Posted by: Michelle | February 20, 2011

Psalm 40:1-3

Getting up and ready for church this morning, I happened to notice the computer was turned off.  That usually means one thing, that there had been a power outage of some sort in the night and considering the freezing rain and sleet outside, it seemed likely.  Even though John had just cleaned up, he knew what he must do.  Power outages on our farm are serious business.  When the power goes out, the first thing we are all trained to do (myself included) is to open the doors to the pig buildings to let the fresh air in.  Power outages mean no fans in the pig buildings and no fans for an extended period of time leads to suffocation for the pigs on a large scale.

Praise the Lord there were no problems from whatever power outage there was in the night, but when John got out there he discovered that someone had left a gate open yesterday and that there were several nursery pigs that had fallen into the pit and needed rescuing.  It is a difficult, unpleasant job and no matter how many times he washes, it will be difficult to get the odor out of his skin.  We probably won’t make it to worship service this morning.  Hopefully, he will be done in time for us to make it to Sunday School.  It has put me in mind of the following verses:

I waited patiently1 for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.2 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,3 out of the mud4 and mire;5 he set my feet6 on a rock7 and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song8 in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1-3) 

For any who may read this who are not familiar with agriculture, pig buildings are built with slotted floors, so that the waste falls through into a deep pit below the building.  This waste is periodically pumped out and disposed of through a precise waste management plan so that the fumes do not overwhelm the pigs or the people who care for them.  Pig poo is serious business.

And so this morning, I have a new appreciation for this picture from the psalms.  I was trapped in the pit of my self-sufficiency.  It was cold and slimy and most definately smelled bad.  I had no power to save myself.  Only the loving Shepherd (and aren’t shepherds a type of farmer?) could rescue me, taking on my slime so that I could put on His righteousness.  And were this not enough, he lovingly gave me a firm place to stand and gave me a song of praise to sing. 

Thank you Jesus, I love You and sing my praises to You this morning.

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Responses

  1. What a graphic illustration of these verses! I’m sure the pit we’re in before our rescue is exponentially greater in grossness than the one you have described above as well – especially as compared to the holiness of our Shepherd. We have so much to thank Him for.

  2. hi Michelle,

    as Violet says, your ilustration really gets across the opening lines of psalm 40. when our younger daughter was small, she was absolutely crazy about pigs–especially nursery pigs. in this case (as often) parental affection for a child was in some measure transferred to what the child had affection for: so i really like the picture of Jesus as “the good Swineherd”!

    hoping (and praying) that there’s as much joy and hope in your life as there was at the time of your last posting, but less weariness and soul-pain.

    best,

    chris

  3. Chris,
    Thank you for your kind words. I am pretty sure the pit that David describes in Psalm 40 is not the same kind of pit, especially considering it was forbidden for the Jews to eat pork :o) but our experiences that morning certainly created a vivid word picture for me of my own sin.

    I appreciate your thoughtful concern, but seasons of weariness are also a blessing from God, in that they deepen my desire to be with Him and to set my affections on Him. The less I view this world as my home and the more I view Heaven as where my true citizenship lies, the more natural it becomes to align my priorities and actions with the ones God has always had for me…so even hard seasons can be good because God is good, all the time.

    May our heavenly Father lavish His love and affection on you today,
    Michelle

  4. hi again Michelle,

    it certainly feels as tho’ our heavenly Father IS lavishing His love and affection on me, and not just today–lately i have this amazingly tangible feeling of being graced.

    your reply really got me thinking. maybe i’m too quick to wish for you what I’m too quick to wish for myself–that is, a kind of painless “unsticking” from wordly/temporal goods, prompted only by an entirely joyous awareness that, however good worldly goods might be, what is waiting for us in Heaven is infinitely better. maybe there are deep reasons why the unsticking won’t (can’t?) happen in that painless way, or alternatively shouldn’t happen in that painless way (something would be lost?), so that i shouldn’t wish for myself (or for others) that it does? or is it fine for me to hope and pray (for me, as for you) that, in the future, the unsticking will happen, with a minimum of weariness and difficulty, as long as i remain joyously grateful to and trusting in God, even if it involves a great deal of weariness and difficulty? i don’t see clearly here…but thank you for your kind and thought-provoking reply!

    –chris

    p.s.: even though this posting starts ‘hi again Michelle’, naturally, if another reader has some thoughts about my questions, i would love to hear them…


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