“I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3 (ESV)
At some point in time all of us fall into pits.
These seasons of life are characterized by darkness, depression, discouragement, and disillusionment. Sometimes we are suddenly cast headlong into these pits by a death or immense tragedy. Other times we find ourselves lost in the muck after a myriad of disappointments, reversals, and micro traumas – each incident being a step of descent into the darkness below.
In the Bible, King David found himself in such a space. He called it the “pit of destruction.” We don’t know for certain what it was that pushed him into this space, but from the words in Psalm 40 we discover that he could not “will himself” out of it. He needed help. When we find ourselves in our own pits of destruction, what do we do and who do we turn to for assistance?
In Psalm 40:1 we get some amazing insights. David says, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” Notice that he did not wait for a change in his circumstances or for relief. Instead he waited for the Lord. Feeling the Lord’s power and presence in the midst of his trauma and pain was his greater need. Despite his bleak situation, David wanted more of God instead of less of his pain.
The text also tells us that he waited “patiently.” When we suffer, this is one of the hardest things to do. We live in a day and an age where we want to pop an aspirin for almost any pain or discomfort. In similar fashion, when we are in pits of destruction and discouragement, we want a quick fix and immediate relief.
In verse two David says, “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” At some point in time the Lord is faithful to draw us up from our pit and to give us some firm footing. The rock that he places beneath our feet is His love for us and the security of His affection for us (Hebrews 13:5-6, Matthew 7:24-27). On this rock we discover that we are free to live from His approval of us and not for the approval of others. Our soul is fortified, and our hearts are invigorated with joy.
We must be mindful that this “drawing up” is sometimes an inner healing in the midst of no change in our outward circumstances. Sometimes the Lord draws up joy, resiliency, courage, and hope in our hearts and our outlook so that we can endure in the midst of the dark nights and the bleary trials of life. We see our Savior pursuing this type of assistance for Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane before He went to the cross. In His own pit of anxiety, He looked to His Father for strength and peace to stay the course (Luke 22:42).
As we move closer to Easter Sunday, we must remember that resurrection will always have the last say. Death and darkness do not. Our living hope is Jesus who willingly plunged into the pit of destruction on our behalf. He died a brutal death that we deserved. He was killed and placed in the hopeless darkness of the grave. Yet He was powerfully extracted from the tomb as He triumphed over death, Satan, and our sin. Finally, He was drawn up into heaven where He rules this universe from a seated position. His hope is our hope and, because of the fact that He lives, no matter our circumstances, we can abound in hope (Romans 15:13).
Verse three tells us that God put a “new song” in David’s mouth and that this song led to others “seeing and fearing” and “putting their trust” in the Lord. If we are able to sing the songs of His faithfulness during our times of duress, we can burst forth in sweet songs of deliverance when He draws us from the pit. Easter season is a wonderful time to sing and celebrate both His faithfulness and His deliverance in our lives and in this world.