When I was a child, we lived in the country and had a pond, which we swam in every summer.
Because it didn’t have a sandy beach, when we stepped into the water, our feet sank into mud. Let’s just say it is not the best of feelings, it felt gross. But as a child, I looked past it for the fun that was ahead in the deeper water.
In Psalm 40:2-3, David said: He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Focus for a minute on some of the key phrases in this verse.
1. Slimy pit: The word for pit means pit, cistern or dungeon (as in prison). David said he wasn’t just in a pit, but a slimy, sticky one. Whether we put ourselves in a slimy pit because of our stubbornness and sin, or if the enemy puts us there, or if God allows difficulties to purify our faith, we can feel like our current state is like a dungeon or prison. We feel like we our daily walk through life is a struggle, our feet can’t seem to get out of the muck and we are – stuck.
In verse 1, David stated that he had waited patiently for God. Sometimes we have to wait to see the Lord work in our situation, which is not easy, but it is always best. He then praised God because God heard his cry for help.
2. Set my feet on a rock: The Hebrew word for set means to stand or to restore. If you are standing firm or have been restored to solid ground, you aren’t stuck in the muck anymore. We want to get unstuck quickly, as in now. David’s restoration didn’t seem to come quickly, though, because throughout the psalm, David is asking for God’s deliverance and help from his adversaries. God eventually helped him out of the pit he was in and gave him solid ground to stand on.
As David did, we can look forward to when we are no longer stuck in the muck and mire to a time when the Lord will set us free and give us firm ground to stand on.
Lord, help me to look to You when I am stuck in the mire of life. If it is my fault, open my eyes to see my sin. If it is an attack from the enemy, help me to stand until you place me on solid ground. If it is of Your will, give me strength to pass the test.
–by Pam Rehbein