from JO’s sermon tonight:
we all go through difficult times in life, and things that we don’t understand. when we’re in the valley, it’s easy to get discouraged, think that it will never get better. too often we lose our passion. but the scripture talks about the Valley of Blessing:
2 Chronicles 20:26 (NLT)
26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there.
(NB: Technically, the people were blessed BEFORE they went into the valley, not while they were IN the valley. Being blessed in a valley, in other words at a low point in your life, is a valid idea, but the Bible doesn’t mean it that way. This is why it’s so important to look things up.)
that seems like a contradiction; we think, “I can’t be in the valley and be blessed; in the valley I’m discouraged. I’m dealing with a health issue, these people at work won’t treat me right.” we see the valley as being negative; “as soon as I get out of this situation, I’ll have a better attitude.” but God doesn’t always remove the valley; He’ll bless you in the valley. David said:
Psalm 23:5 (NKJV)
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
it doesn’t say, “God will remove all my enemies, eliminate everything that’s bothering me, then prepare the table”; no, in the midst of the trouble, in the midst of the adversity, He prepares the table. He doesn’t have to deliver you from it, He can deliver you IN it.
one time, in the scripture, Isaac was in a great famine; nobody’s crops could grow. the land was dry and hard, no water, but:
Genesis 26:12 (NIV)
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him.
God didn’t have to deliver him from the famine; He blessed him in the midst of the famine. you may be in a valley right now, fighting a battle in your health, your finances, in a legal situation; God knows how to turn that battlefield into your blessing field. don’t complain about the valley; there’s a blessing in that valley. it wasn’t sent to harm you, it was sent to increase you. you need to get ready; it’s not going to stay a valley of defeat, it’s about to turn into a valley of victory. what you think is a valley of disappointment, loss, heartache, God is going to turn into a valley of new beginnings, a valley of greater fulfillment. or perhaps you’re in a valley of sickness. you could easily be discouraged, and settle where you are; take heart, it’s only temporary. it’s going to turn into a valley of health, greater strength. God has you in the palm of his hand; He promised, the number of your days He will fulfill. don’t be fooled by the valley; like for Isaac, it’s about to turn into a valley of breakthroughs, abundance, victory. it’s a valley of blessing.
this is what happened in the scripture to the people of Judah; they were surrounded by 3 major armies who were quickly closing in on them.
2 Chronicles 20:1 (NIV)
20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
in the natural, they didn’t have a chance; they were outnumbered 10 to 1. Jehoshaphat the king called everyone together to pray:
2 Chronicles 20:13 (NLT)
13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children
you can imagine how worried, how concerned they were; their lives were on the line. Jehoshaphat looked up to the heavens:
2 Chronicles 20:12 (AMP)
12 O our God… We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.
when you’re in the valley, it’s ok to be honest; “God, I don’t see how I could ever get out. I don’t see how I could get well, how my family could be restored.” that’s fine, but don’t stop there, do like he did; “God, I don’t see a way, but my eyes are upon You. I know You still have a way. I know nothing is too difficult for You.” after he finished praying:
2 Chronicles 20:14-15 (NIV)
14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah… 15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
you may be facing big enemies today. God is saying the same thing; “quit letting it upset you, quit losing your peace; it’s not your battle, it’s the Lord’s battle.” God went on to instruct them:
2 Chronicles 20:16-17 (NLT)
16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.
King Jehoshaphat did something interesting:
2 Chronicles 20:21 (GW)
21 After he had advised the people, he appointed people to sing to the Lord and praise him for the beauty of his holiness. As they went in front of the troops, they sang, “Thank the Lord because his mercy endures forever!”
notice, in the valley, they weren’t complaining, they weren’t saying, “we’ll never get out, this problem’s too big, why does this happen to us?” no, they were singing praises, talking about the greatness of their God. they were speaking faith into their future. what you’re saying in the valley is extremely important. if you go around saying, “I’m never going to get out, I’ve got all these problems, I always get these bad breaks,” then you’re going to get stuck. but when you start talking about how great your God is, how no weapon formed against you will prosper, how this problem didn’t come stay, it came to pass, “I can do all things through Christ, I am more than a conqueror,” when you start talking like that, that’s when God will show up and make things happen that you could never make happen. when these enemy armies heard all the singing, shouting, commotion:
2 Chronicles 20:23-24 (NKJV)
23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
just like God promised; stand still, and He will fight your battles.
2 Chronicles 20:25-26 (NLT)
25 King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there.
isn’t it interesting; in the place where they had their greatest battles, their most powerful enemies, God didn’t call that, The Valley of Opposition, The Valley of Struggle, The Valley of Heartache; He called it The Valley of Blessing. when you face tough times, have this new perspective; that is not The Valley of Defeat, that’s The Valley of Victory. that’s not a valley to hold you back, it’s a valley of promotion. it’s not a valid sickness, it’s a valley of restoration. maybe like the people of Judah, what you’re facing looks insurmountable: the medical report doesn’t look good, you lost your biggest client, your child won’t do what’s right. those enemies may look big, but one touch of God’s favor can turn it all around. don’t get discouraged; God has not brought you this far to leave you. every voice may tell you, “that’s a valley of defeat; you’re never going to get out, never accomplish your dreams”; the good news is, you don’t have to get out of the valley, God can bless you in the valley.
the enemy may have meant it for your harm, but he doesn’t have the final say, God does; He says, “stand still, and I’m going to show you my goodness. stay in faith, and I’m going to turn that battlefield into your blessing field.” what should have defeated you is going to increase you; you’re going to come out better. I love the fact that it took them three days to gather up all the spoils. it would’ve been a great victory if God had just defeated their enemies, spared their lives, but God never brings you out the same; He makes the enemy pay for bringing that trouble into your life. sometimes, we’re just hoping to make it through the valley; “God, help me make it through this dry season at work.” but God says, “no, I’m going to turn that valley into a valley of abundance.” there’s a blessing in every valley. David said:
Psalm 23:1-2 (NKJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
we like that part of the passage, but a little later it says:
Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
he was saying; the same God that leads you to the green pastures and the still waters, sometimes will lead you to the valley. you may not understand it, but if it wasn’t going to work for your good, God would have never allowed it. when you face tough times, you have to remind yourself; God would not be leading you to that valley if that’s all there was. loss, defeat, too bad, you’re done; no, there’s a purpose for that valley, not to hinder you, but to help you. not to hold you back, but to push you forward. not to weaken you, but to make you stronger. the key is our attitude in the valley. if Jehoshaphat would’ve thought, “God, I’ve served you all these years, I’ve done my best, and now look, these enemies are going to wipe us out, that’s just not right,” if he’d have been negative, bitter, discouraged, he would’ve never seen this valley of blessing. most likely, he would’ve been captured, or even killed. Psalms says:
Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
when you encounter a valley, sometimes it’s not because you’ve done anything wrong, it’s because you’re doing something right. God is ready to promote you, but the way He’s going to do it is by taking you through the valley of blessing. we think, “God, if You’re going to bless me, don’t take me down, take me up. if You want to promote me, don’t let me lose my job.” but God’s ways are not our ways; they are much bigger. His plan is better than our plan. don’t fight your valleys; stay encouraged. every closed door, every bad break, everything that didn’t work out, that valley was not a surprise to God. it’s an opportunity for you to go to a higher level. God is directing your steps when you’re on the mountaintops, and He’s directing your steps even when you’re in the valley. and I’m not saying to accept defeat, settle for mediocrity, that isn’t God’s plan; I’m saying, when you go through a valley, and we all do, when a door closes, you get a bad medical report, don’t get bitter, don’t live with a chip on your shoulder; start expecting new doors to open, new opportunities, new friendships. God wouldn’t have led you there if it wasn’t going to work for your good. there’s a blessing that valley.
don’t fight your valleys; they’re leading to your greatest victories. in the valleys, we always gain something; we may not like it, but we gain experience, endurance, our character is being developed. with every victory comes a new level of confidence, something that you’ll need later on to go to a higher level. the valleys are getting us prepared. God knows what’s in your future. He knows what you’re going to need, when you’re going to need it. everything happens for a reason. a challenge you face today may not make sense, you may not understand it, but 15 years from now, because it deposited something in you, you’ll be prepared for what you face. God doesn’t do anything randomly; He’s specific, detailed. if the valley wasn’t necessary, you wouldn’t be there. if that setback, that disappointment, wasn’t going to add anything to your life, God would’ve never allowed it. don’t try to figure out why it happened; that will only confuse you. just stay in faith, trust God that He knows what’s best, and you can be certain; everything that comes your way in life, somehow, someway, God is eventually going to work that to your advantage.
when David was a teenager, he went out to face Goliath in the valley of Elah (NB: “Elah” is the Aramaic word for “God”). it wasn’t a coincidence that he was in the valley. we see this principle; Goliath, of course, was much bigger, stronger, had more experience. it looked impossible, like David didn’t have a chance, but again we see God turn of valley of defeat into a valley of blessing.
1 Samuel 17:48-49 (NLT)
48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.
David didn’t have a sword, so:
1 Samuel 17:51 (NLT)
51 Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.
David came out of that valley, not only with more experience, more confidence, more respect, but he came out with the sword of Goliath. fast-forward years later; David was on the run from King Saul. Saul was jealous of David, and trying to kill him. David had to leave in such a hurry that he didn’t have time to get his sword; he had no way to protect himself. he ran to the next city, went to the temple, saw some people that he knew; he told them he was on assignment for the king:
1 Samuel 21:8-9 (NLT)
8 David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword? The king’s business was so urgent that I didn’t even have time to grab a weapon!”
9 “I only have the sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah,” the priest replied. “It is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. Take that if you want it, for there is nothing else here.”
notice, something that had happened in the valley was now instrumental to David reaching the next level of his destiny. had he not gained the sword in the valley, he would’ve gotten stuck. friends, God has it all figured out; the valley you face today may not be for today, it may be for years down the road. but if you didn’t learn what you needed to learn, gain what you needed to gain, you wouldn’t be prepared for the new levels. don’t complain about the valley; there’s a blessing in that valley. later on you’re going to use the experience, the confidence. that sword, so to speak, will be waiting for you. in every valley, you’re gaining something; you may not realize it, but there’s a purpose. nothing happens by accident; there’s no use getting upset and letting it sour your life. stand still, and you will see the victory. one day, you will look back and see what God was up to. you’ll say, “Lord, thank You for that valley; if I hadn’t have learned what I needed to learn, I wouldn’t be prepared.” or, “Lord, thank You for closing that door, or I would never have accomplished my dreams.”
God knows what He’s doing. every valley has a blessing; there’s something to push you forward, something that will be instrumental in you reaching the next level of your destiny. I don’t complain about my valleys anymore. I understand this new perspective; this valley wouldn’t be here unless it was preparing me for something greater, unless I was gaining something that I’m going to need later on. I’ve heard the saying: “trouble is inevitable, but misery is optional.” we’re all going to go through valleys, have things we don’t understand; trouble is inevitable, but it’s up to us whether or not we get stressed out and let it sour the rest of our life. when you go through a valley, when you go through things you don’t understand, don’t go around confronting people, don’t let it sour the rest of your life. remind yourself; that is not going to work against you, it’s going to work for you. one day, you’re going to look back, and say, “what I thought was a valley of defeat, I realize now it was a valley of blessing.”
in 1 Kings 20, the Israelites had just defeated the army of Ben-Hadad on the top of this mountain:
1 Kings 20:23-28 (NLT)
23 After their defeat, Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “The Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won. But we can beat them easily on the plains… So King Ben-hadad did as they suggested.
26 The following spring he called up the Aramean army and marched out against Israel, this time at Aphek… 28 Then the man of God went to the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says: The Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is a god of the hills and not of the plains.’ So I will defeat this vast army for you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
when we’re on the mountain, getting good breaks, seeing favor, we know God is with us; life is good. sometimes, when we’re in the valley, we think, “God, where are You? why did this happen to me? will I ever get out of this trouble? will I ever get well?” be encouraged; He’s not just the God of the mountains, He’s the God of the valleys. David said:
Psalm 46:1 (GW)
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in times of trouble.
when you’re in the valley, God is not far away; He’s right there with you, a very present help.
Psalm 84:6 (TLB)
6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains!
on the way to your destiny, there will be some valleys. you’ll probably shed some tears, have things you don’t understand. but God doesn’t waste anything; this is saying, God collects every tear that you’ve shed. He’ll use those same tears to refresh you; they will become pools of blessing.
when David was 37 years old, he was about to step into the fullness of his destiny. he’d just received his third and final anointing. he found himself at the valley of Rephaim; “Rephaim” means “giants.” some 20 years earlier, he had killed Goliath in that valley, but now, he not only faced one Goliath, he faced a valley of Goliaths. the principle; the closer you are to your destiny, the greater the opposition. you may overcome one challenge, that’s good, but don’t be surprised if you face a bigger challenge; that means you’re getting closer to your destiny. David and his men went out, full of faith, full of courage, and defeated the Philistines. the scripture says:
2 Samuel 5:20 (AMP)
20 And David came to Baal-perazim, and he smote them there, and said, The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like the bursting out of great waters. So he called the name of that place Baal-perazim [Lord of breaking through].
when you face situations that seem impossible, you need to do like David; rename that valley. this is not the valley of debt, struggle, lack; I’m renaming it The Valley of Abundance, The Valley of Promotion, The Valley of Increase. this is not the valley of cancer, heart disease, kidney failure; I’m renaming it The Valley of Health, The Valley of Wholeness, The Valley of Victory. this may look like the valley of loneliness, loss, disappointment, but I’m renaming it The Valley of Breakthroughs, The Valley of Victory, it’s The Valley of Blessing. friends, if you’ll start renaming your valleys, what was meant to stop you will instead promote you. the reason you’re facing the opposition is because, just like David, you’re about to step into a new level of your destiny. don’t complain about the valley, have this new perspective; there’s a blessing in that valley. get your passion back. get your fire back. the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. if you’ll do this, God is going to turn every valley you face in life into a valley of victory, health, abundance and blessing.