Monday, October 29, 2018

We'll Soon Be Through

Scripture Text:  
Psalm 23:4  (King James Version)

Psalm 23 

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever".

I am sure that you will recognize these words of my favorite Psalm of David,
the sweet singer of Israel.

I see two pictures here.  One of David in a dark valley and the other one of David, safe on the
other side of the valley.
There are three words in the text that I want to draw your attention to.  These three words will form the basis for my message.

The first word is THOUGH.   It should be rendered EVEN THOUGH.
It speaks of God's plan for His children.  
It means "allowing" or "permitting".
Verse 4 - Yea, even though, God permits me to walk through the valleys.


God allows or permits all of His children to go into the valley every now and then.
In fact, all of life is a valley experience and becoming a Christian does not change this.

Salvation changes us.....not the valleys!

David often led his sheep through dark ravines with lions, bears, scorpions (and more)
that were on the prowl.  Today, we are in a valley characterized by depression
and danger.  The Psalmist David calls it here, in verse 4, "the valley of the shadow of death".

Perhaps some of you today are experiencing a dark valley.  It may be trouble in your home, poor health, financial difficulty, trails and problems of various nature.  All through the Bible we find that
trials and testing are the experiences of every one of God's children.
 Understand that God is well aware of your current situation!  
1Peter 4:12-13 says, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happed unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ;s sufferings; that, when  his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy".   Then Peter said in 1 Peter 5:10, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

The second word is THROUGH.  It means to pass from beginning to end.
It speaks of the purpose of God with His children.
Why does God allow valley experiences for His children?
First of all, I believe He allows us to experience the valleys so that we learn to walk with Him day by day, as we pass through the valley.

The Christian life is a walk of faith.....not of sight!
God's purpose is to train us.  He desires that we learn to lean upon Him and trust Him.
He seeks to bring about our growth in grace.
But, note this....though God's plan for His children is that we experience valley experiences, 
His plan is that we NOT remain in the valley. He is NOT going to leave us in the valley.
Verse 6 tells us that Goodness and Mercy are right at our heels. 
God intends for us to come through! 
His purpose is that we pass through the valley and come out on the other side.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord deliverers them all".  (Psalm 34:19)        
The word "through" lets us know that there is something on the other side os the valley.
Verse 6 tells us what it is....."that we dwell in the house of the Lord forever".

The third word is THOU.
The word thou speaks to us of the promise of God to His children.
What is the promise to us while we are yet in the valley?
"I AM WITH YOU"  Verse 4 - our text - David said, "Thou art with me".

The Lord Our with us!

The promise of God to His children repeatedly is:
                                           through the waters...
                                                         the rivers...
                                                         the wilderness
                                                         the fire and the valleys of life.
through that trial...
              that test...
              that temptation and that trouble.

Jesus says,  "Be NOT afraid for I am with thee"!

Verse 4 - David says that The Presence of God - Banishes Fear.  "I will fear no evil". 
David says that The Presence of The Lord - Protects From The Enemy. "Thy rod comforts me".
This rod was a club with spikes in it that enabled the Shepherd to deal a death blow to wild animals.
God's Presence not only banishes fear 
but, guarantees our protection!
David tells us that the Shepherd not only had a rod but a staff......a crook.  With this staff he would lead the sheep and when they would wander he would pull them back
David also says "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me".
God has promised to keep us safe while in the valley and He promises to bring us safely through the valley.  What a comfort to the children of God!

Child of God, the Good Shepherd is with you in the valley today.
Be Not Afraid!
Trust Him!
He will bring you through!