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Through the Valley

When we are in the valley, God is preparing a blessing for us on the other side.

Introduction

It was near the twilight of his life, and quite possibly he sat on one of the curvaceous slopes of the hills of Judea, looked out into one of the valleys, and saw a common site of the times. David had walked with the Lord for many years, and maybe in a time of reflection and contemplation he saw a flock of sheep being led through the valley by a faithful and loving shepherd. Flashbacks in his mind took David to his days as a young lad serving in his dad's household.

He began to reflect upon his walk with God, and as his eyes were captured by the sight in front of him, maybe it dawned on him, As that shepherd is to those sheep, so has the Lord been to me. David said, "The Lord is my shepherd," and for a moment David was caught in the tension of the call of God on his life. Maybe David realized he was one who walked in two roles. It is such a walk, a walk of duality, that you and I share today. It is the shepherd's dilemma that hovers and covers our lives. For, as David, we are called to be both shepherd and sheep. You are God's shepherd, and yet you are God's sheep. What a duality of roles. What a tension in our existence. The shepherd's dilemma.

The Lord sometimes has to make us rest.

David said, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" (KJV). He is the Lord Jehovah Ra'ah. He is the God of gods, and he is my shepherd. David said, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Ah, that's my dilemma. As shepherd I lead God's people, and yet I'm following God as a sheep. He makes me lie down. There's something challenging about that phrase. David says God is such a shepherd that he maketh me to lie down. God knows there is a sheep in me, and there's something about my sheepness ...

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Ken Ulmer is pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Ingelwood, California, and author of The Anatomy of God (Whitaker House).

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

  • David walked with the Lord while caring for a flock of sheep.
  • Pastors face the dilemma of being both sheep and shepherd.

The Lord sometimes has to make us rest

  • God is so committed to blessing me that he will force me to lie down.
  • My obsession with being a shepherd causes me to forget I'm a sheep.

When you are in a valley, remember a mountaintop is ahead

  • A valley means I left one mountaintop and I'm on my way to another.
  • The key is to walk through the valley because the journey is not complete.

God blesses us even in the valley

  • In the midst of depression, failure, and challenges, God moves.
  • He prepares a table before me is a preposition of location or an adverb of time.
  • o Illustration: Benihana's restaurant prepares the food in front of you.
  • Sometimes God positions you to see that he is up to something.
  • o llustration: The shepherd would put his sheep down for the night and then prepare a place for them to eat the next day.
  • We must learn to follow, even if we don't see where God is leading us.

God blesses us as the enemy is watching.

  • The enemy can see us, but cannot get to us because of the shepherd is there.

God protects us on every side.

  • The devil and hell cannot stop you from receiving what God has ordained if you'll walk on by faith and not by sight.
  • Illustration: Ulmer describes all the protections offered by the shepherd.

Praise God as he leads you out of the valley.

  • Illustration: In cowboy movies, when the bad guys are surrounded they must come out with their hands up.
  • God surrounds you, so come out of that problem with your hands up.

Conclusion:

  • God is so committed to you that he'll meet you in your valleys.