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Miry Bog

He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalms 40:2 NRSVUE

For anyone who has ever hit rock bottom, this verse resounds. Usually, stepping into the pit is a gradual process. Imagine walking in the woods after a couple of days of heavy rain. At first, the path looks a little muddy, but it appears to be only a few feet wide, so you step in. After the first few steps, you realize that you had mistakenly judged the obstacle by its width and not the depth. Now in the middle, with the mud sucking at your boots, you’re in a pickle. Sin works the same way; at first, what may not have appeared too bad–it’s just a couple of steps–quickly leads you to the middle with no way out. Stuck there, you realize you desperately need help.

David understood that perhaps better than anyone. While he had been selected and favored by God, that didn’t mean it was smooth sailing. David, finding himself in that “stuck in the mire” place, calls out, and God hears his cry. But wait a minute, that’s not quite what it says; it says, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” Hmm, what is this about waiting patiently? What doesn’t God answer immediately? Well, sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t; I can’t explain his timing. But we have to take ownership here; we were the ones that went willingly step-by-step into the muck. Maybe when we spend a little time in the bog, we appreciate our salvation that much more.

When Jesus plucks us from the muck, we are not only saved from our pitiful state–we’re hosed off and given new clothes. We don’t have to walk around crusted in the mire of our sin. He changes us outwardly and inwardly. Not only do we have some new walking-around clothes that are spotless white, but that inside part of us that thought stepping into the bog was a good idea to begin with is wiser with the help of the Holy Spirit. We go forward with “a new song in (our) my mouth, a song of praise to our God.”

David doesn’t stop there; he continues, “Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” All of us who have experienced that desolate pit, miry bog place can help others. We can’t pull them out of that place any more than we could pull ourselves out, but we can and must tell them about the one that can.

Jesus, thank you for hearing our cries and freeing us from that boggy place. We confess we are faced with temptation daily. Satan tells us, “it’s okay, it’s just a little sin.” Help us to listen to the Holy Spirit and resist that urge to take those steps into the mire. May we keep our clothes of righteousness clean from the blemish of sin. Lord, use us this day to tell others of your saving grace. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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