Profiting from The Pit?
One versicle prayed in the Matins responsive prayer (prayed in rotation with other responsive prayers) is David’s word: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it tell of Your faithfulness?” (Psalm 30:9) Today’s morning reading (March 24) from the LSB Daily Lectionary is Genesis 39. The versicle and reading intersect in a way worthy of consideration.
Did similar words fall from Joseph’s lips when he was thrown into the waterless pit by his brothers? Or when he discovered that Egypt was his destination? Or when through false accusation he was imprisoned in Pharaoh’s big house? As tribulation tosses you into a pit … maybe an event of life surrounds you as solitary confinement … how do you pray? “O God, what good can You work in this situation? How can loading me with this burden ever bring praise to You?”
Who could believe before it happens, that a dungeon of suffering or a pit of isolation would be a place where God works wonders?
For the sake of His promise first spoken to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and for the good that He would work (Genesis 50:20), God worked good in the dungeon that held Joseph, foreshowing for us that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Where can one be hidden from the Spirit of God? Joseph’s experience, however, is no promise that temporal prosperity will be ours, as God kindly bestowed on him.
God, whose ways are mysterious, has chosen the pit and death - things that say “absolutely not!” - to bring to nothing this world’s lively pride and arrogance, so that no one may boast of position and privilege and honor in the world before God. God chose death on the cross to shame the life of the world; He chose the pit in order to exalt the life of His Son. From the pit of abandonment He raised His Son, that bearing the freedom of eternal life He would divide His portion with you.
How then do we answer the lament and cry that David by the Holy Spirit uttered … and thus also prophesied about the Christ?
Yes! The dust will praise our God … “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life …” (Daniel 12:2). Yes! The grave and the ground will tell of His faithfulness, for it will open its mouth at the Last Day no longer with a frightful appetite but in praise to the Creator, singing forth the glory of the resurrection, your adoption as sons, co-heirs with Christ Jesus.