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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1320

Out of the Slimy Pit
Part One

January 21, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: My mind has gone, since Wednesday night, to a Scripture that Brother Danny read in the service and it was from Psalm 40. And I just wanted to focus for a little bit on the…mainly the first three verses, but there’s a lot of simple truth…I don’t think there’s anything that is going to be revolutionary, in terms of we haven’t heard this before, but there’s a reality, there’s something that David brings into great focus within just a very short passage.

And, if it’s not relevant to you this morning, it will be, or it has been. But I believe that we need to understand something of the Lord’s ways and something about what life is about. And so, I’ll just read the scripture first.

“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. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” (NIV).

It’s interesting that one of the songs we sang this morning was taken from this scripture. But the subject, obviously, has to do with what is referred to in verse 2, because that is the occasion for verse 1. If there were no pit, there would be no verse 1. And so, the pit is really the center and the starting point of this and the fact is that many of us, in the course of our lives, will experience the pit, in some form or other. We’ll be in a place that’s dark.

There’s actually the sense, in some of these original Hebrew words, and I don’t know anything much about Hebrew, but anyway, I’m told this, that there is the sense, in some of these words about even it being noisy. It’s a place where, not only is it dark and uncomfortable and something that we would never choose, but sometimes there’s a whole lot of noise that goes on. How many of you know what I’m talking about?

( congregational response ).

You’re in a place, and it might not be hearing with these ears, but there’ll be stuff screaming in your head that isn’t good! But whatever it is, David is talking about a place that surely he would never have chosen, would he?

And yet, we see the hand of God, from the very time that he was anointed to be the future king of Israel, until the time that he actually became the king of Israel, and really thereafter, there were times where he was in something that could be properly described as a pit. It was a dark place. It was an uncomfortable place.

But it’s not just a pit, it’s a slimy pit. It’s one where there’s no firm footing. There is no getting yourself out of it, is one of the main things. This is a place of helplessness, where we are brought, certainly not by our own will, but through the circumstances of life, and of course it could represent many types of things, depending on God’s purpose and God’s plan for our particular course in life.

Many times our experience leads to places like this. And I’m so thankful that it leads out of them too, doesn’t it? There’s a completeness to this story that gives us a picture, not only of the pit itself, but where God’s going with it. And that makes all the difference. Because if we just think of life as, oh my God, I’m gonna wind up in a terrible place and that’s the end of it, then it can be pretty discouraging. But no matter where God allows us to be, no matter what He allows us to experience in our lives, I’ll tell you, for those who are looking to the Lord, who have their trust in Him, it’s always for a good and a redemptive purpose. It’s for something that God wants to accomplish in us.

And, you think of some of the things that David had to go through…being hunted. There was already a king on the throne in Israel when the Lord anointed him and he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to leave. And so, he became very, very jealous and really the Devil began to gain a greater and greater influence in his life and he actually, in spite of the fact he knew in his heart of hearts what the real deal was…he knew he’d been rejected, he knew David had been chosen, still there was a spirit in him that drove him to try to kill David!

And several points in David’s life he was literally on the run from the army of Israel! I mean the whole army! The king and his army was out to capture David and the followers that had come to be with him, and he had a few hundred people that they themselves had gotten to a place where they felt like their allegiance was with him. But there he was.

You remember the one time where Saul’s army was going along one side of a hill, or a mountain, a large hill, I guess, and David’s army was creeping along the other side, trying to keep out of his way. Another time David was trapped in the back of a cave, waiting to get out and hopefully they’d just go away.

And time and again he was in places where there was no human way he could extricate himself. God literally shut him up, to a dependence upon God. And, sometimes that’s the way the pit manifests itself. It is in some outward circumstance where we realize we’re not in control. We realize that God’s got us here and we try to extricate ourselves through what we think we can do, how we think, you know, trying to manipulate situations and people and trying to just get out of it. I mean, that’s our nature, isn’t it? We don’t like difficulty. We don’t like adversity.

But anyway, David…things got so bad that he actually had to go and live among the Philistines! I mean, you think about the reality of what was going on there. Here he was, a great warrior—had been a great warrior for Israel against the Philistines, and now to save his own life he has to go over and join them. And he ingratiates himself with one of the rulers there and proves that he’s not really an enemy to them, at this time. And so they allow them to settle in a city called Ziklag and they had their own community there.

And then there comes a time when…you know the story we’ve used many times where the Philistines are going to war with Israel. And so, the ruler of his particular area of Philistia calls David, come on, let’s go to war. And so David shows up and all the rest of the Philistine warriors said, do you have any idea who this is? We’re not going into battle with him. He’s gonna get in the middle of the battle and he’s gonna change sides! And so, send him home! You know, you get a warrior all ready to go and then you send him home, that doesn’t work too well, does it?

( congregational response ).

How many guys can relate to that? So anyway, they’re sent home and they’re grumbling all the way about it. And so they travel for two or three days and get there and they’re exhausted, and they get there and there’s no ‘there’ there. Somebody has come and burnt the whole city down, taken every one of their wives, their children and they’re gone! And they’re exhausted and they’re talking about stoning David. And you know, that’s quite a pit to be in.

And what’s interesting to me is that, for all David had been through, this was like the last event. This was the last pit, let’s say, that God had put him in prior to his actually ascending to the throne. Do you see the hand of God dealing with him in a way that he learned something?

And you know, that’s a major part of any pit that we find ourselves in is God wants to teach us things. And it’s seemingly, because of human nature, there are things we can’t learn any other way. We’d love to get in a seminar and reduce Christianity to a seminar where we just learn it all and we make good notes and then we got it! But that doesn’t really change this. It takes real life. It takes something that challenges everything upon which we have built our way of life and our way of thinking.

And so, you get in a pit and all of a sudden you can’t extricate yourself, there’s nowhere else to go but up—nowhere else to look but up. And you know, we learn about ourselves, is the biggest thing. How many of you have been in a pit and you had your way of thinking and your way of doing and you got in a place where, all of a sudden, you had to come face to face with the fact the way you think is not right?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! All of a sudden we realize, hey, my whole way of looking at things, my whole way of life has been founded on lies, and I’m in a situation where nothing that I ever thought was right is working. And I can’t do anything about it! Oh my God, help me to face…you know, here’s my heart, speak what is true. This is one of those cases where, God help us, because we just will not do it, many times, until we’re backed into a corner! And so, God’s mercy is to put us in places where we have nowhere else, as I say, to look but up!

And David knew that, in this circumstance, didn’t he? Because when everybody else was turning away from him, it seemed, that he found comfort in God. He remembered…he had been through enough, coming up to this, where he knew that when I get in this kind of a situation it’s because God knows about it.

God is not against me, He’s for me, He’s with me! I have trusted Him before and I’m trusting Him again, and I’m looking to Him in this circumstance! Lord, you have arranged all of this so I’m gonna ask God about this. I’m not just going to grumble and turn away. I’m gonna ask God, Lord, what should we do about this circumstance?

And God gave him an answer, didn’t He? Now that was a very quick answer. It isn’t always that way. But God gave him an answer. Yeah, you go after those guys, you’re gonna be able to take care of business. And they did and God actually enriched them through a circumstance that made it look like the end had come. And so, I’ll tell you, there’s a lesson in that. But this is written…this Psalm was written by somebody who knew what he was talking about!

( congregational amens ).

He didn’t learn this in Bible School. He learned it in the arena of life, having to be in a place where he felt like every natural consideration that he would try to…here’s a place I can stand. Whoops, my foot slipped. Here’s another place. Here’s something else I know! Oh, I know about this…whoops, that didn’t work either. Oh, I know who can help me. I’ll call on so-and-so, and that doesn’t work. And no matter what you do, you realize you ain’t getting out of this through your own efforts. This is something where we’re gonna have to call on God!

( congregational praise ).

Amen! Thank God for bringing us this way! But you know, we talked recently about the sovereignty of God…that He plans, He knows every day of our lives. And you know, if you look at that and say, oh, adversity is bad, God’s mean, or God’s punishing me, or something of that nature, I’ll tell you, you don’t see His heart. And I believe one thing God wants us to see in this is His heart toward us.

And what He’s dealing with is the reality of how terrible and how relentless human nature is! Unless He does something to put it to death and replace it with something better, we’re gonna go right on our merry way right into disaster and death. I mean, there’s no other answer! It took the Cross!

( congregational amens ).

It took Him hanging on a tree! There was no other way to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in us! My God, do we not realize how serious it is?

( congregational response ).

How serious…the seriousness of the things that God has to bring us through. So, it could be that kind of a circumstance. You know, you see that in other places in the Scriptures. You see where Jeremiah was a prophet at, really, at one of the worst times in Israel’s history. He had to sit there…started in the reign of Josiah and prophesied right through all of what Nebuchadnezzar did in three different campaigns against Jerusalem. Finally got sick and tired of it and destroyed the city. And they still were rebelling against God! And he’s having to live through this and tell them the truth!

And how many of you remember one time they got so sick of it, they put him in a pit? And he sunk up to his arm pits in mud! And it was a cistern meant to hold water but there was a lot of mud but no water. And the Lord, even there, rescued him, didn’t He?

And the Lord had to use somebody who wasn’t even an Israelite to go to the king and say, hey, they’ve put him in a pit, he’s gonna to starve to death down there if you don’t do something. And so, they bring him out. But I’ll tell you, that was a real circumstance, wasn’t it? There was nothing he could do about it except, oh God, I’m in your hands. Praise God!

And you think about…we’ve used Corrie ten Boom so many times, but it’s a real circumstance. She didn’t ask to be put in a hell-hole of a German prison camp in World War II. And it was a brutal place! It was where they’d…it was particularly a concentration of women who were weak and helpless and some of them on up in age. She was middle-aged. She and her sister were in their 50’s.

And it was brutal! They just seemed to go out of their way to enjoy tormenting the women and some of them, many of them died. It was just an awful place, to the point to where Corrie’s sister Betsie said, with her accent, ‘ve are in hell!’ And she wasn’t kidding. This was a godly woman who realized, boy, we have reached the bottom!

But you know, Corrie even referred to it, after the war, as a pit, didn’t she? So she looked back and she saw that God had, in His wisdom and in His purpose, had allowed her to be in a place where there was nothing they could do but just lift their hands and say, oh God!

But you know, a pit is not only an outward circumstance, is it? I mean, we could have people here this morning, and I’m not aware of anything particularly, but we could have people here this morning, and to somebody looking on, your life looks perfectly normal. But inside, you’re in a pit! There are things going on in your mind and your emotions.

There may be devils that are screaming their lies and their tormenting thoughts in your mind, and you’re having to deal with that. And it just…all you see, emotionally, is just blackness and darkness and you don’t know where to put your foot and what to believe and how to think. I’ll tell you, often times they go together, don’t they? You get in a bad circumstance and then the Devil piles it on! But it could be both.

You see that in Jeremiah as well. I mean, you read the book of Lamentations? That was not a happy book! This is Jeremiah just pouring out his soul with the awfulness of what he was seeing. Thank God there were these little expressions of faith! His mercies, “…are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (KJV). So that was in there, too! But still, there was this awful sense.

And it wasn’t…some of it, certainly, was the circumstance out there. But I’ll tell you, you read the book of Jeremiah and you will see times when he was pretty down. At least twice I remember reading about where he was, basically, cursing the day he was born. You know, woe to the guy who said a child is born, and woe to the mother…why did I come out of the womb, basically. You know, he had so much to deal with in his life and it takes a toll, emotionally, on us!

And you know, we’re still in a vulnerable place where our emotions are so attuned to our own personal well-being and to what’s going on around us. And we’re living in a realm where the Devil can still talk to us. And I’ll tell you, if we listen—if we listen, we’re gonna get in a very, very dark place!

And so, many times that’s where the pit is coming. What are you listening to? What are you thinking? What are you believing? It can be a place where you try and you think about all the stuff that you thought you knew and God’s bringing you to that place where, my God, we’re gonna have to let go! We’re gonna have to let go of all the stuff we think we know, all the stuff we think we can do, and just say, oh God, You’re the potter, I’m the clay. Do what’s needed in me. Oh God, I surrender to You!

There’s no way around this for every one of us, in some form or fashion in our lives. If we’re gonna amount to anything for God, if we’re gonna learn anything about ourselves, first of all, we’re gonna have to be in places where we feel that need and we know there’s no other place to turn. I thank God for it, even though it’s not something my flesh enjoys. But I thank Him for weakness! Didn’t Paul get to the place where he gloried in his weakness?

( congregational response ).

You know, you think about somebody…there are so many people out there today, they’re gonna glory in their intelligence and their strength and their accomplishments. And here’s Paul saying, Praise God! I’m weak!

( hand clap )

It’s awesome! Because that means God can come on the scene and God’s the only one that can do anything! And that’s what I really want! I want Him to work!

( congregational amens ).

Shouldn’t we all be that way? Shouldn’t we all be in a position where we want God to be real in our lives? We sing about it! But there’s so much of us in charge of our lives and our thinking and our ways of doing things that God has to do some things that are drastic, sometimes, just to get our attention. And He does it because He loves us.

And there are pits that we can get in because of our own doing. David certainly got in one, didn’t he? He got so spiritually careless and so out of touch with reality, it seems, that he actually fell into adultery and committed murder to cover it up, and went all the way down to where a child was born. So you’re talking about a period of a year or so, close to a year. And he still didn’t get it!

This man after God’s own heart…I’ll tell you, we can get in some bad places if we’re careless! We need to be awake and aware and serving God and walking in the light! Because if we don’t, there are…there’s a spirit in this world that will gradually creep in and turn us aside and we won’t even know it. We’ll cool right off and next thing you know we’re off in left field somewhere. And David got there.

Thank God he was a man after God’s own heart because when God confronted him, instead of killing the prophet who told him, like some of them did, he repented with all of his heart and God restored him.

Boy, do you think, though, that he was in a pit when that was going on? Do you think he felt like he was in a low, difficult place where his only hope was that God would have mercy? God, I can’t protest anything. I have nothing to say in my own defense. Lord, I’m exactly what you say I am. Oh, God! Have mercy upon me. And God did! Isn’t that what He’s looking for?

( congregational response ).

You know, Jonah, I guess, is another example. He got in a fish. I guess you could call that a pit, of sorts. But God gave him a charge to go and preach to Ninevah and he said, I ain’t gonna do it. He lit out as far as he could go in the other direction. He got on a ship that was headed to the other end of the Mediterranean! I mean, talk about trying to run as far as he can go.

And the Lord had a way of slowing that down, didn’t He? Sent a storm, sent a fish! And there he is, down in the belly of the fish. You talk about being in a helpless place? But you know, he knew where to look, didn’t he? He realized, I’m here because of something I did. But there’s still a God to whom I can look.

And I’ll tell you, no matter where we get and no matter why we’re there, God’s purpose is not punishment, it’s redemption. It’s rescue. It’s doing whatever it takes to rescue us. His desire is always to lift us up to a better place, not to just leave us there and say, I’m mad at you, I’m gonna knock you around for a while. That has nothing to do with it. That’s not in His heart. This is not what it’s about. I’ll tell you, for His people, He is looking to bring us to something better. But the path to something better, goes through something worse, many times. And so, this is for anybody who is in that circumstance.

So, “He lifted me out…” (NIV). It’s a slimy pit, it’s a place where there’s no firm footing, no way to help one’s self. And so the pit, of course, leads to a cry, doesn’t it? And he knows that I have a source of help. I’m not helpless in this circumstance. I need to call, with all of my heart, upon the One who can help me because I cannot help myself!

And so, I’m gonna cry. I’m gonna raise my voice and I’m gonna do it, as he said, “I waited patiently for the LORD.” There’s this sense, I know where my help comes from in this circumstance! I’ve been here before! I’ve been in places where He was my help and He helped me! I’m gonna go back to the source of help. He’s brought me here for a reason.