Sermons

Summary: PART OF A SERIES ON PSALM 23

WALKING THROUGH THE VALLEY

PSALM 23:4

INTRODUCTION:

IT WOULD BE NICE TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE THERE WERE NO HARD TIMES OR DIFFICULTIES. WE’D ALL LIKE TO STAY ON THE MOUNTAINTOPS AND NOT VISIT THE VALLEYS. WE ALSO KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT THE CASE. MOST OF THE TIME THE ONLY WAY TO THE MOUNTAINTOP IS TO GO THROUGH THE VALLEY. NOTE THAT I DIDN’T SAY TO STAY IN THE VALLEY BUT TO GO THROUGH THE VALLEY. CIRCUMSTANCES MIGHT LEAD US INTO THE VALLEY, BUT IT IS OUR CHOICE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WE STAY IN THE VALLEY.

ONE WOMAN WENT THROUGH A VALLEY AT WORK AND GOD WORKED DRAMATICALLY IN HER LIFE. WHILE AT WORK A WOMAN RECEIVED A CALL FROM HER SITTER WHO TOLD HER THAT HER CHILD HAD A FEVER AND SHE NEEDED TO COME HOME. THE MOTHER LEFT WORK AND STOPPED AT THE PHARMACY TO GET MEDICATION FOR HER CHILD. SHE ALMOST HAD AN ACCIDENT AS SHE WAS GOING INTO THE PHARMACY AS SHE WAS ALMOST RUN OVER BY A 3000 LB. DUCK RUNNING OUT WITH SOME GRAPES.

SHE GOT THE MEDECINE AND WENT BACK TO HER CAR ONLY TO FIND THAT IN HER HASTE SHE HAD LOCKED THE KEYS IN THE CAR. SHE CALLED HOME AND TOLD THE SITTER WHAT HAD HAPPENED AND THE SITTER SUGGESTED USING A COATHANGER TO OPEN THE DOOR. THE MOTHER FOUND THE HANGER BUT THEN REALIZED SHE DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO USE IT. SHE WAS STILL IN HER VALLEY.

ABOUT FIVE MINUTES LATER A DIRTY, GREASY,BEARDED MAN WITH AN OLD BIKER SKULL RAG ON HIS HEAD DROVE UP TO HER ON HIS BEAT UP OLD MOTORCYCLE AND ASKED IF HE COULD HELP. THE MOTHER REPLIED, “MY DAUGHTER IS VERY SICK. I STOPPED TO GET MEDICATION AND LOCKED THE KEYS IN MY CAR. CAN YOU USE THIS HANGER TO OPEN THE CAR DOOR FOR ME.

HE SAID “SURE”. HE WALKED TO THE CAR AND WITHIN A MINUTE HAD THE DOOR OPEN. SHE HUGGED THE MAN AND SAID “THANK YOU SO MUCH. YOU’RE A VERY NICE MAN”. THE MAN REPLIED,”LADY, I’M NOT A NICE MAN. I JUST GOT OUT OF PRISON TODAY. I WAS IN PRISON FOR CAR THEFT AND I’VE ONLY BEEN OUT FOR AN HOUR.”

THE WOMAN HUGGED HIM AGAIN AND WITH TEAR-FILLED EYES LOOKED TO HEAVEN AND CRIED OUT LOUD “O THANK YOU GOD! YOU EVEN SENT ME A PROFESSIONAL.”

SOMETIMES OOUR VALLEYS ARE NOT TOO DEEP. OTHER TIMES IT FEELS LIKE WE’LL NEVER SEE THE SUN AGAIN. THIS PASSAGE TELLS US A LOT ABOUT VALLEYS. LET’S LOOK AT SOME OF THE WORDS IN IT.

• VALLEYS ARE DREADFUL: WE NEVER THINK OF THE VALLEY AS BEING A GOOD PLACE. GOOD CAN COME FROM IT, BUT IT DOESN’T SEEM SO AT THE TIME. IN FACT IT MAY BE QUITE A WHILE BEFORE WE SEE THE GOOD FROM IT, IF AT ALL. DAVID DID NOT WANT TO GO INTO THE VALLEY, AND NEITHER DO WE. WE KNOW THIS BECAUSE OF THE WAY DAVID STARTS THIS VERSE. HE SAYS “EVEN THOUGH”, AND THESE ARE WORDS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH POSITIVE ESPERIENCES.

• VALLEYS ARE DEEP: DAVID THEN SAYS THAT HE “WALKS” HERE. IT IS NOT A LEISURE WALK, BUT A WALK THAT WILL TAKE SOME TIME. THE DISTANCE THROUGH THE VALLEY IS ALWAYS LONGER THAN WE LIKE. IT MAY BE A TREACHEROUS WALK AS WELL. WE NEED TO TAKE OUR TIME IF WE WANT TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE THROUGH THE VALLEY.

• VALLEYS ARE DEPARTING: DAVID IS CAREFUL TO USE THE WORD “THROUGH” IN REFERENCE TO THE VALLEY. HE IS NOT GOING TO STAY IN THE VALLEY. HE WILL GET THROUGH IT, WITH GOD’S HELP.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:16-18:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

• VALLEYS ARE DECAYING: “VALLEYS” ARE FORMED BY EROSION. I REMEMBER WATCHING THE FLINTSONES ONE DAY. FRED AND BARNEY WERE TAKING THEIR FAMILIES ON VACATION AND THEY STOPPED AT THE GRAND CANYON. EXCEPT IT WAS ONLY A TRICKLE AT THAT TIME. BARNEY TURNED TO FRED AND SAID “THEY SAY IT’S GOING TO BE A BIG THING SOME DAY.” VALLEYS ARE FORMED BY EROSION, OR BREAKING DOWN. GOD BRINGS BELIEVERS INTO THE VALLEY TO BREAK US OF OUR BAD HABITS AND MAKE US WHAT HE WANTS US TO BE.

• VALLEYS ARE DECEIVING: NOW THIS FACT ESCAPES MANY. THE VALLEY IS REALITY AND DEATH IS REALITY. BUT IN THIS VALLEY IS THE”SHADOW” OF THE VALLEY OF DEATH. SHADOWS HAVE FORM BUT NO SUBSTANCE. IT’S KIND OF LIKE THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS, FORM BUT NO SUBSTANCE. DO NOT THINK THAT SATAN WON’T BE IN THE VALLEY. WHEN JESUS WAS LED INTO THE WILDERNESS AFTER HIS BAPTISM SATAN WAS THERE. WHEN JOB WENT THROUGH HIS VALLEY SATAN WAS THERE. BUT WE MUST REMEMBER THAT THE “SHADOW” CANNOT HURT YOU, ONLY SCARE YOU.

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