Summary: If you’re not inclined to believe what I’m telling you about pits, just ask 9 Pennsylvania coal miners. Breaking through into an older mine, a powerful current of water was released, and the miners ran for their lives. Unable to outrun the rising water, t
Opening Statement: If you’re not inclined to believe what I’m telling you about pits, just ask 9 Pennsylvania coal miners. Breaking through into an older mine, a powerful current of water was released, and the miners ran for their lives. Unable to outrun the rising water, they had to return to the original place where they had broken through into the other mine because it was the highest point. Their noses and mouths slightly above water at times, they tied themselves together, wrote “goodbye notes”, and waited for the inevitable. But as they cried out to God and encouraged one another, good things began to happen. An air vent was created to give them fresh air. A drill team was brought in to make a way of escape. And a wonderful sense of humor buoyed their hopes. One of the guys cracked: “Boy, imagine the overtime pay we’re going to get for this!” They were eventually rescued and we all rejoiced.
Transition: There’s a story similar to this in the Book of Psalms.
Text: Psalm 40:1-3
Title: Out of the Pit, On to the Rock, Singing a Song
Opening Statement: Sometimes we lose our song. The pressures of life, the pressures of family problems or the pressure of sickness snatch our song. And some morning we wake up and realize it has been awhile since I caught myself singing. I think the Psalmist found himself in that situation. He has been bogged down by the problems He faced. He has apparently lost his song.
Background: To set this up, allow me to say that the Psalms are basically the thoughts, meditations, prayers, and hymns of the Old Testament saints. They were written in poetic fashion. Though others wrote nearly half of the psalms, this particular Psalm is attributed to David.
Recitation: Psalm 40:1 I relied completely on the Lord, and he turned toward me and heard my cry for help. 40:2 He lifted me out of the watery pit, out of the slimy mud. He placed my feet on a rock and gave me secure footing. 40:3 He gave me reason to sing a new song, praising our God. May many see what God has done, so that they might swear allegiance to him and trust in the Lord!
Key Word: There are THREE IMAGES regarding the first three verses of this Psalm that guide us toward its significance. The first image is…
Exposition: 40:2 He lifted me out of the watery pit, out of the slimy mud.
Explanation: The Psalmist described himself as being in “a pit” that was watery and slimy. In Psalm 40, David is figuratively describing a really important time in his life when God delivered him from trouble and restored his song. We’re not sure what this “pit” might have been. We can look at the low points of David’s life and come up with several possibilities.
Suggestion: It could have been written when King Saul drove David from the palace and began pursuing him in jealousy, wanting to take his life. David narrowly escaped on many occasions. Perhaps, it was one of those times. It could have been when David’s own son, Absalom, tried to have him assassinated so that he could be king. Maybe it was near the time of his adultery with Bathsheba or the death of his illegitimate child by her. Could it have been when his own son violated his half-sister? Perhaps, it was a description of David’s own conversion experience when he turned his life over to God.
Observation: Whatever “the pit” may have been, it was uncomfortable, it was dark and wet, and impossible to get out of without someone else’s help.
Application: Maybe you’re in a pit this morning in helplessness, desperation, and apparent hopelessness. The pit is the breaking point for the overworked businessman, the outer limits of exasperation for the mother of three constantly crying children, the impossible expectations of too many classes in school, the grinding stress of a lingering illness, the imminent attack of a powerful enemy. Anything that causes a sense of helplessness and desperation and threatens to ruin life or take it away - that is the pit.
The Psalmist cried out to God in urgency and sincerity while in the pit and God made a way of escape for him. Cry out to God.
The second image…
Exposition: Psalm 40:1 I relied completely on the Lord, and he turned toward me and heard my cry for help. 40:2 He lifted me out of the watery pit, out of the slimy mud. He placed my feet on a rock and gave me secure footing.
Explanation: When you’re in a dark, muddy, slimy pit, there is no secure footing. If you can’t stand up, you can’t escape. Furthermore, when you’re in mud, the more you squirm, the deeper you sink. You’re stuck! The Psalmist, overwhelmed by his rescue, thought of “a rock” when he thought of God’s deliverance. He wouldn’t have to sink any more. He could freely move about, unrestricted on a sure foundation.