I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure.
This Psalm was famously put to music by U2 in 1983 when they required one more song for the War record. The band had less than an hour left in the recording studio and used music they had prepared with this Psalm in the spur of the moment. It is well worth listening to today as you pray through the devotional points below.
1. Persisting in prayer.
As often, the English translation belies the true meaning contained within the verse. The psalmist, David, is waiting for God. It is not a passive activity but the Hebrew is an intensified verb which literally translates to waiting, I waited. Within turmoil, his energies were to look expectantly and persistently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
With a host of access to millennial resources (smart phones, media or even friends) it is essential that - in the midst of circumstances evoking the feelings portrayed in this Psalm - our energy and intent is to persist in prayer.
What aspects do you need to bring to God? Are you intentionally taking them to God, expectantly and persistently?
Whilst we know that the psalmist had been plunged into a ‘desolate pit’, we do not know whether this was a specific physical illness or social or military conflict. It may have even been an inward despondency, potentially a despondency of spirit under a perceived sense of God’s withdrawing and/or prevailing doubts and fears about eternity.
Regardless, similar emotions emanate from our lives in 2018 whether we are overworked and/or have stressful careers, are exasperated parents, suffer through illness, deal with broken relationships, face unemployment or experience educational stressors, to name but a few. Within the distress though, the psalmist intentionally takes it to his creator and redeemer, reaching out to God rather than internalising.
Examine the list from above and again. Bring them to God in prayer openly, reaching out, not internalising. Pray for those you know are in specific turmoil just now.
The poetic, powerful and prosaic language the psalmist uses to describe the welcome and potentially dramatic deliverance out of a ‘pit of destruction’ is stunning and triumphant. Our response to this may either be one of despondency - as in “this will never happen to me, I am in too deep” - or one of rich encouragement in knowing that the truth is that we too will be delivered. It is a big picture of faith, not glib or twee, but a genuine truth that we can - and need - to rely on rather than become paralysed by fear or nihilism.
Thank God for answering your prayers, for His son’s glory and for your testimony to His deliverance as the psalmist has described. If despondent, thank God that His truth and certainty trump emotions. Write down specific emotions or circumstances that you want to see His victory over.