Sleeping with the Devil
Updated: Feb 17, 2018
On August 5, 2010, a mining accident in the Atacama Desert near Copiapo, Chile, left 33 men trapped 2,300 feet underground. The Chilean government partnered with the NASA space agency, navy submarine experts, and a dozen other corporations around the world to help rescue the men – the total rescue cost shot up to $20 million. One of the most notable moments occurred when rescue teams discovered a note taped to a drill when it returned the surface. It read, "Estamos bien en el refugio, los 33" ("We are well in the shelter, the 33 of us"). 69 days later, all of the men were rescued.
When calls to join the rescue team went out around the world, no one asked about the record of the lives of these men to determine if they were worthy of rescue. Their moral failures, work ethics, sins, or criminal records were not influential factors for rescue. People just knew that there were 33 men that needed to be saved and they would spare no cost or effort to bring them “back from hell.”
To witness the rescue operation, 7.1 million people tuned into Fox News, 2.7 million followed on CNN, and 6.8 million watched on BBC. It’s almost impossible not to cry when you watch the men returning to the surface. The men were met with cheers from around the globe and hugs from their loved ones. Their rescue would go down in history.
Now, if fallen humanity could band together so tightly to bring back men from one of the deepest places, how much more is a loving God willing to run a rescue operation?
“If I make my bed in hell, behold you are there” (Ps. 139:8).
Do you know what it feels like to be in hell? Have you ever hit the lowest point in your life, feeling trapped, and disconnected from the world? The context of this text paints an even worse picture.
It’s one thing to be trapped in hell by circumstances beyond your control. It’s another story when you intentionally make a trip to hell, spread your bed, and lay down with the devil. This text refers specifically to moments when our selfishness, sin, and bad choices create downward spiraling steps to hell. This text covers moments when we deliberately turn our backs on all that is good, pure, and holy and choose to make ourselves comfortable in muck. This message is God’s way of saying, “If you choose to camp out with demons, if you decide to share a blanket and pillow with the devil and lay in a bed of fire, I will be there to rescue you if you choose to call to me.”
How many people are trapped in a spiritual underworld because the devil caused their world to collapse around them? Looking for treasure and pleasure, we go deeper and deeper down into a hole, further away from light, love, and safety. We put our assurance in self and our own man-made precautions, thinking that we have a handle on the situation. Further down into the darkness we go – our hands clawing at dirt, rock, and gravel to pick up gold-plated sins. We become use to the darkness, the sweltering heat, and the putrid scent of carnality. Before we know it, we’ve made ourselves comfortable in hell and spread our bed. We’re sleeping with the devil and don’t even know it.
A faint crackling sound gives way to a thunderous roar. What we thought was secure is giving way. The rescue path that we created caves in and the cloud of dust and debris cause temporary blindness and disorientation. We’re trapped in hell, but unlike the Chilean rescue story, the world and church seem nonchalant about the rescue operation. The church is having a board meeting to discuss who should head the rescue team, the budget, and oh, there’s another appreciation service to be planned. Rescue will have to wait. Church members can’t help with rescue either. “I don’t have the talent needed to help in the rescue,” says Sis. A. “I have to work,” says Bro. B. “I don’t agree with how the church is operating so I can’t help with the rescue,” retorts Sis. C. “And I’m shy,” Millennial D says. “Rescuing isn’t my thing.” Can you imagine what would happen if we as a church banded together like the world did to rescue the miners trapped underground?
“If I make my bed in hell…”
King David knew the low moments of life would come. He experienced going through hell and being trapped in spiritual darkness. Even in those moments, He found that God was there!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…when you walk through the fire, you will not be burnt” (Isaiah 43:2).
God is so unbelievably loving that He is willing to make a trip into the lowest, deepest, darkest, hottest hell to rescue anyone who calls on His name. Be advised that this text is not referring to an actual place where the wicked are currently being tormented. God is saying that no matter how hopeless your situation may seem, if you are trapped or intentionally sleeping in a hell of sexual or drug addiction, depression, pride, gluttony, a dreadful past, secret sin, or a life of rebellion, He is there to rescue you if you choose to be rescued. This is not permission to be presumptuous; this is God being gracious and loving and “not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:8-10).
“If I ascend into heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there” (Psalm 139:8).
Life on earth is a continuous trip between the height of heaven and the lowest depths of hell. One day, you’re on top, the next, you’ve hit rock bottom. But don’t be discouraged because like your pulse, going up and down means you’re alive (a flatline life is bad news). Amid ups and downs and dangling between heaven and hell, God’s presence is constant. This means that peace, love, provision, joy, grace, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, restoration, blessings, freedom, and everything else found in Jesus is also constant. Because His presence is with us and we have the choice to allow Him to rescue us, like the Chilean miners, our message can always be…
“I am well in the Shelter…all of me.”
“God is our Shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Ps. 46:1).
At Highland Avenue, you can find shelter.