Joseph found himself in the bottom of a pit that day. God intervened through his brother Rueben who convinced his brothers not to kill Joseph, but to throw him into a pit to die. Rueben secretly planned to come and rescue Joseph.
Not knowing of his brother, Rueben’s, plan, Joseph found himself stripped of his robe and left for dead at the bottom of a pit. All the love of his father, Jacob, couldn’t save Joseph from the hatred and rejection of his brothers. All the favor of his father couldn’t lift him out of the pit he was in. Was this the end of Joseph, was this the death of his dreams? His brothers thought so.
Pit experiences are life-changing. Depending on the type of fear determines whether harm or good will come from it. The jealousy, hatred, and rejection of his brothers put Joseph in a place that looked hopeless. A place that Joseph couldn’t get out of himself. A place that his father, the one who loved him and cared for him, didn’t know about. What was going through Joseph’s mind? What were his thoughts about his brothers? About his father? About himself? About his dreams? Pit experiences give opportunity for the enemy to use his number one strategy against you, fear. Fear of the hurt and rejection of others. Fear of being cut off from those who love you. Fear of the loss of dreams. Fear of what will happen to you. Fear from the enemy consumes your thinking and results in self-pity. Self-pity in the bottom of a pit will only bring you harm. Consumed with self, you see things through your flesh, your understanding, your comfort, and your agendas. Hurt and rejection bring bitterness and unforgiveness. Being cut off from the love and favor of others can bring doubts that God loves you and is taking care of you. Loss of dreams can bring disappointment and hopelessness. Fear of the future brings worry and anxiety. If you give in to the fear of the enemy, consumed with self-pity, and believe the lies of the enemy as truth, though your brothers may pull you from the pit, you will come up changed. The fear of your pit experience will mark you for harm.
At the bottom of a pit you can either look at yourself or you can look up to God. If you choose not to give into the fear of the enemy, but choose instead to fear the Lord your pit experience will have a completely different outcome. When faced with fear you can cry out to God, your Creator, the One who loves you and promises to never leave you or forsake you, even at the bottom of a pit. The fear of the Lord will keep your focus off of self and on the Lord. It will remind you of God’s promises, that He is for you, that nothing can ever separate you from His love, that He has a hope and a future for you. This fear of the Lord, this focus on Him and on His promises, and believing His truths will bring a completely different perspective to your pit experience. A pit experience with the fear of the Lord allows God to do a deep work in you that requires your full attention. With humility you look up to God and cry out to Him. With a sincere heart you hear and receive His counsel. In brokenness and repentance you ask His forgiveness of anything that you have done that landed you in the pit. And with thanksgiving you rejoice in the ways God revealed Himself at the bottom of the pit and for how He has used the pit for your good. After being raised from the pit with the fear of the Lord your perspective of yourself and of those who put you in the pit will also have changed. The fear of the Lord will mark you for good!
Joseph wasn’t left in the pit for too long that day, but I believe it was long enough to get Joseph’s attention and to teach him some heart lessons before he began a journey that God had planned for him. He could no longer rely on his earthly father’s love and favor. He was beginning a journey that would separate him form everything he knew and loved. All the comfort and familiarity of home was soon to be behind him. But, his God, the One who loved him and favored him more than anyone ever could, had a destiny for him to follow. No jealousy, hatred, or rejection could keep God’s dreams from being fulfilled.
There was a pit experience I went through where I learned about the difference of my focus. I had recently gone through what I called “inner healing” with a woman who had a ministry to those who desired freedom from the strongholds of the enemy. Through her ministry the Holy Spirit revealed the doors I had opened to the enemy, I confessed my sin, received Christ’s forgiveness, and closed those doors in Jesus’ name. I was forever changed and some time later I felt as though God was leading me to a similar ministry. Several other women and I joined together and discussed and prayed about beginning a ministry. We initially had the support of our pastor, but when it came time to put everything together we were told that it wasn’t accepted. I was devastated. I found myself at the bottom of a pit. I felt rejected. I felt the love and favor I once had was taken away. The dream of a ministry that was life-changing for me that I wanted for others was snatched away. My eyes were on me and I had all kinds of reasons why that ministry should be accepted. I found myself obsessed with thinking about all the reasons why I was right and my pastor was wrong. There was a battle of chaos going on in my mind. What I discovered after several weeks of this was that as long as I was thinking thoughts about me, how I felt, what I believed…my mind was in chaos. When I allowed my mind to consider what my pastor said I had peace. My mind was at rest. It totally didn’t make sense to me at the time because I was convinced I was right. But peace finally won. I realized chaos is not from God. If my thoughts, my ways, my reasons only brought chaos, then the ministry wasn’t of God. If submitting to my pastor brought peace and rest, than that was the answer God had for me. My flesh didn’t like the answer. I knew there were others that could benefit from that ministry, but in hind sight I see the wisdom of God. It wasn’t His time, it wasn’t His way. I had a lot more to learn and I am thankful for that pit experience because the lesson I learned from it has been for my good.
What pit experiences have you had? Have they brought you harm or have they brought you good? If you have been harmed by any fears you experienced in the pit, it’s never too late to look to God to find the truth He has for you to learn. Just humbly look up to Him and ask Him to show you any lie, any fear that was not from Him. Ask Him to reveal any unforgiveness or bitterness towards any one who may have thrown you into the pit. Confess any doubt of God’s love, any worry, or anxiety you have as a result of the pit. Confess your sin and ask God’s forgiveness. He will raise you up from the pit and set you on the journey to fulfill the dreams He has for you.
Matt Redman has a great song I encourage you to listen to; It is Well With My Soul.