Thursday, September 26, 2013

A HORRIBLE PIT

Suggested Reading: Psalms 40-41

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Located in the ruins of the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest, is the pit that Jesus was lowered into for the night, just after His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. Caiaphas' house is now covered by the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu, which is located in Jerusalem. The windows cut in the stone were for the guards to keep watch over the prisoners who were in this horrible pit.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Psalm 41:9

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,

Who ate my bread,

Has lifted up his heel against me.

 

In yesterday’s Psalms, that big word “i” was repeated over and over. Today the words that stand out are “my” and “me.” At least 35 times we are directed inward to think about ourselves. Psalm 40 starts out, not with a pity party for poor “me,” but with a powerful declaration of what God has done for David. He testifies that God has (1) inclined to me, (2) heard my cry, (3) brought me up out of a horrible pit, (4) set my feet on a rock, (5) established my steps, and (6) put a new song in my mouth. From verses 4 to 10 there is more positive confession. Then David seems to slip off the “Rock,” and back into that horrible pit. He writes, “My heart fails me…”

In Psalm 41 there are some directions for staying on the rock and out of the pit. (1) Blessed is he who considers the poor. (2) The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. (3) The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive. (4) He will be blessed on the earth. (5) The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness. Then David’s feet slip again as we read verses 4 to 9. But let us not despair; he’s back up again for the last 4 verses of Psalm 41. One of the reasons the Psalms appeal to us is that David is so very human. We can identify with his struggles and his triumphs!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, help me to wait patiently for You. Please set my feet on the Rock and keep me there by Your presence and power. You have given me the doxology of Jude 1:24-25. I confess Your ability to keep me from falling back into that horrible pit. I pray this with confidence that I am standing firmly on the Great Rock, the Lord Jesus Himself, Amen!!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve had the opportunity several times of descending literally into the “horrible pit” in which Jesus was kept overnight, beneath the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest. It’s clean now, but when Jesus was there it was filthy; excrement would perhaps have covered the floor. Just next to the pit is the torture room where prisoners would be tied and whipped. I am overcome with the horror of it all. Jesus subjected Himself to this outrage when He could’ve simply spoken a word and set Himself free. He did it so that I, and millions of others, could be rescued from the pit of self pity and despair. He went down so that He could reach under all humankind and lift us up to stand on the unshakable Rock, which is Himself. He cleans us up through the cleansing of His blood (1John 1:7) and keeps us clean by the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, recorded a message which I would like to share with you. It ties in with David’s lament about his own familiar friend who has turned against him (click here). You may also want to order her book, “Wounded By God’s People,” which has been featured lately on 100 Huntley Street (click here).

Yours for standing firm on the “Rock,”

David

This is the torture chamber area where prisoners were scourged. It's located in the lower levels of Caiaphas' house where Jesus spent the first night after His arrest and before His trial and crucifixion.

24 thoughts on “Thursday, September 26, 2013

  1. I bet the pit didn’t have that pretty yellow hue to it when Jesus was in it. I would imagine it to have been a very dark and horrible place. Amazing how Jesus, the light of the world, suffered and gave Himself for us in His darkest hours. History helps to bring alive the truth we read of in the Bible and as they say, pictures speak a thousand words. Thank you David for bringing the light of the Word to us daily and to Reynold for your very expressive photography.

    • Very good comment, Scott. I especially enjoy the biblical context that Reynold’s pictures bring to our blog and to my learning about the life and times of Christ. Good work and thank-you, Reynold….

  2. Today’s reading and Pastor David’s commentary brought to mind a childhood memory, a visual image if you will…. Many times as a child and even into adulthood, I would decide that I could cross a stream by stepping rock to rock. The rocks in the stream seemed to be a firm foundation for my steps, until I put my full weight on one that was not. It either rocked or it was algae covered and before I knew it, I was doing the “unsteady foot dance” or worse yet, found myself falling into the water.

    The reading and commentary today reminds me that Jesus is the “Solid Rock” and that if my “streams of life” only contained Him and I counted on nothing else, I would be able to navigate my life quite well, without the stumbles.

    Songs like “Solid Rock’s” refrain comes to mind….
    “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand,
    All other ground is sinking sand”

    Unfortunately, even though I know that, I stumble and fall… A bit of solace comes when I think of Peter taking his eyes off of Jesus when walking on water, and his sinking or Paul in his similar pain that he revealed to us in Romans 7:14-25. Those two great men of faith made it through the streams of life and so will I (we)…

    Have a great day,

  3. David T provides an excellent illustration of stepping on a rock that may be unsafe. There is no sure footing aside from having faith that we are planting our feet upon Christ’s foundation. Even when we slip, there is a lesson to be learned and we can move forward, just as David does in today’s reading. Placing our confidence in self is self-defeating, not having the faith and hope we are guided and purpose driven in our Lord. Have a great day, to all!

  4. Many times I have fallen into the mire and the Lord Jesus hand was always there to lift me out .
    Like a daddy when a child falls he us right there to help youup again and again ,
    I praise God for not leaving me in my mess but giving me a message
    Amen

  5. Today’s Psalms is just what I needed as we face our trial as a family today, BUT we are standing on THE SOLID ROCK….JESUS who shall not be moved.

    Loved the illustration David T. Like others I have slipped many times but as your prayer says today Pastor David, I know THE ONE who has the ability to keep me strong and is always ready to bring me back to the path He has laid out for me. Keeping my focus on Jesus, my Lord.

    Blessings to all and enjoy your day.

  6. My heart breaks thinking of our precious Jesus being in that wretched pit. Oh the sacrifice He made for us, that we might be free. It puts everything into perspective.

    Once again, our daily blog has spoken to my heart. Anne Graham Lotz’s video is exactly what I have been struggling with. A recent incident with a fellow Christian who spewed vile criticism and judgement, directed at me, in a prayer circle, was painfully hurtful. I rose above it, did not react afterwards, and was kind to her. I have struggled with this for several years, always looking at myself and seeing how I am flawed–the mirror effect. I take responsibility for what this is teaching me about myself. I know this is not my problem and solely hers. It is time to move forward. I pray for her, and forgive her, and let it go. I will not allow the devil to try to pull me down. I can feel the Spirit of Christ working through me, and am so grateful. Thank you, Jesus! And thank you, David, for sharing Anne’s video. I so look forward to reading her book.

    But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up,
    That I may repay them.
    By this I know that You are well pleased with me,
    Because my enemy does not triumph over me.
    As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
    And set me before Your face forever.
    Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
    From everlasting to everlasting!
    Amen and Amen. Ps 41:10-13

    Praise you, oh Lord! and God bless you, fellow saints! May the lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

  7. “And it shall come to pass, saith the Lord, in all the land, two thirds of all the people will be cut off and die, and I will bring the third part through the fire and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried. They will call on my name and I will hear them. I will say, it is my people and they will say the Lord is my God (Zech 13: 8).” Someone said yesterday that the psalms are so very relevant today. I also see this especially with the specific trials David faced. Zechariah was speaking of Judah and Israel but how do people make war against Jesus but by working against those who believe in Him? We are not being killed but some of us are very tried. It will get worse. We are not perfect but if we know that we can expect trials, we can have confidence in God who told us why. My tongue is often harsh (not here) and I am not planning to shut it but I know that I also need to fear God.

  8. Also, I think of three or four individual christians, who at different times years ago, showed true kindness when I yelled at them. I am reminded of this by what Beverley just said about her reaction. It really is the better way. It does not mean that we should never confront but those christians who I met had true armour of God. I am sort of a mix. I will warn of a pit but I don’t have a lot of patience.

  9. How many times we get wounded(yes, and wound others by our insensitivity) by what we say or fail to say or acknowledge. But as the Word says and Anne Graham Lotz, we have to forgive and move on showing others Christ’s example. This blog has been a blessing and great spiritual help to me. Thank you, David and fellow bloggers.

  10. I’m not very computer savy so I’m not sure how to attach the link but if you go to you tube and watch “Jesus lover of my soul” by Darlene Dzchech it is a wonderful song about being lifted from the miry clay. Maybe one of the other bloggers who is a bit more tech savy could attach it. I’m sure it will bless your hearts.

  11. Dear Rev David M.
    Thank you again this morning for giving clarity to Gods precious Word. Reynolds picture fills me with so much gratitude to Our Lord and Saviour Our light in the darkness , Our Perfect Lamb Jesus so Heavenly Father use us as you will this is the only desire of my heart guided by The Holy Spirit. Amen .
    Have a blessed day everyone.
    xxxx Carole.

  12. Thank you David for your daily writings, and insights. God’s Word is so rich, and powerful!
    Reynold’s pictures are so touching, esp. today’s
    May our Lord continue to bless you and strengthen you

  13. Dear Mr. Mainse,

    The testimony by Mrs. Graham-Lotz can touch us all as noticed by the above comments.
    Forgiving those who wound us allows us to keep our joy and peace that Jesus has gifted to us. Everyday I make an effort to enjoy them as they are precious.
    It helps to wash away those negative thoughts that can nip at our heels as to why these wounds happen.

    Diane:)
    Blessings to all 🙂
    Love this blog 🙂

  14. Thank You Lord that You brought me out of that mire clay and out of the pit when I was lost and set me on the Rock. On The Rock from where fresh living water flows. Praise Your Holy Name Jesus Lord of Lord and King of Kings!!

    Irene

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