How do people ‘put God in a box’ or ‘limit’ God? How have you limited God in your own life?
1 Kings 20:23 “And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.”
The enemy of Israel thought their God was a God of the mountains and didn’t know how to fight in the valley.
1 Kings 20:24-28 “And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms: 25 And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so. 26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27 And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country. 28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”
He is the God of the valley as well as the God of the mountains. You may feel like two little flocks of goats, but God is still in control. The enemy always thinks he can get victory over us when he attacks us in the valley. He makes you feel that God is so far away and great. He makes you think you’re alone. But, he’s a liar. God is in the valley of despair, debt, failure, hardship, sickness, etc, etc. When you’re weak, tired, sick, empty, and feeling all alone, God is there. You will be strengthened by being calm and trusting God.
How have you experienced victory in your personal valleys?
1 Peter 1:6-7 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
Psalm 84:5-6 “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. 6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.”
Know this about valleys:
- Valleys are a part of normal life. You don’t experience valleys because you are a bad person, you experience valleys because you are a person! Duet. 11:11 “But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:”
- Valleys happen to everyone. All go through valleys. Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Many, many, many afflictions happen to the righteous, BUT GOD!!! Mat 5:45 “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Everyone goes through hills and valleys.
- Valleys are not predictable. They come at an inconvenient time. You can’t know when you’re going to go through trouble. Tragedies happen all of a sudden. You don’t know when, but you do know they will happen. Prov 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” You may forget you’re not alone. Psalm 23:4 “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.” You can’t choose your valleys, but you can choose how you will respond to them and what you will believe during that trial. The further down you go in the ocean, the darker it gets, the greater the pressure. It’s the same in life. You may say and think things that aren’t godly. Erase that stinkin’ thinking!
How is knowing valleys are part of normal life, they happen to everyone, and they are unpredictable comforting? How can that change your attitude toward going through a valley?
4. There is a purpose for that valley. God will show you things in the valley. Job 12:22 “He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.” You can learn more in the silence and sadness than in times of laughter. Some people have a ‘victim mentality.’ These people enjoy the valleys and the attention they get. They set up camp in the valley. Get up! You don’t have to stay in the valley! Don’t ask how to wallow in your misery. Instead ask, ‘What do You want me to learn here?’ Jesus will take you to the other side, but you’ve got to walk with Him. Don’t be negative in the valley. It’s through the valley of the shadow of death that you must go. This will be a witness to the world. When you come out of the valley, people will recognize you have a God. Rom 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” ‘Knowing’ is the operative word in vs 3. Experience is something you have right after you need it. When stuff starts happening, remember what you know about God. Remember what you’ve already been through and that you went through it. You’re not still there!
What do you know about God? What does His Word say about Him and what He will do for you? How does that change your experience in that valley?
5. God’s presence AND power are with you in the valley. If God did it for you once, He will do it again. God will always win. Nothing is ever too hard for Him. Hope! Col 1:11 “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Don’t complain. Trust. Jesus took three of His disciples to a mountain and showed them His glory. Then, they all went down into the valley and found the disciples unable to deliver a possessed boy. Jesus got a little frustrated by their lack of faith and commanded the devil out. The boy was instantly delivered. The answer to your valley is to keep walking through with Jesus. Hide under His shadow, under His wings. All of a sudden victory will come. For every valley, there is a hill. God is not only with you, He is with you in power.
6. Valleys are temporary. Valleys are working for us an eternal weight of glory, beauty, and greatness. 2 Cor 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” Paul’s affliction seemed anything but ‘light,’ yet, he praised and trusted God anyway. Paul suffered shipwreck, was imprisoned, chased, beaten, stoned, bore many, many burdens. He was pressed down, but not destroyed. Yet, Paul called it all ‘light’ because of the hope that he refused to let go of. Those afflictions were temporary.
How does knowing there is purpose in that valley, God’s presence and power are with you in the valley, and that valleys are temporary change your attitude?
When you are in the valley, something is working for an eternal great reward. If you fall, fall back and look up. If you can look up, you’ll get up. And, when you get up, the devil gets nervous.
The Teacher is always silent when you’re taking a test. That doesn’t mean the Teacher is not in the room. Of course, He’s still there.
When you fail the test, you have to take it again.
Jesus knows about valleys. After all of the valleys, Peter had a revelation. Jesus got so frustrated because the people saw the miracles and chose to leave Him anyway. Jesus asked if His disciples would leave Him too. But, Peter had the revelation, ‘Where else can we go for the words of eternal life?’
This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!