Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: By asking God alone to act, you can find a way out of your difficult situation. No matter how impossible things seem, you can come back to God.

Two of my nephews are Eagle Scouts. They started in scouting early on and worked their way up to Eagle Scout. The oldest has been an Eagle Scout since 1993. One of the requirements that they had to achieve was a canoe trip up in Canada. My brother accompanied the scouts on this particular occasion and he related a story of what happened on one particular day. As they canoed, they would often have to get out of the water and carry their canoes and supplies across stretches of forest. One of the boys would be designated to carry the food pack, which had all of the food for the entire troop. During one of these treks across land, the boys became separated by long distances. The boy who was carrying the food pack, stepped off into a quagmire of mud and brush that had become known as moose muck.

Fortunately, when he landed in the moose muck, he landed on tree. He could barely keep his head above water. The food pack weighed him down to the point that he was unable to climb out, but the tree trunk kept him from sinking any further. But the problem was, they had spotted a few bears as they made their journey. He began yelling for someone to find him. He became worried that one of those bears might smell the food he was attached to and decide that there was more of a meal there than just the food pack. Finally, after what seemed like hours, someone heard him and was able to help him out of his very serious problem.

God Rescues Us From Impossible Situations

Like this young boy scout, the psalmist found himself in great difficulty.

But unlike the boy scout, the psalmist’s troubles seemed to be beyond even the greatest human effort. His own efforts only proved the final futility of the problem. But God intervened, and the psalmist responded to that intervention with a fresh sense of praise and a new demonstration of obedience.

By asking God alone to act, you can find a way out of your difficult situation.

No matter how impossible things seem, you can come back to God.

The psalmist’s words present a memorable picture of human helplessness: "He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay..." The words picture a deep pit where even deeper waters resound from a horrible cavern further below. Such pits were used a dungeons (Jer. 38:6), pitfalls for wild beasts (Ps. 7:15), or even as a grave (Ps. 28:1). The words could also refer to a horrible pit of desolation, a roaring, resounding pit of spiritual tumult.

The noise could be that of water at the bottom of the pit. Or the noise could refer to the screams of soldiers, their armor crashing and clanging as they plunged into its depths.

We can imagine that the bottom of the pit was a muck of filthy mire, much like the moose muck our young scout fell into. The more the psalmist struggled to get out, the deeper he sank into the bog. Such places were found at the bottom of disused cisterns in the Holy Land. Jeremiah had known the experience of being placed in just such a place as this while he was a prisoner of conscience for his preaching. The depth, the noise, the sinking slime all add up to an unforgettable picture of an impossible situation.

What kind of experience led the psalmist to express himself this way?

It may have been a military defeat, the opposition of wicked people, sickness, or the impossible situation created by personal sin in his life.

We do not know ... and maybe that is best. Not knowing the cause, we can identify our own impossible situation with the psalmist’s.

Where is your place of impossibility? Is it a relationship? You never meant it to become what it has become, but now there is nothing you can do about it. Is it a habit? At first it seemed harmless, superficial, non-threatening. You thought you could stop at any time you desired. But now, like the young scout in the moose muck, you are trapped.

Is it a bitterness, a gnawing thing within you that sours all of life and makes every day heavy with the desire for revenge? Is it a past failure, a sin,

a lapse you thought was impossible for you? Now the horizon of every day hangs heavy with the sense that you have crushed something that can never be repaired, broken something that can never be mended. Is it a loss, a loss so profound that life has lost all significance and you really have no desire to go on?

Suddenly God moves into the difficulty and the entire situation changes. From the bottom of a pit, the psalmist is elevated to the safety of a rocky cliff.

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