Scripture Reading: Numbers 31:25-32:42 / Luke 8:40-9:9 / Psalm 40:1-8
I remember sitting in our small Assembly of God church in Ottumwa, Iowa singing out of the Melodies of Praise songbook, “He brought me out of the miry clay, He set my feet on the Rock to stay; He puts a song in my soul today, A song of praise, hallelujah!” That song was written by Henry Gilmour in 1898 but he wasn’t the original composer…David wrote it years ago. “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)
David writes a song about the delivering power of God in his life. We don’t know what difficulty David is referring too but he experienced many during his lifetime. He fled from the vengeful and jealous hand of King Saul. David faced the wrath of a rebellious son and saw his family self-destruct. David’s sin with Bathsheba, murder of Uriah and numbering of Israel resulted in darkness, brokenness and separation from God. David knew full well the depth of sin and hopelessness.
All of these times were “pit” like experiences. The usual meaning of pit was a well or a cistern. David fell into the depth and darkness of helplessness. He found himself in the bottom of a slimy and sludge filled well. The mire and mud provided no traction or momentum but he sank even deeper with every attempt to lift his foot. It was impossible to escape the pit but he patiently waited and cried out to The Lord.
In desperation he cries out and by faith he waits for God’s deliverance. David does not simply sit and wait but actively pursues God’s attention and power…he waits in expectancy. King Darius was helpless as Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. He could not alter his own decree but prayed throughout the night for Daniel’s safety. At the crack of dawn, he runs to the pit and calls to Daniel, “…has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” (Daniel 6:20) God shut the mouths of the lions and Darius lifts Daniel out of the den.
We all experience pits of life, either by our own sinful doing or by the hand of a sinful world. God allows us to experience those helpless times but He also brings hope and deliverance out of the mud and mire of despair! He is faithful when we are in the pit but also is moved by our cries and takes us out. By His miraculous hand, He sets us on a sure foundation and gives firm footing on His immovable solid rock.
God puts a new song of victory and praise on our lips and in the depth of our souls. It is a song of redemption, deliverance, grace and mercy. From a life of sinking hope to standing victory, from slippery doubt to sure strength, from crying in a pit to singing a song of deliverance. He raises us up from the despair of sin to the hope of salvation. Puppeteer Shari Lewis popularized “The Song That Never Ends” but God is the original composer… the song of redemption is sung throughout eternity!