Devotional: In the pit

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Several years ago, my mom goes into surgery for a hip replacement. She fell about four years previously, and pain took over her life. Once an active mall-walker, she has resorted to the use of a cane. Her way up is down – to surrender to surgery – to renew the quality of her life.

I have been thinking quite a bit about Joseph. Scripture does not really tell us about Joseph’s response to being thrown in the pit, or sold into slavery. The character of Joseph’s life is exemplary of a life lived for God.

Because of his brothers’ jealousy, Joseph was thrown down into an empty pit. The word ‘pit’ in Hebrew is Bor which means a hole, grave, pit, cistern. These pits were so deep, that one needed assistance to get out, one could not climb out by one’s own ability.

This word Bor comes from the Hebrew root ‘ Bur’, in the sense of examine. Sometimes God allows us to go down into the pit. When we fall into hard times, if all that God was after was the answer to our need, He could give us that immediately.

However, God is desiring to refine our character – what is it that we are to learn while we are in the pit? If you go to the zoo, and look down into the pit where the animals are, your eye focuses on the animals, their activities etc. You are not so concerned in looking at the flowers or a bush, but what the animal is doing. All eyes focus on the animal.

When we are in the pit, sometimes many eyes are on us. People are praying for you, people are watching you, people are watching your response while in the trial.

This is where God’s children shine, for He is with us in the pit. We are being examined, as the Hebrew root bur implies. No one likes testing, no one likes trials, we would rather be on top of our game, on the mountaintop, on the crest of a wave.

Yet have you noticed – there is rarely any grass on the mountaintop? Past the tree line, vegetation is sparse, at best. All the good growth and the green lush grass is in the valleys, in the low places.

God’s economy is strange – let me say that again – God’s economy is strange! Let the poor say ‘I am rich’ – let the weak say ‘I am strong’ – the way up is down.

If God has taken you on a descent lately, be like Joseph. Joseph – thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, sent to prison – all this for doing no wrong. This same Joseph is mentioned in Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith. May Isaiah’s words ring true to your heart.

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
Who seek the LORD;
Look to the Rock from which you were hewn,
And to the pit from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father,
And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain;
When he was one, I called him,
Then I blessed him and multiplied him”

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the LORD;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

Isaiah 51:1-3

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