"Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).

Archived Devotionals

June 22, 2020


Princes of The Pit

My Dear Friend,

     Strangely, yet undeniably, God uses "horrible pits" to raise honorable princes to lead His heavenly people.

     David coined this term to describe very challenging trials of faith and endurance that are low, dark, very unfair, painful, and that, like a trap, suddenly spring up and catch God's princely trainees in overwhelming, apparently unescapable troubles.

     Yet as they pass through them with acceptance, enduring patience, abandoned trust, and steady hope, something wonderful happens. God forms Christlike character in them, releases them, and gives them a "new song" that inspires others struggling to get God's mind about their trying "pits."

     David described his "horrible pit" experience: "I waited patiently for the Lord, and he … 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...many shall see it, and fear [be in awe of God], and shall [also] trust in the Lord" (Psalm 40:1-3).

     Despite David's divine call and initial prosperity, God let him be thrust into a "horrible pit" of adversity - nearly a decade of increasing slander and persecution by the king of Israel (Saul) and decreasing support from the people of Israel! There was "horror," or the specter of suffering, ruin, failure, and death. It was "miry," or muddy, indicating he sometimes slipped and fell while learning to walk steadily with God. Yet, strangely, it was there in that unloving pit - not in his days of lovely prosperity - that he forged the heart of a resilient overcomer. The pit taught him to never quit and quickly bounce back after every failure, and David learned his lessons well! Spiritual resilience kept him close to God in his pit (Psalm 16:8) and enabled him to receive fresh grace, strength, and hope of deliverance daily.

     For a season, inexplicably, God did not release him. He left the man he loved to struggle and learn and build spiritual character. Somewhere along the line, David understood God's inaction was intentional - and his opportunity for greatness! So David converted his pit of persecution into a college of character, and honed and perfected the art of spiritual endurance. Then, one day when David least expected it, God intervened.

     Suddenly, everything changed. As David described it, God "heard," or responded to, his prayers. He released David from his "pit." He set David's feet on a "rock," a sure place where he could stand firm without fear of slipping. Then God "established" David's "goings," or settled him in a fruitful routine of service.

     Not finished, God gave David a "new song," a fresh God-song that told others how wondrously God had sustained and delivered him from such woeful conditions. That song is Psalm 40! Again, as David wrote, "many" today "see it," or consider David's amazing testimony, and choose to worship and trust the Lord in their horrible pits, as David did. David's is by no means an isolated case.

     To the contrary, God has raised many princes of the pit. As they passed through their "horrible pit" experiences in worshipful faith and submissive obedience, God's Spirit changed them into powerful leaders. Let's recall just a few.

     Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit of slavery, but God, thirteen years later, raised him as the prince of Egypt. Judah's wicked princes left Jeremiah to die in a literal pit - a muddy cistern - but before he died God prompted Ebed-Melech to pull him out.

     Jesus' best friend, Lazarus, fell sick, died, and was laid in a death pit - a tomb - four days, but Jesus raised him, after which many came to learn of Lazarus' faith and worship and serve his Lord. Job, stripped of wealth and children, and covered with painful boils, sat for months in a pit of ashes until God restored his health, wealth, family, and ministry.

     Paul and Silas' obedience in ministry landed them in Philippi's "inner prison," a dark, filthy pit under the main prison, but because they kept trusting and worshiping in song, God powerfully intervened to release them - and their song of faith spread the faith in Philippi. Peter's "pit" was the time he spent on Herod's "death row" awaiting execution, but because he trusted, and the church prayed, God also released him miraculously.

     John's horrible pit was his lonely incarceration on Patmos, which looked like the end for the aging visionary, but after writing Revelation he was released (after Domitian's death) to serve Christ again.

     Corrie and Betsie Ten Boom's horrible pit was Ravensbruk concentration camp where they suffered exposure and beatings and bunked in lice-infested barracks with thousands of desperate, malnourished, overworked, sick, desperate women. But they shared the gospel, faith, and love of Jesus with those pitiful women until Betsie died of illness and Corrie - due to a clerical error, so it was later discovered - was released to share her "new song" of Jesus' sustaining grace and amazing love with the world.

     And I could go on ad infinitum. God has raised innumerable princely overcomers in horrible pits. Why this message today?

     Are you in a "pit," overshadowed with a sense of emotional "horror": the sudden death of a loved one; a battle with cancer; a painful divorce; an ugly child custody struggle; shocking betrayal by your very best friend; the loss of your job or house; staggering debt caused by medical or legal issues; devastating slander; the apparent end of your ministry; or other ominous adversities that seem to bring only pain, ruin, failure, or death and offer no way out?

     Remember the princes of the pit and join their number. And be encouraged: God is careful to put only princely material in His pits, only those whose trust in and loyalty to Him is deep and whom He plans to establish in steady, fruitful kingdom service. So look up.

     If God gave His princes of the pit sufficient grace to endure and honor Him and ultimately escape to serve His heavenly people, He will do so for you also. And give you a "new song." Why not start singing it to Him today?

Submitting, trusting, enduring, and singing!

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261