Miry Clay 

Psalms 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.”

Without giving us the details, David describes the condition of his life as being in a horrible pit of miry clay. A mire is an area of wet spongy earth, like a bog or marsh. David was saying he was stuck in a very difficult place, and it seemed as though there was no escape. Unfortunately, life can be like that. Even when we are walking with the Lord, we come to times of great difficulties that seem to carry on and on, without hope of ever ending. Sometimes, these miry bogs are the result of what appears to be unrelenting waves of trials. Before we get our head up from one strike, we are hit with another. John Bunyan referred to these times as “The Slough of Despond.” if you are currently facing one of these times in your Christian walk, be encouraged with two things.

First, you are not alone. You are not the first, or only Christian, to find yourself in the mire wondering if there is any hope of deliverance. In addition to David’s poetic description of his circumstances, Paul wrote;

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, . . .” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Knowing that others, even the godliest of men, have faced the Slough of Despond, encourages me that I am not here simply because of my failures, sins or bad choices. Times in the pit are part of following Christ and becoming like Him.

Notice that David wrote, “He inclined to me.” The word ‘inclined’ means to lean toward. In his darkest hour, the Lord leaned toward David and met him in the pit. Perhaps there is no greater illustration of this than when the three Hebrews were thrown into the fire by Nebuchadnezzar. Three men were thrown into the fire, but four were actually there; the fourth was the Son of God. In the heat of the trial, the Lord shows up (Daniel 3:23-25). If we were to ask those three men what the worse day of their lives was, they would, no doubt, tell us of being thrown into the fire. But if we to ask, what was the best day, they would probably tell us of meeting Jesus in the fire. If you are in a miry clay, a Pit of Despair, or the Slough of Despond understand that Jesus has inclined to meet you there, and wants to draw you nearer to Himself.

There is a second truth revealed by David that is of great encouragement to those who are in the pit. David declares there is a way out. That is essentially what Paul was telling the Corinthians. He said we are perplexed, which means he cannot find a way out, but not in despair, which means there is a way out. How comforting to know, that as difficult as the circumstances may be, they are not permanent. The Lord has a way out. David gives us the secret to finding the way,

“I waited patiently for the Lord.”

The key to the door that leads out of the mire, is waiting on the Lord. Waiting on the Lord does not mean to sit back and do nothing until He decides to lower the rope and pull us up. Instead, waiting involves examining my own life to see if there is anything that needs to be confessed and forsaken. It also includes time attending to the things of the Lord. In the miry pit, we should spend less time fighting and complaining, and more time seeking and praying. You will find that while the slough is not an easy place, when you seek the Lord, His voice is loud and clear.

Until you find your feet back upon solid ground, keep seeking Jesus for what He wants to accomplish in you.

Pastor Jim

 

A Place To Stand

Joshua 21:45
“Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.”

A lot of my childhood was spent on the ocean. From as far back as I can remember, my dad had a boat and we would spend the summers taking vacations to Catalina Island. It was a great way to grow up. We would spend day after day on the boat, fishing, swimming, diving and exploring. When the vacation finally came to an end and we made the 27 mile journey back to the mainland, I experienced an interesting sensation. After so much time rocking back and forth on the boat, the ground seemed especially solid.

Life can seem like a journey at sea. We seem to get hit by unexpected waves, and the ground we are standing on is moving. If we are going to get through turbulent times, we need to have some solid ground to stand on.

After a lifetime of following the Lord through some very turbulent waters, Joshua confidently exclaimed that not a single promise of God had ever failed him. No matter what the obstacle, Joshua had learned by experience,  the promises of God are like a solid rock upon which he could stand.

I have found, for every experience of life, there is a promise to cling to. When facing the challenges of life, it is vital that the child of God look into the Word, find the appropriate promises, and then hide in them, like a bunker from the storms of life.

Some of the promises which have been particularly encouraging to me include:

2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Philippians 4:7
“. . . and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 13:5
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

Isaiah 54:17
“‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me’, says the Lord
.”

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

2 Corinthians 3:5-6
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

In response to this blog a good friend sent me the following note.

“When I was diagnosed with an illness, a close friend gave me a list of “promise” verses. Honestly, at the time, I read through them and tucked them away, but that was about it. In the last 3 years, I can’t tell you how many times I pulled out that list and allowed the Word of God to comfort, strengthen and encourage me.

To your list I would add Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 61:1-4, Psalm 55:22 and so many more.”

Praying His Word will be like a safe harbor, and like solid ground, in the midst of the storms of life.

Pastor Jim