WS Update: The God of the Valleys

October 30, 2023

The history of Israel in the Old Testament is a rich reservoir of insight into the character of God. 1 Kings 20 narrates a war between Syria and Israel. The Syrians believed that if they engaged Israel in the valley they would have an advantage. A prophet came to Israel’s king and said:

This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the (Syrians) think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’

Many of you know that it is in the valleys of your life, the times of doubt and suffering, that God makes himself known. Faith might be ‘easier’ during seasons when we can look out over the mountains and see clear skies. But in the dark valleys, when doubt is easier than faith, God draws near and meets our needs, the way he brought Elijah food and water in the dark valley of his despair (I Kings 19:1-9).  

I don’t know whether you are starting this week atop a mountain or in a dark valley. What I do know is that God is with you. Jesus experienced the wilderness and dark valley of death, a God-forsakenness on the cross, for you. Jesus is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Jesus knows your pain and your joys and will make himself known to you in the midst of the dark valleys, for even “the darkness is not dark to him; the night is bright as the day, or darkness is as light with him.” (Psalm 139:12)

Take time to read the Psalm below. And if you know someone who is in the valley, reach out to them with ‘food and water’ and in so doing, make God’s presence tangible to them.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff,they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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