At night a drunkard attempted to cross to the other side through a graveyard and fell down in a freshly dug grave. Despite all his efforts he could not come out of the pit and had to be rescued by the grave diggers the next day. Due to various reasons, many of our own making, we also fall into various pits like debt, unemployment or disturbed relationships and fail to come out. Many times the one who tries to rescue us also meets the same fate.
Why do we land up in a pit? Many times, we see an indulgent father giving a sip or two to his son or daughter from his glass of beer or other drinks. When this carries on for some time the child develops a taste for it and starts stealing from the father’s stock of drinks to satisfy his desire. Many children have landed up into illegal activities like stealing, snatching and other such crimes to feed that urge later on in life. Afterwards the parents blame the devil and everyone else about that without realizing their own contribution to the chaos. Any action that we do not want our children to follow, we must avoid, for the immorality of the parent will definitely affect the whole family.
Once King David did not go with his army to battle but stayed at Jerusalem and sinned with Bathsheba, who conceived but the child died (2 Samuel 11). David, through Joab, his army commander, placed Uriah, her husband, in such a situation where he would be ‘struck down and die’. Through his sin two innocent lives were lost but the effect did not end there. King David had many wives and one was the daughter of the king of Geshur, a very pretty woman, who bore him Absalom and Tamar, both very good looking (2 Samuel 13). However, Amnon, David’s son from another wife desired the young Tamar and through deceit raped her. Immediately after his sinful act ‘Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he loved her’ and he had her forcibly removed from his presence (2 Samuel 13:15).
Absalom waited for the right time to take revenge and killed Amnon and fled to Geshur, to his maternal grandfather and stayed there three years (2 Samuel 13:28-29). Absalom later rebelled against David, his father, and tried to be king over Israel, but was killed (2 Samuel 16-18). A sinful act of immorality created such strife in David’s life that he nearly lost his kingdom and died and Psalm 51 is his confession and seeking the help of God for forgiveness and cleansing from his sin. Immorality is the deadly poison that destroys all relationships causing immense damage, taking many into the pit of despair.
Any sinful activity starts with our own actions, temptations by the devil or through the will of God to test our spiritual state and faith. The first two are aimed at taking us away from God while the third is for testing and strengthening our relationship with our Creator and Redeemer. The very words of the devil, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’, should have put Eve on guard (Genesis 3:4-5). These words branded God a liar and one who does not want His created beings to achieve their highest potential. This should have warned Eve but she went ahead to eat. The resultant pit was fear that made them hide from God whereas they should have gone back to God to seek forgiveness.
Fear is the most demanding situation that simply paralyses a person to inaction. The Philistine giant, Goliath, challenged King Saul, chosen for his height and physical strength, and the Israelites army and ‘they were dismayed and sore afraid’ (1 Samuel 17:11). They faced humiliation for forty continuous days.
Second, pride is an even greater pit that mankind suffers from. David was in the wilderness and his people had protected the sheep of Nabal and at shearing time sought ‘whatever comes to your hand’ (1 Samuel 25:10-11 & 38). Nabal, meaning foolish or wicked, not only refused but insulted David’s men. His wife Abigail prevented retaliation by David but ‘after about ten days, the LORD struck Nabal and he died’. Pride has been the fall of many in the history of mankind.
Third, cowardice restrains one from acting out of fear and is a result of fear restraining one from stepping forward to face the challenge.
Four, jealousy and anger also lead to many other sinful deeds. Cain’s offering to God of ‘fruit of the ground’ but not the first fruits was rejected by God while his brother Abel’s offering of ‘firstborn of his flock’ was accepted (Genesis 4:5-8). Cain was jealous and in anger killed his brother and suffered for this sin.
Five, sin of telling lies traps a person in a web of deceit and cheating from which one rarely comes out.
Six, false prestige – There are innumerable people who take loans to either show off their false status before others to maintain an unaffordable lifestyle or for some immoral activity. Since this is always against the wish of God for us, it lands them in a financial pit from which they find it difficult to escape.
Every situation that comes into our lives is always centered around our spiritual state and the test is always about our faith in the Lord and His provision. When we attempt anything outside His plan for us, we act in unbelief and rebellion to God and His word and step out of His protection. The basic reason for this is lust which is ‘an impure and unworthy craving for something forbidden and evil’. It is very strong and compelling to make us fall out of control, doing what we should never do and do not want to do. Apostle Paul probably talked about such a situation, ‘the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice’ though it is not that he lived an immoral life (Romans 7:19). The battle that we are fighting is not against flesh and blood but spiritual forces of evil in high places (Ephesians 6:12). The devil hits us at our weak spots for he knows us well to lure us into evil.
These lusts or evil desires could turn into many types of pits. First, lust or pit of addiction for drink, drugs or smoking and most people pridefully say, ‘I can leave anytime’ but rarely do. Other family members and friends or professional help is needed to compassionately help them come out of it. Second, pornography which comes with demon possession and since evil proliferates in the media so much that the clothes people wear are more revealing causing the fall of many. Third, greed and lust for money leading to evil means to get more and more and this comes with stealing and other wrong actions to fulfill evil desires or even to look good before others by wearing new clothes or other goods. Four, gluttony is also a sin and leads to sickness, laziness and evil. Five, lust for power, with the desire to control others and is the most difficult to identify with and accept. The normal answer is always, ‘It is very common in people, but I am very humble’. It is always the wife of such persons who suffers the most. Finally, sexual lust – God created sexual desire in all created beings to be fruitful and multiply. The LORD God has explicitly commanded, ‘you shall not commit adultery’ and ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house’, nor his male or female servant (Exodus 20:14 & 17). But we not only become jealous but devise schemes to violate this.
God never wants any of His children to get into a situation from which they find it difficult to come out but we are used to saying, not yours but my will, O LORD.
Why does God allow such situations in our life? The direct route from Egypt to the Promised Land would take only eleven days but God took the Israelites through a longer route. Pharaoh after overcoming the grief of his son and heir’s death, mustered his army to forcibly get the Hebrew slaves back (Exodus 14:10-17). The Israelites then had the Red Sea in front, mountains on two sides and the Egyptian army behind. The children of Israel were very afraid and they cried out to the LORD. They wanted to turn back and surrender to the Egyptians and remain their slaves. God put them in that situation to prepare them to face the challenges of a new life of freedom and get the slave mentality out of them.
Supposedly there were four groups in the Israelite camp and each acted differently. First, we tried but since it is a hopeless situation, let us give up our dream of freedom, surrender, live as slaves and subdued lives under oppression, with no future. Second, God has brought us this far and we are free. Let us move forward and jump into the sea and die as free people. The idea was do not deal with the problem, hide and cut off from reality. Third, let us fight the Egyptians and take our chances. Face the problem squarely and fight as a group with all that we have and take our chances. Maybe we shall win. Four, cry out to God, pray and let Him handle the whole thing for He has brought us this far and let Him get us out. In the meantime, we do nothing.
Moses’ reply to them was no going back and not be afraid. To the second or jump in the sea group ’the Egyptians that you see today, you shall see again no more forever’. The third group, fight the Egyptians, ‘The LORD will fight for you and you shall hold your peace’ and just watch. The fourth group, pray to the LORD, ‘‘stand still and see the salvation of the LORD. But God’s reply and solution to the problem was different and unexpected. And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it’. God accepted none of their ways but told them to move forward in the power that he had already given. The command to make disciples given to all believers also is preceded by Lord Jesus’ assurance, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples’ (Matthew 28:18-20). Moses was commanded to use the power vested in him to make way for the people to move through the sea.
Whatever situation that we face in our lives, the solution is already made available by God to get us through that. Only we do not perceive that and continue to suffer and many are perpetually fighting with others blaming everyone, while some seek God to help without doing anything to come out. The brother of our Lord challenged, ‘show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works’ (James 2:18). Unless we step forward in faith and act, we are likely to remain in the pit or even if we come out, we shall keep falling again and again.
Escaping the pits in the way – Moses warned his people ‘if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments… then the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth’ (Deuteronomy 28:1 & 15). But he also cautioned them against disobedience for then ‘all these curses will come upon you and overtake you’. The list of blessings is contained in the verses 3 to 13 while the curses are listed in 16 to 67 verses. The Israelites failed to obey and went into captivity to the Chaldeans and lost everything. But they repented of their sins and were restored to their earlier state.
God first assured Joshua, the leader of Israel after Moses, that no opposition against him will succeed for God will be with him always (Joshua 1:5 & 8). He was then given the key to move in faith to succeed in his life, to read, meditate on and observe to live according to the Scripture given by Moses. The result of that obedience would then be that ‘then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success’. But most people have become Sunday Christians who have virtually no time for God and His word during the other days of the week. We tend to give some money, not the tithe, to a pastor and seek him/her to pray for us for our problems, like a contract for prayer, while many demand prayers through a ‘missed call’ whereas God desires a close personal relationship with each of His children.
Lord Jesus has assured us, ‘whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son’ (John 14:13). In this we tend to forget the two conditions of asking, first, to ask in His name, implying to ask as per His character and traits and not anything in violation of that. The second, our asking must be to glorify the Father in heaven. We use Lord Jesus’ name as the four-figure password and our prayer as the ATM card to get what we want and whenever we want, without putting anything into our account by way of Word study, worship and fellowship with God and His family members on earth. The disciples also could understand this after Lord Jesus finally ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit descended on each one. They had fallen into the pit of fear, desertion and denial of the Master but thereafter, they shook the very foundations of the earth with their message to all nations, far and wide.
God can only save and help us to avoid the pits and get out if we remain attached to and dependent on Him. The wise king has warned, ‘A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead’ (Proverbs 21:16). Lord Jesus has promised a life of abundance to all believers but He does not hold a gun to our ear to take that, we have the choice (John 10:10).
In our lives most promotions are linked to passing some form of a test where our ability and suitability is examined for the higher position. This testing could be in the spiritual or the physical realm. Only those are successful who live in obedience to the Word of God and be a blessing to many others around them. A wicked person digs pits for others but the righteous makes all efforts to help, save and rescue others. What sort of life we desire to live is left to our choice by God!