Yesterday we mentioned the figure of the Lord Jesus going down into the pit and bearing the waters of God’s judgment against sin.
Today I was also thinking of the results of that aspect of the work of Calvary in connection with the verse, “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” (Psalm 40:2). Because the Lord Jesus went under the waters of judgment for us, we have been delivered from the pit of sin, and placed on solid ground. “He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword…Then He is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom” (Job 33:18,23).
We will never have to go under the waters of judgment, and this should make us the most thankful people on the face of planet Earth.
“I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow Me” (Psalm 69:2).
Joseph is a very beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament. We read that when his brothers desired to show their hatred of him “they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it” (Genesis 37:24). Eventfully he was brought up out of that pit and sold to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver.
However, we see that the type falls short when we read of the Lord prophetically, “Thou hast laid Me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon Me, and Thou hast afflicted Me with all Thy waves. Selah” (Psalm 88:6-7).
For Joseph the pit was empty, there was no water in it. For the Lord Jesus, figuratively speaking, the pit was full…full of the judgement of a holy God against sin…my sins…the waves of which we read, “All Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over Me” (Psalm 42:7). He has exhausted those waters of judgment. Hallelujah!
Alexander the Great directed that when he died his hands should be placed across his chest with his palms facing outward. When asked why, he replied, “To let all who look at me in death see that the man who conquered the world went out empty handed.”
Before his death the conqueror was found weeping in his tent. When asked what was wrong, he replied, “There are no more worlds to conquer.” What a sad, hollow end to a man who had reached the apex of human glory.
This reminds us of the words of the Lord, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
King Solomon wrote across his earthly accomplishments, “All is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 2:17).
The only thing we can take with us when we leave this world, is what we have in and through Christ! “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).
Q. What does the expression “fearful in praises” mean in Exodus 15:11? I thought we were to come with confidence and bring our praises and prayers?
A. The word, “fearful” is sometimes translated reverenced. So we might read it, “reverenced in praises.” This was drawn out from Moses’ and the children of Israel’s hearts as they witnessed the mighty power of the Lord in their deliverance from the slavery of Egypt and Pharaoh, and in the swallowing up of the Egyptians in the Red Sea.
Psalm 89:7 uses the same word. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him.” In all our prayers and praises the words we use should express reverence. “Holy and reverend is His name” (Psalm 111:9).
On the other hand we read, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16). And also, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22).
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Faith is more than what is needed to believe the gospel. It’s needed in our daily battles against the world. Are the attractions of the world, the glamour and the fame in the world pulling you away from the Lord? Let your faith take hold. It has a magnetic attraction to Christ. Let it pull you towards Him and so overcome the world.
We have the Lord as the perfect example. At the end of His life, just before He returned to heaven, He said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He wasn’t promising them that life would be easy after He was gone, but He was promising that there would be an inner peace, and an outward overcoming as a result of trusting Him in every circumstance, and following Him through every circumstance. It takes real faith to live for the Lord in a world like this.
6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
“The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
The Lord Jesus came to serve. He, “took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). His primary mission and concern was to serve His Father. But He spent almost every waking hour serving others. He never tired in His service to man, although He was sometimes “wearied with His journey” (John 4:6). Of course, His ultimate act of service was to give His life as a ransom at the cross.
The Lord’s example should be something that we should covet—the willingness to serve. Needs are everywhere. You don’t have to look far to find someone who needs help. Are you willing to give it?
It takes time and energy to serve. It may cost us something and involve sacrifice in one way or another, but “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
These Monday letters make me feel like I keep in touch with my reader. However, there are no doubt many of you that I do not know personally. Yet, the Lord knows you, and He desires that you would stay in touch with Him, through prayer and reading of His Word the Bible.
We love to hear from our readers, but there is One who loves to hear from you more than we do. It is the One who loved you enough to give His life for you at the cross. Do you love Him enough to speak to Him in prayer, and listen to Him speak through His Word every day? Don’t neglect, “the Word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5).
As is indicated at the bottom of these Monday letters, we are very happy for any communication. Comments, and questions are very helpful in putting together future calendar pages, and answering questions on the last Friday of the month.
“I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top” (Psalm 102:7).
What imagery this verse brings before our minds and hearts. We picture the sparrow huddled alone on the roof, perhaps shivering in the wind and cold, bleak and alone. The sparrow was the bird of lowest worth under the Jewish economy. The Lord said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings?” (Luke 12:6). It brings before us the lowliness and humility of Christ, and the fact that He was “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3).
These words of the Lord Jesus, spoken prophetically in Psalm 102, no doubt had their fulfilment at the cross, and perhaps more particularly during those three hours of darkness, when He was forsaken of God, bore our sins, and made atonement for us.
As we think about these aspects of His person and work today, our hearts will be freshly reminded of His love and goodness, and it will produce praise and worship.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
I heard of a child playing one day with a very valuable vase, he put his hand into it and could not withdraw it. His father, too, tried his best, but all in vain. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Now my son, make one more try. Open your hand and hold your fingers out as straight as you see me doing, and then pull.”
To their astonishment the little fellow said, “Oh no, father. I couldn’t put my fingers out like that, because if I did I would drop my penny.”
Smile, if you will—but thousands of us are like that little boy, so busy holding on to the world’s worthless penny that we cannot accept liberation. I beg you to drop that trifle in your heart. Surrender! Let go, and let the Lord have His way in your life. Don’t be like the man of who we read, “And he…went away grieved: for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22).