Responsibility for the Pit
Ex. 21:33 ¶ If someone leaves a pit open, or digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it,
Ex. 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution, giving money to its owner, but keeping the dead animal.
Acts 4:5 ¶ The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem,
Acts 4:6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family.
Acts 4:21 After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened.
In Exodus we find some very basic rules being given to the people. These include rules regarding responsibility. You can't dig a pit and leave it open because this becomes something very dangerous. Animals can fall into a pit and die, and the very livelihood of the people depends on caring well for the precious few things they had with them. You couldn't be careless for it might be devastating to the life of another. If you were careless and an animal did die, you had to take responsibility for your action and pray restitution.
Sometimes the pits are physical, and sometimes they are spiritual. We, too, must take responsibility for the spiritual pits which may be dug by unChristlike attitudes. In Acts we find the entire team of spiritual leaders gathering together to question Peter and John about what they've been doing. Those who should have known better -- those who should have taken responsibility for the spiritual lives of the people around them simply would not give God the glory for the miracles which they themselves witnessed. In refusing to do so they continued to dig spiritual pits which threatened the spiritual lives of the crowd around them. In their smugness and desire to prove that they were right, they didn't care how many people fell into the pit with them.
There are times when God wants to do something new and different by the power of his Holy Spirit, just as he did through Peter and John. The movement of the Holy Spirit may not look the same as it did in the past, and yet it is a real and genuine gentle wafting of God's presence among us. We must be careful that we don't guard the ways of the past so tightly that we are the ones digging the pits and keeping others trapped and dying in spiritual holes that we have created. All the "official" priests were there watching what God was doing -- the people were praising God -- and yet they held onto the traditional ways things had always been done, creating one pit after another.
It is often those who view themselves as spiritual who don't realize that they are responsible for the pits into which those who need Christ are falling and dying. We need to examine ourselves and take responsibility for our words and deeds. We need to ask God to open our eyes to his movement among us so that he can be glorified. Have we created any pits? Let us take responsibility and cover them over so that we are not a stumbling block to anyone on their journey to know Christ!
Lord, please help me to see clearly any pits that I have dug and to take responsibility and action for them this very day. Amen.