Gen 14:10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
In ancient times, pits or slime pits were a common part of the landscape. Many had springs of liquid bituminous matter in them which consisted of natural gas and a petroleum substance. This is what is referred to as slime. Near the Dead Sea there was a pit 116 foot deep. That’s a deep pit! Out of that 116 feet, 15 feet of that is slime.
The first illustration we are given concerning these pits in the Bible is that they are pits for the wicked.
It wasn’t long after the truth about the pits was conveyed to us in scripture that Satan schemed a way in which he could use these pits against the righteous. I’m totally convinced that every child of God will get to visit at least one pit somewhere in their spiritual walk. If you love God and have been serving Him very long, you probably already know what one looks like and smells like.
What is it like to be in a pit? Muddy, dry, dark, lonely and confining…
The Old Testament ordinances would put a penalty against anyone who opened a pit and allowed an animal to fall into it. The tops were to be covered so that no man or animal could fall in. It was a metaphor for danger. It was not uncommon for the pit to be used as a prison. In all of his cunning ways Satan not only wants the wicked in a prison, but also the righteous!
In Genesis 37, the Bible tells us that Joseph received a great revelation from God. His brothers were extremely jealous of him. The revelation made them hate him all the more. They devised to kill him and throw him in ‘some pit’. Righteous Joseph found himself rejected by his own brothers. They said ‘some pit’ meaning there were many. A pit is defined as a cistern, dungeon or a prison.
Have you ever had the devil visit you and tell you that you wouldn’t be where you are if you were living right? If you were closer to God, you wouldn’t be in a pit. He accuses you of being a rotten dog, a failure and tells you Hell awaits you. The devil is still a liar!
If you’ve been in a pit or even more than one, don’t be embarrassed or condemned. Joseph found himself in one also. Chances are you may fall into another one, but hold on to God!
Bondage and death are usually associated with the pit. Pits can kill you if you let them. I’ve seen people give up and die in a pit. They died covered with the slime of discouragement or smothered to death with fear and anxiety. Their minds were tormented until it finally overcame them. It could have been death for Joseph but Ruben stepped up and said, “We won’t kill him. Just cast him in this pit in the wilderness.” I want to tell you that if you are in a pit, don’t give up; you won’t die there. Satan wanted to kill Joseph but God said, “No. I’ll allow him to stay awhile n the pit, but you won’t kill him.”
God said none of my children have to die in a pit, only the wicked. Satan would love to have us starve to death and dehydrate in the pit. God says NO! The pits are for the wicked! Where are you? Have you felt the slippery slope of realizing that it’s possible you may be on the verge of falling into a pit? According to the word of God you aren’t going to die there.
It could be just mud if not water was found. If you’ve ever walked in mud, it almost pulls your shoes off. It makes a sucking sound. You can hardly walk. You’re trying to walk by faith, but the war of the flesh and spirit is most clear.
The reason the Midianites found Joseph in the pit is because they were looking for water in the pit. They were travelling through the dry, dusty wilderness and needed water. They found Joseph instead. Don’t be shocked at who God allows or sends to bail you out of a mess! After all, the only direction to look when you are in a pit is up!
Some pits were just really dry places; no water was ever found. Sometimes righteous people end up in dry places. The pit can be a dark and lonely place, especially at night. The only place light is coming from is at the top. When it’s dark everywhere else, it’s really dark in the pit. “Pastor, I’ve never walked in such a dark place in all my life.” Did you know that Satan can take this one subject of the pit and totally destroy your victory? Don’t allow him to!
Have you ever experienced the dark place? The only way out was God! You might have reached out to somebody and God said, “They can’t help you.” You kept reaching and trying to find somebody with the answer. The only light that was breaking through was from Heaven, and the only way you would get out is by seeing the Author and Finisher of your faith!
The pit can be a place of extreme loneliness. I’ve been in the midst of hundreds of people; I could hear their voices, yet felt all alone. In the wilderness however, there is usually a great multitude of people. In the wilderness there are more people and plenty to join your pity party.
“Are you hungry?”
“Yeah, are you?”
“Don’t you remember when we had those grilled leeks with garlic in Egypt?”
“Yeah, I’d give my right arm to have some of those now.”
“Remember the onions and melons?”
“It was better in Egypt; at least we had great food to eat!”In the wilderness there are plenty of people that will murmur with you.“Don’t you think it is cold in this church?”
“Yeah, it is.”
You can get many to agree with you. In the pit there is no one to talk to but God and yourself.
Joseph was confined to a pit! In a pit there is nothing to look at but dirt. How’s the scenery on the back side? — same as the front side. This is a dirty deal. You can’t ramble all over town. You are in a pit now, just like Joseph. Not so much moving around and our flesh can’t stand that. It screams “get me out!” We must remember that in patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19)
We don’t like to be told what to do and how to live. We like to dabble and rationalize things. We want to love the church and at the same time love the world because we like to move around. Pits don’t allow such freedoms! I have heard the slush at my feet trying to suck me under. The voices of hell say, “This is where you’ll die.” Heaven says, “No righteous man has ever died in the pit —not one!”
As we walk through the Bible, it explains to us that the wicked are the ones who die in the pit, not the righteous. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. (Numbers 16:30 )
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a 200 foot pit with 20 feet of slime; you won’t die there if Jesus is your Lord! Hold on to God and look up!
As we walk through the word, we see that the fear and dread of the pit starts to subside a little. They were not as afraid of the pit as they once were. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lion-like men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: (IISamuel 23:20 )
This was one of David’s mighty warriors who went down in the pit and slew a lion while it was snowing. This man of God heard a roar and ran to it. He looked down in the pit and jumped in, with the lion in the snow. He crawled back out of the pit.
How fit it is to read that Absalom the smooth, good looking son of David, who was a conspirator against his own father, was buried in a pit and they threw stones on him. We may go to the pit and wrestle there. We might get slimy there and have a few lonely days, but we won’t die there!
When the warriors of Israel were in battle with the Philistines, they used the pit to their advantage and hid in them. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. (1Samuel 13:6)
The pit had now become to some degree a good advantage point in war. You may see a lot of pits, but you’ll visit only a few. You’ll feel defeat in the lonely place of the pit, but you will obtain victory. Satan hates it when the wisdom of God surfaces in your spirit and you turn his weapons around on him.
In Psalm 40:1 - 3 we find David in a pit, a place of confinement and loneliness. A pit is like no other place you’ll have to walk. It’s not fun or funny. Be assured you’ll never stay there longer than God will allow you to. In this pit David said he waited patiently for the Lord. I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but if you’re in a pit, there is nothing else you can do but wait. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
A new song was birthed in David. You’ll never sing better than you’ll sing after you come out of a pit! God alone pulled you out of that lonely place and the only way out was up. You will have a new and greater reason to sing after you’ve come through it.
As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee; (Zechariah 9:11-12 )
Satan threw you in there and he was hoping to hold you in the pit and hold you in prison until you die. He was roaring in your ears, “Now where are you going to go? You’re my prisoner now.” The hideous slime of the devil himself gets on you and you think it’s over until you look up. Then you see Jesus Christ the hope of glory. Jesus says, “I’m here to set you free!” Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope; even today…you won’t live there and you won’t die there. It’s only an experience; a place on the journey.
If you belong to God, be encouraged little one. You are very special to God and He knows right where you are. He reaches way down in the mud and slime then lays hold on what belongs to Him. I’ve stood on my tiptoes in the mud, reaching up with all my heart, I was crying , “God you’re the only one that can get me out of this pit!” He reached way down and put me on the rock to stay. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? .( Matthew 12:11)
This message is not only to encourage us, but must, from this day forward, recognize the existence of the pits so that Satan doesn’t break us down when we fall into one of them. We may fall into them, but we cannot afford to break down and give up in this transitional place of life.
HOLD ON CHILD OF GOD, YOU WON’T DIE THERE!
Reprinted by permission:
Pastor Donald W. Shoots
Central Pentecostal Ministries