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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1321

Out of the Slimy Pit

January 28, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: 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 and I’m gonna wait upon Him.

And so, you see not only the fact that he knew where to go, he knew to cry to Him, but there was a sense of expectancy! How many of us, when we pray, really pray with an expectancy that God is listening and will hear and that He cares?

( congregational response ).

How many of you think He wants us to have that kind of spirit towards Him?

( congregational response ).

I mean, what are we saying about our ideas about God if we don’t? We’re really not believing His Word. And God longs for the heart of that one who comes to that place of need to come to Him with an expectancy.

But he says he waited patiently. Now, waiting…we’ve referred to that verse or that word before. It’s the same one that you see in Isaiah 40 about those who wait on the Lord, those who hope in the Lord.

There are two aspects of truth in that word, two ideas that are imbedded in that word. One has to do with time, because God’s time is the one that’s right. Sometimes, it’s quick. Sometimes, it’s very drawn out. Sometimes, it’s in the middle. But there is a time element. You can’t accomplish the things that God wants to accomplish in the pit on our time schedule. If we just popped right out every time we got in a difficult situation, mentally or literally, nothing would happen. We wouldn’t be changed at all.

In fact, we would probably come to the place where so many come where they think the Bible is a book of formulas for getting God to do what you want. You push the right spiritual button, and a miracle is supposed to immediately happen and take care of everything, and you’re supposed to live in a prosperous, happy, successful life. That’s the measure of spirituality. If it’s anything less, it’s your fault, because you don’t have enough faith. I mean, literally, that is the way a lot of people are made to feel.

But oh, I thank God it’s not that way. We have a God who loves us, who will put us in the oven long enough to finish what He’s cooking. He’s smarter than we are. I mean, of course, the ladies are smart enough to know to do that with an oven. Well, God’s smart enough to do that with us. He knows exactly what it takes to bake what He’s gonna bake. And so, He’s not gonna take us out until it’s done.

But David, you see here, has this spirit…I know that there’s a…I don’t know the time element here. I’m in a place I’d rather not be, but I know where to look. I don’t know the time element, but I’ll tell you what, I am not going to make my petition conditional upon God doing it on my schedule.

Now that produces quiet, because we all understand the problem. We have our own schedule, and we are not immune to the mentality that I need to learn the things about the Bible and the principles that are there, because if I know them well enough and I put them into practice, I can get God to do what I want. I can get God to make my life comfortable and happy.

And that’s not what life is about. Yes, God is ultimately gonna bring us into something a whole lot more than we can imagine, and there’s plenty of it here. It’s not like we have to wait for everything. Thank God! There’s a joy and a peace we can enjoy here. But we need to understand we are in God’s hands. He’s not in ours.

( congregational amens ).

We’re not running the show. He is running it, and He’s doing it for our eternal good And so, David had that spirit. I am waiting, and I’m waiting patiently. There’s a sense of endurance built into the word patience. It means I’m not gonna quit!

And so, this is another principle we’ve put forth before. This is a man who had no plan B. See, if you’ve got a plan B…that is, if I look to God, and it doesn’t work out the way I think it should or when I think it should, then I’m gonna try something else. That’s a manifestation of a heart of unbelief. That’s a manifestation of somebody who’s trying to use God, not someone who has submitted himself into His hands, who says, I have no plan B, Lord. You are it. I’m trusting You. Come hell or high water, I’m trusting You…end of story.

So that’s the position. That’s the characteristic of the cry itself. And there is a built-in humility to that because He’s learned some things in the pit. He’s learned his own helplessness. He’s learned not to trust his own understanding. Doesn’t the Word say, “Trust in the Lord…and lean not on your own understanding.” But we do. And many times, we don’t know we’re doing it until we’re in a situation where we try, and it doesn’t work, and we’re brought face to face with the reality.

What do we do? Do we bow up and say, wait a minute, I know what I know is right? Or do we say, oh God, teach me? I don’t know half of what I think I know. Lord, I don’t know anything as I ought to know it. I need You to help me. I need You [to] open my understanding and teach me in this, so that I can come out of this different than I went in. That’s what God is after.

But it takes a genuine humility. This is not posturing before God. This is God, I really am in a situation where I need You, and I don’t have the answer. I don’t have the ability. God, I need You to come on the scene and help me. Praise God!

So, you got a pit that leads to a cry! But I thank God that the cry leads to an ear, doesn’t it? You’ve got the God of the universe who’s got all of this, everything to manage in the entire universe…you think of the noise that He’s hearing constantly, the din of all the stuff that’s going on in the world. He’s got galaxies to manage and all that stuff…that He would actually make a particular effort to pay attention to something that you say!

But that’s the God we have. That’s the God who literally is tuned to a certain frequency. He wants to listen. He wants to open His heart to you, and when He hears a cry that comes from a place of need, a place that is humble in His hands, that’s looking to say, God, I want Your will and not mine, which by the way, it says later on in this passage. I’ve come to do Your will and not mine. See, that all flows into this.

But He’s hearing a heart. That’s the condition of the heart. God, I need You. I want You. I want You on Your terms, not mine. But I’m crying because You’re the only answer. There’s a God who listens.

( congregational response ).

There’s a God who tunes to that heart and cares about that heart. That’s the one He’s most drawn to! You know, we glory in human strength and accomplishment. I mean we’ve got the Olympics going on right now, for heaven’s sake. And that’s all well and good, but I’ll tell you, what God glories in is not human strength and pride. He glories in those who have a humble and a contrite heart, who listen to His Word and want Him.

I’ll tell you, there’s a…He runs to that! He’s attracted to that, because it’s like He’s saying, oh boy, look what I get to do! This is the condition that’s necessary for Me to do something amazing. And here they’re presenting Me with themselves, and I, yes, it’s a mess, but oh, do they have any idea what I’m going get to be able to do with that heart and that life? There’s a delight in the heart of God. He’s not upset with you because you’re weak and stupid…or me.

( laughing ).

He knows what we are. He doesn’t build His kingdom on pride and all those kinds of values that we have in our human society. There is something that just reaches in His heart, reaches out in His heart. And of course, the ear hears it. And of course, He knows the plans. Remember, He knows the plans that He has for us? He knows how it’s gonna work out. He knows how it’s supposed to work out. And so, at exactly the right time, the ear leads to an answer, doesn’t it? Thank God!

And that answer leads to something else. It leads to a lifting. It leads to something where you are in a situation from which you cannot extricate yourself, but there is a hand that reaches down that is stronger than all of the darkness, stronger than every devil who would try to keep you in that place, and He lifts you out of that place. Praise God!

Are you there today? There’s a God who will listen to your cry. He’ll accomplish what He wants to in your life, but He has the power to lift you out in a moment of time…or whatever, however the process is supposed to work in your life. He lifts you out of that slimy pit, out of the mud and mire! Thank God!

He can clean us up. He can do whatever He needs to do and not be a bit dismayed or upset. He just reaches down with mercy and love and compassion. Praise God!

I know many of you know what I’m talking about. You’ve been in the mud and the mire. Did God come down with disgust and contempt. No! He came down with a heart of love and mercy and compassion as soon as you got to that place. He reached out because He’s merciful. And you learned something, not just about yourself, you learned something about Him.

Isn’t that what we need? We don’t know much. You know, we learn some things in here, and we learn some things in theory, but God wants us to experience what this book is talking about. This isn’t just about theory and practicing a religion. This is about coming to know a God personally, who’s amazing beyond amazing, who loves us with an everlasting love, and has plans that reach into all the reaches of eternity. Thank God!

And so, the cry leads to a lifting. It leads to a rock, a firm place to stand. But then, it leads to something else! It leads to, “…a new song in my mouth…” And it’s one that God puts there! Do you know there are songs that some people can sing from their hearts, and for other people, it’s not really real?

( congregational response ).

Probably true here. Do you know God wants to make things real? You know, you see that in the scriptures a little bit. There’s a couple of pictures in Revelation, I’m not gonna try to turn over there, but where there was a song that certain people were able to sing and others weren’t. These are the only ones that could sing this particular song.

Why? Because of the way God had brought them, and things they had learned about themselves and about God, and about His love and His purposes! Now, they had something they could sing from their hearts! Where they had been in a pit, now it’s full of praise and joy and thankfulness to God, because oh, God, I’ve learned so much about You, and it’s so awesome! It’s so wonderful.

That’s where praise needs to come from. It needs to come from the heart of people who’ve met God. And many times, the place we need to meet Him is in a place where it is dark and lonely, and we feel helpless, because that’s when we really appreciate Him the most. You know that God wants to put a song in the heart of everyone here, that you don’t know anything about right now, but God’s gonna bring you to that place where you’re gonna be able to sing to Him in a way you never did before. Praise God!

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Oh, thank God. If we could see, if somehow our eyes could be…the veil could be taken away and we could see His heart about every single one of us, it would just blow us away. Man, we would erupt in such praise the building wouldn’t hold it. Somehow the Lord just brings us the way that He does.

But you know, there won’t be anything to hold it back over there. There will not be anything on the inside that resists it or pulls us in any other direction. Every part of our being will be in total harmony with Him and with what He’s doing. That’s where He’s going with this.

And so, the firm place to stand leads to a song, a new song, but it leads to something else! It leads to this, “Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” So, what God is doing in you is going to have an effect on other people that’s positive! God is going use your experience, your life, your testimony, your example.

How did you handle this? I watched you go through that. I watched your faith stand strong. I know you were tempted to throw it all away, and just be mad at God and leave, but you stuck by it. You kept trying. You kept trusting. I watched you go through that. You didn’t even know I was watching you, but I was.

And I saw God come, and I saw you come to a place of rest and faith and trust, and a testimony and a hymn of praise! I want to know that God! I want to know more about Him. I’m drawn to what I see in your life.

Isn’t that wants in every one of us? No matter whether we’re on a mountain top or in the valley, what they see is not a human-being being religious, it’s Christ living in us. He’s the only one that can engineer what it takes for that to happen.

I’m so thankful for what it does take. And I say that in the realization there may be some places that could adequately be described or accurately be described as a pit in my pathway. I don’t doubt it, but I know that God will never leave those who put their trust in Him. They will never, ever have a cause to be ashamed and say, boy, was I a fool to trust in Him. I should have trusted myself and done it my way. I’ll tell you, doing it your way is a sure prescription for catastrophe in the end. Man, we need to the Lord, don’t we? Thank God!

So, “Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” So, I don’t know who this is for. I have no idea. You know, sometimes, you have ideas as to things that are going on. I really don’t. I don’t why the Lord focused on this, but I believe there’s a reason, because there may be, like I say, there may be somebody right here, and you’re in a pit. And nobody else knows it. Maybe some of you, somebody’s close to you, and they know something’s not exactly right. You’re not quite yourself.

But I’ll tell you, whether it’s a pit of circumstance, whether it’s a pit of your own making because you’ve gone your own way, and now you’re in a bad place or whether it’s just something where the devil is oppressing, or whether it’s a part of all three, there’s a God who cares about you.

And I want us to pay attention to the sequence again of what’s going on in here, because it tells us…it reveals God’s heart. It reveals where He’s going with all of this, why it’s all happening! We started with a pit, and the pit led to a cry, and the cry led to an ear. The ear led to an answer, and the answer was a lifting! And the lifting resulted in being on a rock! And then, the rock led to a song, and the song led to a testimony.

You see, God is always moving in the upward direction. He’s always…it’s always onward and upward. It’s always, I love You, I want to bring you to a better place. You think of where David says in another Psalm. You know, I was in a bad place, but He brought me into a large place. If you’re in a place that’s not like that, God wants to bring you there.

But for you to be what He wants you to be and to be able to appreciate it and use it properly, there’s stuff He’s got to do. And it’s a good thing when we can humble ourselves and say, yes, Lord. Do what You have….do whatever it takes.

Help me, Lord. I know that I don’t know everything about myself. I don’t know all the stuff that’s wrong. I know I’ve got ideas that I’ve formed through my own experiences, and I think it’s this way. And I love to impose my ideas on everybody else and tell them how it’s supposed to be, but I need You to help me, to soften my heart, soften my thinking, take away that adamance.

That was what was wrong with the Israelites. Every time the prophets would speak, they would harden and stiffen their hearts. No, we’re right! You’re wrong. I don’t want to be that way with the Lord. I want to be one that can just humble myself and say, Lord, You’ve allowed me to be here, and I know You have a purpose. I love You.

And I’m just crying out to You. Lord, in Your time and in Your way, plant my feet on that rock. Put that song in my mouth. Let somebody else see it and be helped, because doesn’t that also reorient our thinking? Oh, do we live in the millennial generation! It’s all about me! The universe revolves around me and how I’m feeling.

Oh, I’ll tell you, it doesn’t. My God, it revolves around Him…and His Spirit, through us, revolves around others. And we’re going to find out that we’ve gonna become all that He meant us to be. We’re gonna grow. We’re gonna have a place of freedom and joy that we’ve never imagined when it isn’t just about us. It’s about everybody else. It’s about the Lord through us.

So, I’ll just…I don’t know that there’s anything else that I need to say this morning, but I appreciate the simplicity of this. It’s…we haven’t said anything new here this morning. But I trust that it’s been alive and fresh. I trust that it’s been something that will help us and go with us.

I trust it will go with me. Because always remember what the Lord said in Jeremiah 29:11. “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Always, that’s His heart. Don’t ever forget that, no matter how dark it gets, no matter loud the devil screams. God loves you! His ear is tuned to you when you reach up to Him.

And sometimes, we reach and we reach and we reach, and we don’t hear back. We don’t see. We don’t see what we want. But if we can have that same heart that says, I have no plan B, Lord. I’ve burnt those bridges. They’re gone. I have no way back. I don’t want a way back. Lord, I’m going forward. I know where this is leading. I know where this road leads, Lord. I’m trusting in You.

Oh, there’s a God that will honor that kind of a faith, that kind of persistence. I pray that today that there’s nobody here that has a plan B. God is looking for you to have Him be your entire trust, and He will never disappoint you. You will not get to the other side and say, man, what a fool I was. You’ll say thank God for having mercy on somebody like me. I had no idea what I was made of, and You did, and You loved me anyway. And look what You did to change that, to give me a hope and a future. Praise God!