another article from 2009.
I was listening to one of my favorite online pastors the other day, and his message was on betrayal. Have you ever been betrayed? It hurts like nothing has ever hurt you before. And what hurts worse is when you are hurt by someone who is closest to you. Maybe a spouse that has had an affair….maybe your spouse is a refuser….maybe your spouse is into pornography. It digs deep inside your soul and the pain is worse than childbirth.
Why does God allow such things? He didn’t create the pit you feel that you are in, but he allows it because there is a purpose in the pit. In today’s lesson, I want to focus on a few people of the bible who were in deep pits, how it affected their lives and what we can learn from them.
Think about a person from the bible who seemed to have it all, but soon found himself in a deep pit. And a pit with vipers in it, too. No, I am not talking about Indiana Jones, I am talking about Job. Job 1:1-3 tells us a little bit about him. In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. Job was a good man, feared God, and he was rich…not only in things, but he had full quiver there with 7 sons and 3 daughters. He was a blessed man. But what would happen to him if he lost it all? One day, Satan paid a visit to the Lord and the Lord talked to him about Job. Why in the world would God tempt Satan with a godly man like Job? Because God knows Satan and the omniscient Lord knows his servant Job quite well. So God gave Job over to Satan to be tested…to prove to Satan even when he lost it all, he still recognized God’s hand in it all. So Satan took away everything he had…his sheep? Fire from heaven burned them up. His camels? Taken away by the Chaldeans. His oxen and donkeys? Taken by the Sabeans. His servants? All killed except a few that survived to report what had happened to him. Surely not his children! Yes, all 10 of his children were killed in one full swoop while eating dinner at the oldest brother’s house. It reminds me of looking at a picture of a Hurricane Katrina victim after the storm. Lost it all. It’s all gone. What did Job do? At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”
I would pray that if this ever happened to me, I would praise God in the way Job did. He realized that all he had was not his. It belonged to the Lord. In the following chapters, Job was struck from head to toe with boils. Still he wouldn’t curse or denounce God. Job remained faithful to God no matter who tried to convince him otherwise. In the end, Job finds contentment in his relationship with God and all that he lost was restored twofold. Was Job betrayed? Maybe by his wife who asked him to curse God and his friends with their bad advice, but not by God. Never once by God.
How about returning back to a story I did a long time ago, but looking at it through someone else’s eyes. I talked about Sarai and her barrenness awhile back. She took matters into her own hand and gave her servant Hagar to her husband and Hagar bore him a son. Remember that story? (Genesis 16) No sooner had Hagar conceived a baby with Abram, Sarai flew into a rage about it. She was cruel to poor Hagar, so cruel that Hagar ran away. An angel of the Lord found Hagar and told her to return to Sarai and submit herself to her. The Lord would greatly multiply her descendants through her child. Even though Hagar was an Egyptian, she recognized that she was in the presence of the Lord and feared Him. She went back as she was told, but after Isaac’s birth, she was sent away again with her son. (Genesis 21) As she sat out in the wilderness, she cried out to God. God heard her and her son’s cries, and once again He sent her an angel. God opened Hagar’s eyes to see that a well of water was nearby and she filled a skin with water to give her son a drink. God was with her and her son, and Ishmael grew up in the wilderness and became an archer. Notice a theme…in her time of need, instead of cursing God, she cried out to God. She lived among Abram and his wife and must have learned so much about their God. She was serving Sarah while she was pregnant with Isaac at age 90, so she saw God’s miracle with her own eyes! Was Hagar betrayed? By Sarai and Abram, yes. By God, no way.
What about Joseph? Oh, my if there were ever anyone in the Bible who was betrayed, this young man was betrayed over and over and over again…first by his brothers who threw him into a pit (literally) and sold him to slave traders. Next in Egypt by Potiphar and his wife, the latter who accused him of trying to take advantage of her in Potiphar’s house. He was sent to prison for a crime that he did not do for a LONG time. Did Potiphar betray him? Sure! For believing his wife when he knew Joseph’s character. After all, he made him the head of all of his household! Why would someone he trusted to take care of his household betray him? But in the end, we learned that God had a plan in all of this to save his family during the famine. His dreams and visions came true. While Joseph needed to be humbled from his boastful nature as a child/teen/young man, but while in his pit, he learned so much more about God’s faithfulness and was made stronger. He was betrayed by a lot of people, but never by a faithful God who had a purpose for the pits Joseph found himself in. A purpose that was revealed in time.
Jesus. We all betrayed him, didn’t we? Why should he have to be thrown into the pit? He didn’t sin, not even once. Why did we betray him that he would have to die for us? That is one pit I am so glad to avoid, and try with all my prayers and strength to prevent friends, loved ones or others who may read this blog who don’t believe from being condemned to this pit for all eternity. In all of it, God’s love for us provided a way out of our pit of betrayal of him. Isn’t it awesome that by believing in Jesus, we are eternally saved from the pit of hell?
I use a NASB Ryrie study bible for all these studies, and in it, Dr. Charles Ryrie had this profound thought….”If we know God, we do not need to know why he allows us to experience what we do. He is not only in control of the universe and all its facets, but also in control of our lives and he loves us. Though his ways are sometimes beyond our comprehension, we should not criticize him for his dealings with us or others. God is always in control of all things even when He appears not to be. “ Amen to that. And I am so glad to leave things in the Almighty’s hands instead of mine.
Sisters, sometimes we sit in the lowest place we think that we could possibly be. I want you to remember this….God doesn’t send us anywhere that he hasn’t been first. Psalm 23 isn’t just for funerals…think on this “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. “ (Psalm 23:1-4) Are you in a pit right now? Is it dark and you can’t see your way out? Then look up!!! Remember the Lord is there with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. You are precious to him…so precious to him and he loves you. Trust that he has a plan for your pit and that in God’s time, you will come out of that pit…stronger…stronger in faith and in life than you could ever possibly imagine.