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Getting Out Of A Pit: Patience, Trust, And The Heart

The Psalms contain an abstract of life. Psalm 40, usually attributed to David, is an example.

David was in trouble. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry, He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV)

Have you ever been in a grimy pit? Unfortunately, we struggle with what David did to escape his pit. Patience is difficult in our world. When we need something, immediacy is our mantra. Come on, God, hurry up! Give me relief!

In verse 4, David succinctly explained what his patient waiting produced: trust in the Lord. Trust in God doesn’t appear suddenly. It requires the deliberate development of an abiding relationship with God — a relationship that isn’t put on a shelf once we’re out of the pit, but one that endures through thick and thin.

In verses 6-10, David realized a key to this kind of relationship. It didn’t come through ritual — burnt and sin offerings. It came from God who placed his law in an open heart, which was also filled with God’s righteousness, faithfulness, and love.

Beginning in verse 11, it appears that David was in more trouble. This time, he said, “[C]ome quickly to help me.” Everyone wants quick help from God. David had a lasting kinship with God. His heart was filled with trust in God. Even so, God’s help can still take patience and time as measured on God’s clock.

Sometimes, our hearts must be renewed, so that God can lift us up again, give us a firm place to stand, and put a new song in our mouths.

2 comments… add one
  • Ellis Thomas March 18, 2016, 9:11 AM

    Can’t we relate David’s slimy pit to the pit of the whale’s stomach, in which Jonah was praying to God?! They are so much the same! How easy it would have been for the Lord to say, “Okay, well Jonah obviously doesn’t want to do my bidding, so I’ll just choose someone else.” Isn’t that just another true testament to God’s plan for our lives? He surely did not choose someone else…. he had planned this perfectly for Jonah. I think this is relatable to us because at some point in our lives, we will always find ourselves in a slimy pit (just hopefully not in the stomach of a whale), and it’s important to realize that our slimy pit is our time to draw nearer to the Lord; ask him to do a work in our hearts to truly believe that what we are going through was planned for us all along. If Jonah can be thankful in the belly of a whale, we too can be thankful for our circumstances, even if they aren’t on our time! Acts 1:7 “He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set for you by his own authority.'”

    • John B. Phillips March 19, 2016, 10:01 PM

      This is a great way to tie two posts together. As always, your insight is very good and much appreciated. It is so hard for most of us to wait on God’s time or to believe in our heart of hearts that God’s time is really not our own.

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