VN520285 In a Valley? Prepare. Be Quiet and Know He Is God!
We are going to Kings 20:18-28. Now, the background to this is; Syria is getting ready to attack the kingdom of Israel. The king of Syria is pretty confident about it because he is a big nation, he is a big guy, he has a big army, so while he is preparing to come down, which loosely that means he is having a beer party and he is getting drunk. The Israelite people are getting ready to fight this battle, and a prophet comes to the king of Israel and tells him what’s going to happen.
Now, when they come and tell Benhadad, that’s the name of the king of Syria, okay it says men have come out from Samaria. The word Samaria is actually a geographic location. It’s kind of like saying Southern Illinois. You’re in Illinois but it’s Southern Illinois. When they say Samaria they still are talking about Israel and the Jewish people as we know them, not the Samaritans of the New Testament. This is Samaria of the Old Testament, and they’re all really Jewish people. Starting with that, they tell him that these people are coming out, the Israelites are coming out, and this drunk king now says, “If they come out for peace, take them alive; if they come out to make war, take them alive. So these went out from the city,” and now he’s talking about the Israelites, “the young men of the rulers of the provinces, and the army which followed them,” and the Israelites, They killed each of his man; and the Syrians fled and Israel pursued them, and Benhadad, king of Syria, escaped on a horse with horsemen. The king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter. Then the prophet came near to the king of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do; for at the turn of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.” Now the servants of the king of Syria said to him, ”Their gods are gods of the mountains, therefore they were stronger than we; but rather let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they. Do this thing: remove the kings, each from his place, and put captains in their place, and muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they’ And he listened to their voice and did so. ”
So it came out, “At the turn of the year, Benhadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. The sons of Israel were mustered and were provisioned and went to meet them; and the sons of Israel camped before them like two little flocks of goats, but the Syrians filled the country. Then a man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel and said, ‘Thus says the Lord, Because the Syrians have said,'” and get what they had said, “‘The Lord is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys,’ therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.'”
Shall we pray. Father, in the name of Jesus help us to be wiser than the Syrians and to see that You are God of all places, that You are everywhere, and that You are no less powerful in any particular location. Help us to understand the application here and help us to gain knowledge for this, from this. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
A lot of people say that Christianity is so scripturally minded it’s of no earthly use and most of the time you hear these sermons and they do sound awful spiritually minded and it’s all invisible. God is invisible, the Holy Spirit is invisible, we pray to an invisible God and then some day off in the future when we pass away or whenever we’re raptured we’ll go into the presence of God which is invisible and we’ll be in heaven which is invisible, and they say you guys are just living for blue sky, pie in the sky. You guys really don’t have anything applicable today, something that you can use, but from this lesson we’re going to try to garner some that it’s very applicable to our situation today, to each and every one of us.
Notice when these people went out, they were like two little flocks, two little kids, two little flocks of kid goats out there and the whole vast Syrian arm was laid out before them. See what the Syrians had done at this time, and when I say this time I’m talking at that age, the people of Syria and a lot of other people, Egypt and all these people thought that there was a god of everything. There is a god on that mountain, there is a god on another mountain, there is a god of this river and there is a god of that creek. There would be a god of hog run if we were over there now. Can you imagine what the god of hog run would look like? And you would have a god of this big rock and a god of that big rock over there, and you would have a god of this tree, and so whenever Benhadad got drunk and got beat by the Syrians, and I mean whipped bad and sent off, he went back and his people said well of course you got beat because we were fighting them on a mountaintop. Their god obviously is just a god of mountaintop but you get them out there on the plain, get them out there on the valley and we can take them because our god is a god of the valley, our god is the god of the plain and so they said we’ll get together and this is what you do. You take out all those kings, those people who have been helping you, they’re no good anyway, and get some of your own men and put them in charge. Get captains and put them in charge of the army, and then assemble an army just as big as you had before, horse for horse, man for man, and we’ll take them. We’ll get in that valley and we’ll take them.
The God of Israel said you go out there because we’re going to teach them a lesson, and while we’re beating them I want you to learn from this. He said I want you to learn that I’m a God of everywhere, mountains or the valleys, and so the time came and they had the war and of course Israel won and we’re to take from this that our God is there for us on the mountaintops, our God is there for us in the valley, and when they had first won that mountaintop experience, God sent the prophet back to him, verse 22, back to the king of Israel and he said to the king of Israel, “Go, strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do; for at the turn of the year,” that means coming up next year, “the king of Syria is going to come against you again.” We know that they won. Now, what can we take from this?
My mom always said to be foretold something is to be forewarned. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. If you know something is coming towards you then buddy you ought to start getting ready for what’s coming down the road towards you, what’s coming down the pipe, what’s coming down that highway towards you? If you know it’s coming, get prepared. That prophet went to the king of Israel and said yeah, you beat him this time, but you go home and you get prepared because he’s coming back and the king of Israel got prepared. Now, this is where we’re going to apply it today. Did you guys notice it’s fall outside? At 4 this morning I had to get up and get chocolate milk. That’s my one addiction so I was up shopping at 4 in the morning getting chocolate milk. It was like 30 or 40 degrees outside. It was cold. Winterize your houses is what I’m saying and now we can go home.
Here it is getting fall and this is a very hard time for a lot of people. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, the days are getting grey. It gets to be very depressing for a lot of people. There are a lot of things that go on during this season. It’s called seasonal stress disorder. The sky turns gunky and grey and a lot of people know it’s coming down to this time and they start dreading it, but to be forewarned is to be forearmed. I’m telling you guys this, some of you have no problem, you can sail through this time of year, but I try to do this at every church I go. It’s coming. If you don’t have it some of your friends are going to be affected. You’re going to have the winter blues and the winter blahs, and now is the time to start listening to what God says and start preparing what’s going to come against you sometime or against your friends.
Take the word of God and apply it to your life. Verse 22 says, “Go, strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do;” for it’s going to come. That king is going to come against you again. He says go strengthen yourself. It’s that time of year folks that you’re going to get lazy and you’re not going to want to do anything. Strengthen yourselves. If you want to get through this season and not be blah, bummed out, ho-hum, in the blues, in the doldrums or just flat out depressed strengthen yourself. This isn’t just pie in the sky and read the scriptures. Do that. Read those scriptures, listen to what the Word of God has to say, listen to what God is telling you, but listen to what He is telling you to do. Strengthen yourself. Get up and get exercise.
I was just reading an article that said most kids today only get 5 minutes of exercise a day because of all the high tech stuff. They don’t have to do anything. They just sit and push buttons and if they get five it’s just probably because they’re walking from their computer over to the refrigerator and back again. Get up and start moving. There is a Madagascar and some of the kids know this song, “I like to move it, move it. I like to move it, move it. I like to move it, move it. We like to move it. Move it.” It’s a Disney song so it’s okay to sing it, and it’s just a bunch of little critters and they’re all singing and this goes on for it seems like hours, but it’s a great song. Folks, we’re getting there. Start making preparations. Get up and start moving. Strengthen yourselves. Move. Exercise. Walk. Lift weights. I don’t care what it is, but keep moving and be prepared because the time is coming when you won’t feel like doing it, but you do it anyway.
Other things you do to strengthen yourself is start eating right. I confessed my sin. I got up at 4 to get chocolate milk. It’s that time of year when I am going chocolate milk. I’m trying to cut back on it, but try to eat things that are healthy for you and not just something that’s called comfort food. Popcorn is another big one for me. I’ve got to have popcorn, it’s got to have lots of butter, lots of salt and the doctor is saying your blood pressure is going up and I don’t know why. Just because I’m eating away and eating all that salty stuff. I know better. I’m lecturing you so I’ll listen to myself. Get prepared. Strengthen yourself because exercise is a way of overcoming.
We’re going to talk about this whole thing a little bit later, but the other thing he said in verse 22, “strengthen yourself and observe.” Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Pay attention. If you’re one of these people that slide into the blues, do you slide into the blues about this time every year? Is there a particular holiday when you slide into the blues? I know people that slide in because it’s Thanksgiving and before they always had a big family. Now their family has shrunk down and they have moved off and they don’t have those big family get-togethers, or it’s Christmas and they don’t have big family Christmas’ any more. It’s just two or three people get together and it gets them depressed because things are not what they used to be.
What is triggering you to start down that spiral of the blues and getting bummed out? What is it? Short days? Not enough light? Go to some hardware store, a big one, a big hardware store. They have those swirly lights. Get those swirly lights. They have got them and they are this tall. Get the ones that go to the blue. They only burn about 60 watts. Buy you about 3 of those babies and when you get up in the morning turn them on. That will just pshshshsh and it will be just like the sun rose up and it will wake you up. You want to go to the ones with the blue even though the yellow ones are warm. You want to go to the blue because blue is the color that wakes you up. That’s why the sky is blue. God put it up there to wake us up. Get some light. Do whatever you have to do but get 3 of them honking big lights. I have them. I use them. I get up first thing in the morning and I start turning on those lights after the fall equinox comes in.
Something else, get yourself a comfortable chair and move it by your window. Find a window. Get a comfortable chair. If you’re going to sit there make it a rocking chair so that you’re exercising the whole time you’re sitting by that window. I’m not kidding folks. Did you know that people have more circulatory trouble if they don’t sit in rocking chairs? People that rock, they use their lower limbs to rock themselves. Forcing the blood. Forcing the blood. This is fact. Another fact is do you remember those great old typewriters that we used to have in the good days that went bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, slam. Remember those? They switched those over to those fancy electric typewriters. There is somebody here that I was always jealous of, Carolyn, because we took typing class together, she probably doesn’t remember it, but while I was over there going. Okay, I use the search and destroy method, a, b, and she was over there with those fancy new typewriters going click, click, click, click. You don’t even have to go whish, slam. You just hit a button and it slams by itself.
Now, I tell you that because here is a fact. Did you know when they dropped those old manual typewriters and went to those new fangled electric typewriters that on average all across America the secretaries gained 10 pounds that first year? I’m telling you that because our government spent a lot of money discovering that fact so I’m telling you, you might as well get some value out of it. You need to do something even if you just fidget. Do you notice that people who fidget a lot are usually skinnier? Just make up your mind you’re going to sit there and fidget. I had an aunt who would sit in the chair all day long and cross her legs and sit there like this and talk to you with one foot fidget, fidget, fidget and then sit the other way and fidget that leg. She was always a skinny little thing. My other aunts on the other hand did not fidget. I hope none of my family ever hears that.
The article said to exercise, strengthen yourself, observe and figure out what it is that triggers you into a spiral of depression or blues or something like that. I know a lady who was doing this kind of thing and she was getting bummed out because it was Christmas. She always had a big family, and finally someone said why don’t you have an open house at your house for Christmas? Well, she had one and to me it is one of the highlights of the year now. I look forward to this. The lady invites all of her friends, her family and her neighbors. I’m not related and I’m not a neighbor so I must have been a friend. They come together on an afternoon from like 4 to 6 or 8 o’clock at night, and she just has those little finger foods. I don’t see these people but once a year. We go there, we’ve been going there for quite a while and it’s good to see these people that I don’t know but once a year, and it gives her something to look forward to, it gives her a positive attitude. Always have something to look forward to. Plan things out about 6 weeks out. Don’t stay at home and be grumpy and feel rejected.
The Article says go strengthen yourself, observe and see what you have to do. I don’t care how old you are, you have responsibilities, get up and do them even if you don’t feel like getting up and doing them, and if you have responsibilities make yourself complete them. I have people call me who say,” I just don’t feel good. What am I going to do? I’m so bummed out.” I said,” What are you supposed to be doing?” “Oh, I should get up and go to work”. “Then get up and go to work. That’s your responsibility. You have to make yourself do the things even if you don’t want to because you are responsible. When you’re doing your responsibilities you will start feeling better about yourself.” I know a person who honestly would go out and shop this time of year and buy presents for his friends and his family, expensive presents, bring them home wrapped, pass them out and everybody would go wow. The next day he would pick them all up and take them back to the store. He couldn’t afford them, but he wanted to buy them so he was showing them what he bought. He would spend all of his money and all of his time giving them things that he couldn’t afford or they couldn’t have and taking it back. Don’t do that.
There are people who get a buyers high from just purchasing. There are people I know whose houses are full of things that they have never even opened. The box is closed. I know people who have bought clothes and clothes and clothes and clothes and when they died and passed away they opened their closets and there were sweaters, there were pants, there were shirts, there was everything under the sun still in the wrapper in the original box and they never opened it. They just had this need to buy because that made them feel good. Instead of spending your money on all that stuff, spend your money on having an experience. Go out and do something that you can remember. Invite some friends over. Have a dinner party. Tell your friends you’re going to go out and have a dinner with them and meet them at TGIFs or the Hilton or in Chicago for pizza. Catch a train to Chicago and eat pizza in Chicago. Do something like that instead of just spending your money on stuff because those create warm memories that will help you get through this kind of stuff.
Is there something that bums you out at this time of the year because something bad happened, a person has passed away, an illness came to you? If there is something like that, that has happened to you remember, observe it, and see what ticks this off in your life. Be enough aware of these things. It’s not just at this time of year. I’m talking about there are a lot of people, and I’m one of them, that things can be going along swimmingly, wonderful, things are great in life and then one day it’s just like boom, bummed out. Why? Well, I happen to believe that there is a darkness power and if you’re skating along really good and you’re blessing the Lord and things are going swimmingly for you that this guy out there is trying to bum you out so that you will not walk a victorious life and teach others about the goodness of Jesus Christ, and the glory of God, and how much He cares for us.
There are times that I just wake up and be in dread. I know other people that wake in dread even though things are going well. There is a place in the Bible that says, in Peter, “The devil, as a roaring lion, going about, seeking whom he may devour,” so this can happen to you at any time. If you’re going along and you get bummed out consider this, maybe you’re living a good life and God is blessing you and the devil is trying to bum you out. He is causing you to have this fear and this dread in your life that is irrational, there is nothing you can point to. Stop and say God, what’s going on here? A lion who is actually on the hunt does not roar. You guys have house cats or had house cats or seen house cats. Do you see house cats running around looking for mice going raeer, raeer, raeer. They do that when they are playing and they’re fighting each other and getting ready to beat you or something, but a cat is very quiet when it’s on the prowl and hunting. It sneaks up on stuff to get the prey. Lions do the same thing as a cat, they sneak up, so if this roaring is going on and something is bothering you and bothering you and bothering you, it’s not going to get you. The devil is looking for somebody he can trip up and he is making these roars and these threats to disturb your life and disturb your peace. Let me go on. Verse 22, strengthen yourselves. It’s coming, get ready, strengthen yourselves. Get up and move. Observe. Know what’s going on and what the things are that trigger you to start spiraling downward.
The third thing is you’ve got responsibilities and you know this is coming, start preparing for it. Go out and buy those light bulbs and get them ready to go. Not only that, but grab onto the promises of God. That’s over in John chapter 14. No, we won’t read the whole thing, but let me read some scripture to you. John chapter 14, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Well, that’s easy for him to say. “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places: if it were not so, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” What’s so important about this at this time in the disciples life? Here they had chucked aside the whole synagogue relationship. They spurned the elders, the priests, the Pharisees, the scribes, the Sadducees, everything that they had been taught to respect. They had started squirming and say no, Jesus is the Messiah, we’re going to follow Him and yet they had it in mind just like the other Jewish people that I just listed that when the Messiah came He was going to conquer, and He was going to throw the Romans out, and He was going to take and make the Israelite nation rise up and become a great nation who would rule all the earth.
They had this concept and here He was telling them I am going to go away. I’m going to leave you. Peter, you’re going to deny me before the rooster crows three times, you’re going to deny me, and they’re going, wait a minute, we banked everything we had on you and you’re the Messiah. You’re supposed to make all this wonderful stuff happen, and when it happens we’re supposed to be toasting each other and banqueting each other up there in Israel. You’re going to be the king and we’re going to be up there with you and great times are supposed to be happening. Jesus is saying no, that’s not the way this is going to work. You believe in God, believe also in Me. Everything I’ve told you is absolutely true. There is coming a day when we will be toasting, and we will be celebrating, and we will be feasting, but it’s not here, not now. It’s off someplace else. I’m going to dwell, I’m going to prepare a dwelling place for you, and if it wasn’t so I would have told you. You know I don’t lie to you guys, so I’m going to a place where you’re going to end up with me.
Grab onto these promises that are yet future. He has promised you a better time and a better place. He says He is going ahead to prepare it. That’s why I read that numbers verse. If you guys were here last week we talked about the ark and how the ark is a representation of Jesus Christ. In that verse I read at the beginning, Numbers 10:33, it says if you especially read it in a solid translation that the ark was led out before them and they traveled three days, and it was the ark that was finding the place to rest, for them to have a place to rest. The ark represents Jesus Christ, and here is a perfect fulfillment of that. He is saying I’m going out to prepare a place for you. I’m going up there. He sits at the father’s right hand. He is in a place of rest. He says I’m preparing a place of rest for you also and if it wasn’t so I would have told you because I’m not lying to you. You know I’ve never lied to you, and the day is coming when you’re going to be sitting up there with me.
When you’re going through hard times, no matter what they are always stop and say I have got a better place. This world is not my home. Even Abraham when he had received his promise and he was told Abraham, you get up and leave your family, you leave your friends, you leave everything you’ve got and head out. I’ve got a place for you. I’m going to make you a great nation. I’m going to give you a piece of ground. I’m going to have you with children as the sand of the sea and as the stars of the heaven. He says I made these promises to you and that guy walked faith. He never saw the sands of the sea, he never saw those children that were the stars of heaven. He had that one kid that was the promised child, Isaac. He had that one kid. He never owned that property that God told him I’m going to show you a place that’s going to be yours. He never owned anything except for one piece of ground and that was to bury his wife on and he ended getting buried there also. Just one piece of dirt out of all that, and yet through all this he still said I know this is going to happen. God does not lie. My kids are going to live here on this ground, and I’m going to have children like the sands of the seas. That’s the children of Israel wherever they’re at spread out all over the world, and just like the stars of heaven, that’s us. That’s us.
We’re the spiritual children of God. We’re the spiritual children of Abraham because, like him, we trust God when He tells us stuff. Even though we didn’t see it we threw everything aside and we said we give up our lifestyle, we give up our sins, we give up everything and we throw it all on you. You tell me what to do and where to go and I will do it. I will walk in your ways. I want to follow you on and on and on and I know that you’re preparing a place for me; therefore, you are just like a child of Abraham. You are just Abraham and the blessings are on you. You have been declared righteous because you trust in what Jesus Christ says.
Verse 7 He said, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” He is saying this, okay, you’ve seen Me. If you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father. You’ve seen Me. He is saying Jewish people and we have been taught this too, that God is up there, He is mean and He is out to get you. He is trying to do everything to keep you out of heaven. He says I am just like the Father, and if you’ve seen Me you’ve seen what the Father is truly like. Jesus was a great person. Jesus was a sympathizer. If you want to see how God the Father really wants to treat people you read those gospels and see how Jesus treated the sinners and the adulterers and the drunks and the thieves and the tax collectors and the bad people, how He actually treated those people and how great and gracious He was to them. That’s the way He wants to treat you, in the same way. He is saying that to us. You’ve seen me, you’ve seen the father, and the father is just like I am. He is out to help you and to benefit you, not to get you so have faith. I am just like the father. I am preparing a place, and I’m going to go away, and that guy up there that is known as God the Father has the same attitude towards you that I have towards you.
Then we get to verse 26 and it says this, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” The Holy Spirit, the Helper, which the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. I do like the King James better here because it says He will send a comforter. I’ve been talking about the blues and depression and the hard times that we can go through. A lot of people have been told that the Holy Spirit is a little dove and it comes down and He lands upon you and He is a (dreamless) little creature, and if you don’t do everything just right He will fly away and He will leave you out there by yourself. Well, that ain’t much of a comfort now is it? If the Holy Spirit gets timid every time it is spoofed by every little thing that happens and flies off from you when you need your help, He’s not much of a comforter, He’s not much of a help.
But we know this, that the Holy Spirit is not like that. True, He came down on Jesus as a dove just like the dove came down to Noah, but what the Dove communicated to Noah was this, the judgment of God is at an end. It’s over with. Noah stayed there seven days or a little longer and then he got off the ark. The dove comes down to Jesus Christ and communicates also. The judgment of God is coming to an end and Jesus, you’ve got a special commandment that You will lay down Your life for all these people and you are bringing peace. That’s why the dove landed on Jesus, but the dove came down upon the church, the Holy Spirit came down upon the church not as a little flighty dove, but as “tongues of fire,” as a great and mighty wind and with languages so He could communicate the Gospel of Christ all over the world so that the Son and the children of God who are like the stars in the heaven would be called into His presence and all people would have a chance to come to Him.
The Holy Spirit of god does not get spooked. When you are in a hardship He is right there with you. He is not timid. He is not jumpy. He does not run away. He is right there with you constantly. I’m telling you all this to say this, our God is not just a God who is up there when we’re up and things are great and we’re going hallelujah, praise God. Things are on my side and we’re rolling along and things are triumphant. When we’re in the valley and that lion is out there roaring and prowling around you want to know something? That’s the same God that helped us up there. He’s right there with us. When we’re those two little flocks of kids out there and we’re surrounded by this great army of disaster that is coming down upon us, trust in Him. Trust in Him. Even if you’re at the place where you say I am so shook, I am so down, I am so blue. I don’t know what to do. I’m exhausted. I’m at wits end. I’m worn out to a frazzle. I can’t even pray a prayer any more that will make it past the ceiling of this house let alone to the throne of God. All I can do is just sit here.
You know what you’re supposed to do at a time like that when you’re in a valley? Go sit down, be quiet and know that He is God. That’s all. Just say God, I don’t have a prayer. I don’t have a hope. I don’t have nothing out there except blue, but I have this, that you’re the God of the valley and You will never leave me nor forsake me. I’m just going to sit here in Your presence and think about Your promises and all the good times we’ve had together. I’m going to know this, that you are the God who will deliver me. I don’t know how. It isn’t going to be through me because I don’t have the strength to carry on, but God I’m trusting You at this time, at this bottom low place. I’m trusting You through that Holy Spirit to be here with me right now. I’m just going to sit a spell and let You take care of everything. That’s all I can do. That’s all I can do. Thank you Jesus. All you’ve got to do is just sit right down there and be quiet and know that He is God and let Him come against that roaring lion, that Syrian army that’s getting ready to attack you, those blues and everything else. When you’ve done all you can do sit down and know that He is God and rest and trust in Him. Jesus Chris is our victory. Jesus Christ is our victory.
Shall we pray. Father, in the name of Jesus always remind us and help us to be prepared for the things that are coming. Give us the wisdom to get up and start moving and preparing. Give us the provisions that we need to start fighting the things in our life that are coming down. God, whenever we get right up against it and we’re exhausted and frazzled and worn out, give us the brilliant wisdom to sit down and say You are God, You sent the comforter, You are almighty. I am in the bottom of this valley, deliver me. Father, I ask in the name of Jesus that You deliver every Christian here that hears this service, that You would deliver them from their bummed-outness that either they are in now or that is going to come in their future life, and let them know that the devil can’t get them. He’s roaring and he’s making noise but he can’t get them because they are hidden away in Jesus Christ. Father, we’ll sing praises to You after the fact and tell everybody all the great things that You have done for us individually and as a church. All glory and honor to Your son. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen