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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

FALLING IN YOUR OWN DITCH

Psalm 7:13-15 He hath also prepared for him instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. Behold he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.

The pit, or ditch, noted in the lesson text is like those that are dug, generally, in a well traveled way, and covered with limbs, twigs and leaves to disguise it as the normal pathway. When prey walks onto the covered pit, the limb, twig and leaf coverings give way, the prey falls into the ditch and is taken captive. There are many examples of this in ancient writings that show enemies as well as animals being caught in this manner. The irony in this lesson text is that the one that dug the pit, for some reason or another, stepped on the disguised covering and, himself, fell into the pit.

Most bible scholars think the person referred to in this Psalm is Saul, at the time he was searching for David in order to slay him. When Saul fell out of God's grace, David was chosen to be the new King. Saul was determined to have David slain in order to remain King of Israel. The text shows the preparation and plotting of David's death. It was as if Saul had dug a pit in which to capture David, but, instead, fell into it himself. What we find is Saul continually being eluded by David. Finally, wounded by the arrows of the Philistine army, Saul takes his own life. The elaborate traps plotted by Saul failed to catch David. Instead, Saul lost his own life in one of his planned excursions to find David and slay him.

As we read this story, and others similar to it, we see an equity that exists when the person plotting to kill another is, himself, caught in his own trap. For a similar biblical story, read the book of Esther. Here we find Haman plotting the hanging of Mordecai on a gallows he had built. By devious means, Haman gets the approval of King Ahasuerus to have Mordecai hanged. As the story goes, Mordecai finds favor with the king, and, in the end, it is Haman that is ordered to be hanged on the vary gallows he had built for the hanging of Mordecai.

The lesson, as it applies to New Testament Christianity, has a much broader application than digging a ditch for evil purposes and falling into it yourself. The lesson here is analogous to sinful conduct of life condemning oneself. It is like being convicted and punished by the very acts of evil that we commit. It is our own evil actions that can result in our banishment from eternal life in heaven. Our sinful conduct of life is similar to digging our own ditch, into which we eventually fall and are buried. In God's dealings with sinful Israel, we find this thought, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out (Num. 32:23). God says that an unforgiven sin will follow us for the rest of our lives.

As we interact with, and observe, the actions of others, do we have a tendency to condemn their faults and mistakes? Paul addresses this very thing. Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things (Rom. 2:1). In the first chapter of Romans, Paul enumerates 23 sins of the world (Vs. 29-31). For the sake of time and space, consider just a few of them. Fornication, envy, murder and haters of God are listed. When we see these sins in the lives of others, we often point them out to all around us, thus condemning the person that is guilty of such. However, within this same list of sins, we find deceit, backbiters, proud, and boasters. Often, these latter sins are overlooked in one's life. Doing them does not seem to bring self condemnation or adverse judgment by society as a whole. However, God makes no distinction. Assume that we occasionally deceive others in business deals, or we gossip about others to their hurt, or we are overly self-centered. If we condemn the murderer and the fornicator, we, in a sense, condemn ourselves, because all are sins that God hates.

(E)very idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:36-37). We should be on guard constantly; refrain from and avoid all evil deeds, words, and thoughts. These are the ditches we dig every day of our lives. Unforgiven, these sins will cause us to fall into our own ditch.