Out of the Pit
Psalm 40:2
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock, and established my goings.


1. He was sunk in deep and dark depression. He was what we describe as "down," brought very low, plunged into great despondency and despair. We very well know what brings men into the pit. Grief can do it, and failure, and a multiplicity of tasks. But, above all, sin takes the "lift" and buoyancy out of life, and makes it the victim of an appalling gravitation which sucks it into abysmal depths of helplessness and darkness and despair. This is the horrible pit in which we have all been sunk.

2. A second element in the condition of the psalmist is interpreted by the descriptive word "horrible," "the horrible pit," or, as the margin gives it, "the pit of noise." And is not this the modern experience? When a man is in the pit he is addressed by confused and confusing voices. One man calls to us and tells us that our depression is purely imaginary, we are the victims of our own thoughts and dreams. Another declares that we are a little "out of sorts," and that the doctor will put us right in a week. A third avers that "more need we the Divine than the physician." It is a "pit of noise" and confusion.

3. A third element in the suppliant's depression is described in the phrase, "the miry clay." Surely we know the experience in our own life! The ground slips from under our feet. We have no foothold. There is nothing solid, nothing dependable.

II. His RESOURCES. "I waited patiently." His being was collected, and all fixed in intense expectancy on God.

1. "He inclined unto me." The figure is exquisitely helpful. "He stretched right out and down to me." His arm was long enough to reach me, even when I was in the deepest pit.

2. "And beard my cry." Just as the mother, when the house is filled with company, hears the cry of her babe in the chamber above. Or just as a shepherd hears the faint lone cry of the lost lamb in some ravine on the open moor.

III. His DELIVERANCE. "He brought me out." That is to say, He lifts me out of my captivity. We cannot struggle out. Struggling will only aggravate our bondage. When we are in the Slough of Despond One comes to us called "Help." "He set my feet upon a rock." Hitherto I have been in the miry clay, the victim of uncertainties, despondencies and doubts. But now He has "enlarged my steps under me," and I find myself upon the highway of the Lord. "And He hath established my goings." Thus He not only lifts and confirms me, but He vitalizes my soul. We all know the ease that comes to the feet when we have been trudging through heavy mire and we find ourselves upon a well-made turnpike road. As soon as we come to the good road we say to one another, "Now we shall be able to step out." That is the suggestion in the psalmist's phrase, "and hath established my goings." We are able to step out, nay, to go as those who are "marching to Zion"!

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay. He set my feet on a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand.

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