Psalms 23:1-6 (NLT) The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
This is a very popular psalm and here David talks about “even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.”
Every Christian learns that life’s journey is not always smooth or perfect and we will have valley experience. When everything goes well should enjoy and be thankful to God for the times when we find ourselves singing, whistling, laughing, and smiling as we travel along. But then we discover that there are bumps, detours, and even collisions that can bring our joy to a screeching halt. It is certainly not a lack of faith. It is just life on this planet Earth.
From the bible we read about great men and women of God who suffered and went through valley experience in their life time. For example
Moses was opposed by Israelites with whom he spent his life loving and leading them.
David dodged the spears thrown at him by King Saul.
Ruth went through the death of her husband and became a stranger in a strange land.
Jeremiah was beaten and thrown into a pit.
Stephen was stoned to death.
Apostle Paul was strapped up and beaten no less than five times.
Joseph discovered at a young age that the road of life is not always smooth. His story is filled with rejection, false attacks, deceitful accusations, enslavement, imprisonment, and long stretches of loneliness.
A. VALLEY IS ONLY TEMPORARY
You are not a permanent resident of the valley and your valley experience is only temporary. The one thing we can be sure of God is always at work, so you can completely trust God,
when you are at some crossroads in your life,
when you are forced to face the trials and tribulations of life, and
when you are at the point of not knowing what to do
We all go through valley experiences in our lives. Every time we go through these valley experiences we wonder why God allows us to go through them. The disappointments, frustrations, discouragements, sickness and dilemmas of life, are temporary.
David says, the Lord is my Shepherd. When it came to his relationship with God it was personal. When it comes to our relationship with God, we should all feel this way. David was a shepherd and he knew the duty of a shepherd. He faced the lion and the bear to protect his father’s sheep. David had placed himself between the beast and the sheep, just like Jesus Christ place His life between Satan and you. David went through the valley but he didn’t make the valley his permanent home. From the beginning David trusted in his God who told him that the valley was just a temporary place.
Every Christian experiences both the mountaintop and the valley. The valley is very different than the mountaintop,
the valley is where life becomes challenging,
the valley, is where many battles are fought and
the valley, is where attitudes are developed
The valley is the place in life where we struggle with fears and painful circumstances.
The valley for us is inevitable, and we find ourselves in it for various reasons. It may spiritual warfare, or the actions of others, or because of our own rebellious actions, or even due to the hand of God Himself we will find ourselves in the valley. Remember what you are going through in your life is temporary and God is with you.
B. GOD IS WITH YOU IN THE VALLEY
Mountaintop is where we come to meet God; but the valley is where God comes to meet us. When we are experiencing valley, David reassures you that you can make it through. Just remember that after every mountaintop experience there is a valley, you’re either going into one, coming out of one, or in the midst of a valley.
John 16:33 (NLT) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
You will have many trials and sorrows, there will be people who will misunderstand you; they will criticize you, talk evil about you, and judge you unfairly in the valley.
Valleys can come upon you all of a sudden without a warning. It doesn’t matter how good you’ve been, how careful you’ve been, valleys will come. Valleys are impartial; they are not selective and no one is exempted from the valleys, they come to the rich and the poor, men and women, black or white. David in this psalm is telling us that you will go through and it has a beginning and an ending. The important thing for us to remember is that our faithful God would meet us there and be with us.
The valleys even though they are temporary they actually do have a purpose.
I Peter 1: 6-7 (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Even though we go through the valleys of life for a little while, we need to come to the clear understanding that these valleys are only a test and your faith is much more precious to God than mere gold. We need to maintain our faith like David, while we are in the valleys.
Luke 18:8 (NLT) “..when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith?”
Be assured that God has a reason for allowing us to go through the valley; He doesn’t cause them because God is a good God and He cannot cause evil but He does allow them. God allowed His only begotten Son to go through the wilderness and be tempted by the devil, think about that.
Jesus Christ Himself was not exempted from suffering (especially on the Cross),
Jesus Christ Himself was not exempted from loneliness, and
Jesus Christ Himself was not exempted from temptation or discouragement or anything else that we ourselves have to face.
Jesus experienced loss (the death of John the Baptist, etc.) just like any one of us.
Jesus was misunderstood just we are misunderstood, and
Jesus was persecuted and greatly criticized.
Jesus went through the same things we go through, which enables us to be Christ like. This is because we have been given an example of how to get through the valleys in our life.
David understood and was saying that no matter where I go, no matter what I have to go through…God is with me. And if God is with me I actually have no need to be afraid.
In the valley or on the mountaintop no matter where it may be we have
His presence in our pain,
His love in our loss, and
His patience despite our complaints.
Through hardship, He may strip us of pride, renew our passion for Him, refine our character, and/or purify our motives.
He does not watch over us from outside of the valley, He does not call us from the other side of the valley because He is with us through the valley.
Are you going through any valleys in your life?
Have you a situation that seems as if you’ll never make it through?
I’ll tell you right now, there is a blessing at the end of valley.
C. GOD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH THE VALLEY
1. Allow God to be In control
When you are in the valley, the first rule is to totally submit your life to your Shepherd. If you won’t give God the control, you may find out what it is to live your life continually in the valley. Israel allowed fear to rob them of moving forward. They stayed 40 years circling the desert. God won’t force you to follow. He gives you the opportunity to surrender your life to Him.
Illustration: There was a fire in a house and the fire started to burn heavily. Everyone in the family got out of the house, except for one boy who was in the first floor of the house. He did not know what to do and opened the window. His dad said, jump down son I will catch you. The son was scared. The smoke was all around, he said, Dad, I can’t jump, I can’t see you. Dad said, son jump, I can see you.
2. Obey God’s guidance
There will be times when you won’t understand God’s guidance. You may think you can find your way out. But if you want to get out of the valley, you must obey God’s guidance.
If a sheep strays away from the flock, and go out on its own, it will find out that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and living with the wolves is a dangerous occupation. Remember God will always guide you for your good.
3. Realize God’s Presence in your life
Getting through the valley of life is that God is always present in your life, even when you don’t see or hear him. You may feel you are all alone. But God is closer to you in the valley, than on the top of the mountain.
Learn to be sensitive to God.
The more you surrender the more you see Him,
The more humble you become, the more you hear Him, and
The more you submit, the more you sense Him near.
You journey in the valley becomes pleasant, because of the One who is with you. David realized this truth when He said, even in the valley, He is with me. You cannot make it through the valley on your own strength.
4. See beyond the Valley
David gave us the greatest help in making it through the valley. Surely goodness and mercy will follow you, and you will dwell in God’s house forever. Amen.
It is GOD Himself who will be with you through life’s trials to deliver you from all evil and fear. Paul declared that our deliverance from evil is through the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:4 (NLT) “Jesus gave His life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.”
You will fear no evil, for God is with you. And you will dwell in the house of The LORD forever.
It is your reassurance that valleys don’t last.
Turn your voice and eyes towards God in prayer and ask Him for the ability to see the face of Jesus.
Speak to God to be with you in the valley and for an attitude of grace, even in the most difficult situation
Pray to forgive those who throw you into valley
Invite the Holy Spirit to unleash His power to give you strength
Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.