Summary: An analogy of three types of traps (holes) we may find ourselves in and the only way to get out.
Introduction: When I was a teenager, I remember my uncle telling me of times when He would go spelunker caves. He told me that there were times deep inside some of the caves where you had to crawl on your stomach and through the water and mud and as the walls of the caves would get tighter and tighter he recalled a time when the flashlight went out, and having to crawl backward out of the cave in total darkness, with mud sliding through his fingers trying to get a grip and having things crawling around you. Can you imagine being deep inside a hole and the only light you have for guidance goes out? My uncle of course was lucky to get out. But there have been many explorers that were not so lucky.
For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. - Jer 5:21
Matthew Henry said that these were wicked men and even worse because they were found among God’s people. They were spiteful and malicious. He said “Such are properly wicked men who delight in doing mischief. They were caught in the very act of their wickedness. As hunters lay traps and dig holes for their game, they have made a sport of catching men. And they delight in it as a hunter delights in catching his game”. They, like Satan, who is like a roaring lion, trying to trap his prey with different vices. Satan and his agents are trying to capture good people like you. I’m not trying to scare you, or discourage you, but you need to be warned that our adversary the devil is trying to trap you.
Transition: Let’s look together at three of these pits (traps) that we may find ourselves in and acknowledge the only way to get out.
I. The Hole of Shame
A. The Shame of Sin
Adam and Eve knew they had sinned and realized they were naked and covered their shame. How many people have found themselves in a hole of shame, where they hide from God, thinking “God won’t forgive this sin, it is way too big and too bad!” We feel the burden of shame and are stuck inside of it. Living in the hole of the humiliation of our own guilt and the constant feeling of rejection and criticism will cause us to feel worthless, helpless and hopeless.
“In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” - I Peter 1:3
There is no hope outside of Jesus Christ, if you put your hope into anything or anyone else then your hope is vulnerable. Things come and go, because they are perishable. Men will fail because they are fallible. Religions of the world will fade because they do not offer truth. But Jesus said “I am the .....the truth.... - John 14:6
the psalmist said, ‘He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made’. - Psalms 7:15
This person works hard to dig a pit and then falls into it. This is true of every sinner. Matthew Henry also notes that “They prepare destruction for themselves by preparing themselves for destruction. They load themselves with guilt and submit themselves to their corruptions. What they designed for the shame and destruction of good people, proves to be their own destruction”. If evildoers are attempting to bring shame upon you, take heart, they do this because you are good and they wish to shame the good that is in you. Jesus said in John 15:18 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
B. Shame of Christ
How many people have been ashamed of wearing the label of ‘Christian’ standing on the side of good. We feel, at times that we are in a hole of obligation caught inside and called to stand up for Christ against our wishes, because we wear the name Christian and are proud of it. But when the spirit reminds us that if we are ashamed of Christ he will be ashamed of us before the Father, then the shame is doubled for feeling ashamed of Christ.
Peter proclaimed that he would never deny Jesus and even drew up arms with his sword to protect him. With such passion and zeal, how could this disciple deny Christ? But he didn’t just deny him he denied having any affiliation with him what so ever three times. And later his shame caused him to repent. This causes a great spiritual confusion within us.
The word heart in I John 3:20 refers to our conscience. “For if our heart (conscience) condemns us, then God is greater than our heart (conscience), and knows all things”