THE GOD OF MY VALLEYS
Living in the Goodness of God — Part 6
March 4-5, 2017
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need. He makes me lie down
in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in the right paths for his name’s sake. Even when I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me!” Psalm 23:1-4
God said, “Because the Syrians think that I am only the god of the hills and not that I AM THE GOD OF THE VALLEYS, I’m going to give you victory over this huge army so everyone will know that I am the Lord!” 1 Kings 20:28 (NIV)
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT VALLEYS
1. VALLEYS ARE A PART OF LIFE (INEVITABLE)
“The Promised Land you are about to enter is a land of hills and valleys . . .” Deuteronomy 11:11 (NLT)
“Don’t be surprised when you are tested by troubles or painful suffering, as if something unusual is happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12 (TEV)
2. VALLEYS HAPPEN TO EVERYONE (IMPARTIAL)
“The good man does not escape all troubles — he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one.” Psalm 34:19 (LB)
3. VALLEYS ARE UNPREDICTABLE
“Don’t ever brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1 (NLT)
ACTION PLAN: Did you download the Psalm 23 song from http://saddlebackworship.com/psalm23? Listen to it (or read Psalm 23 from your Bible) every day this week to help you get through the valleys you may encounter.
WHAT KIND OF VALLEYS TO EXPECT
Significant Valleys in the Bible
- THE VALLEY OF SIDDIM (GEN. 14:1-11)
“. . . this valley was full of sticky tar pits, and when (they) tried to run away from the battle, they slipped and fell in the pits” Genesis 14:10
- THE VALLEY OF FAILURE; where you slip & fall & get stuck
- THE VALLEY OF ESHCOL (NUMBERS 13:23-33)
“. . . in our own eyes we felt as small as grasshoppers next to them.” Numbers 13:33
THE VALLEY OF FEAR: where you keep going or give up
- THE VALLEY OF ELAH (1 SAMUEL 17:1-58)
“The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley of Elah between them.” 1 Samuel 17:3
- THE VALLEY OF CONFLICT: when facing a giant challenge
- THE VALLEY OF BACA (PSALM 84:5-7)
“Blessed are those whose strength comes from the Lord . . . As they pass through the Valley of Baca (WEEPING) they make it a place of springs.” Psalm 84:5-6a
THE VALLEY OF GRIEF & BARRENNESS
ACTION PLAN: We weren’t designed to go through the valleys in our life alone. Discuss your struggles with members of your small group, or connect with a support group at http://www.saddleback.com/care/supportgroups.
WHAT TO REMEMBER IN A VALLEY
1. REMEMBER I’M NOT ALONE. GOD IS WITH ME!
“Even when I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, (Salmawet) I will fear no evil, for you are with me!” Psalm 23:4
“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, 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!” Isaiah 43:2 (LB)
“As for me, God’s presence is all I need! I’ve made the sovereign Lord my shelter.” Psalm 73:28
ACTION PLAN: Type the words from Psalm 73:28 beneath your signature on emails. It will be a reminder to you that God is with you, and it will offer encouragement to others who may be going through their own valleys.
2. REMEMBER GOD HAS A GOOD PURPOSE FOR THIS VALLEY!
“We can even rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and that kind of hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured his love into our hearts.” Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
“I will transform the Valley of Trouble into a Gateway of Hope!” Hosea 2:15 (NLT)
ACTION PLAN: Change your focus from what you are going through to why you are going through it. Ask God to show you what he wants you to learn from this experience.
3. REMEMBER THE REWARD WILL LAST FOREVER!
“For our present troubles are quite small and they won’t last very long. Yet they are producing in us an eternal glory that will last forever and is greater than anything we can imagine!” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NLT/GW)
“Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive.” Joel 3:14 (NLT)
ACTION PLAN: Realize that the valley you are going through is temporary, but the decision to make Jesus the Shepherd of your life offers eternal rewards.