Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #94

#94 "All His Benefits #3"
May 1, 2007
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits....who redeems your life from the pit." (Psalm 103: 1-2, 4a)
I really hope that you are enjoying our study of Psalm 103, going line by line, precept upon precept.  What a feast!! I must tell you that today's verse is my absolute favorite. It is the best part of the meal. It is the "piece de resistance"!  I just might have to tuck my napkin in my collar for this one. Let's partake, right now, of this manna from heaven....
We've been looking at God's benefit package for the last couple of weeks. We've learned that the package contains forgiveness for all of our sins and healing for all of our diseases. Today we learn that there is redemption from the pit. I don't know about you, but I'm accepting the job because the "bennies" are awesome!
There are many different kinds of pits. There are pits of despair and depression. Pits of sinfulness. Pits of low self worth, self esteem, guilt and condemnation. There are addiction pits and dysfunctional pits. There are pits of hopelessness. Poverty pits and disease pits. People pleasing pits. You may even be in a pit that I haven't mentioned. There are also different ways to get into a pit. Beth Moore, in her book, "Get Out of that Pit", describes three different roads to the pit....a pit you were thrown into, a pit you fell into, and a pit you jumped into. The nature of the pit and the way in may be different, but my friend, once you're in, every pit is the same. It's dark, it's cold, and it's slimy. Psalm 40: 2 says that there is mud and mire in the pit. 
Smith's Bible Dictionary lists only one word in its definition of the word "pit". It says, [HELL]. The Message says, "He redeems you from Hell." When you're in a pit....it's hell!! 
But the awesome news is that God redeems you from the pit! He "snatches" you out, according to one definition I found. He rescues you, delivers you, ransoms you, and liberates you from the captivity and bondage that has you stuck down there, where the air is thick and you are having trouble breathing. But you say, "Donna, that sounds all fine and well, but it's just not that easy. I've been down here so long. The pit is just too deep. The sin is just too big. I'm stuck in the mud and the mire. It's so deep that I can barely see any light up there." But there IS light up there!
Imagine if you were really, literally in a pit. Deep down in the earth, with your feet calf deep in mud and slime. Everything around you smells awful. It's so dark that you can barely see. And you have no idea what is crawling around in there with you. What would you do? I would hope that you would first of all want to get out of that pit more than anything else in the world! Well, the "want to" has to be the same when you're trying to get out of the figurative pit. Do you want out or has your pit become "Home, Sweet Home"? Maybe you've been there so long that the smell and the darkness don't even bother you anymore. Or are you so sick and tired of being there that you will do just about anything to get out? Only you know how comfy you are in your own private pit. But the Bible tells me that it's Hell!! Why would you want to stay in Hell?  
So, let's say you've got the "want to". Now you are trying to figure out how to get up there. You claw at the walls furiously and find that you just keep slipping back into the mud. You try with all your might. You try and figure out a way, a strategy, a plan. But there's just nothing to grab onto. You sweat and you claw and you try and hold on and move up, but you can't do it by yourself. There's nothing to grab onto...there's no way up. Or is there? Wait, someone up there has come to rescue you. They are throwing you the life line. They have the strength that you don't have to pull you up and out. Now it's your choice. Do you grab the life line and let them pull you out or do you refuse? How comfy is that pit? Do you really want out?
Maybe it's because I'm human, but if I came by a couple of times and tried to let down the life line to you, and you refused...well, I guess I'd just have to assume that you liked it down there and I might give up on you. But, beloved, there is One who will never give up on you. He will come back with that life line, time after time, after time, after time....but you have to cooperate. You have to grab the other end of the line, hold on for dear life and let Him pull you up. It's not easy. I'm not saying that it is. You may sway back and forth on the way up and get knocked against the walls. But the point will be that you are on your way up! Hanging on for dear life....doin' a Jefferson's and "movin' on up"! 
I have hung my hat in a couple of different pits over the course of my lifetime. But can I tell you something? I am now, (to quote Beth again) a former pit dweller. I am living on the upside of the pit with my feet on solid ground. I had to get sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had to be so done with the things that held me captive in those pits that I would do anything to get out. It took work, it took obedience, it took cooperation on my part but I didn't have to do it alone. Jesus shared the yolk with me and what does He say? "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30) 
Look up. Can you catch just a glimmer of light up there? That's Him! And He's ready to drop the life line down to you.....See His hand holding the line firmly, securely, His feet anchored on the rock above....He won't let the line slip out of His hands. He's got a tight hold. And He's strong...He can carry your weight..no problem! Once you grab that line and let HIM start pulling you up, you won't land with a splash in that mud again. He'll pull you all the way to the top.  
If you're still trying to decide, let me talk to you from the upside of the pit for a minute. We're all up here waiting for you...all of us who used to live right where you are. And there are more of us than you could ever imagine. The air is clean and fresh here. We can take deep breaths and smell the sweetness. The breeze is warm and it feels so good to be clean and dry. But do you know what the best part is? Jesus is up here with us...praying for you. Waiting for the day that your hands grab hold of that line and you begin your ascent up out of the pit. We're cheering you on. Jesus is cheering you on. Come on up! Psalm 40 says that when you get up here, He will set your feet on solid ground and give you a firm place to stand. It's true! And then, you can join us in cheering on the next brother or sister who is stuck. You can be a living testimony to life after the pit. A living testimony to how sweet freedom really is....and that "if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed." (John 8:36)
Enjoying the sunshine,
Donna Schultz                                                                             

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