesses in Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”
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