1 Kings 20:22-29
HE'S STILL GOD, EVEN IN THE VALLEY
Intro: These were treacherous times for the people of
Israel. Their wicked king, Ahab, had been guilty of
leading the people to worship the Canaanite god Baal,
instead of the Lord God Jehovah. As a result,
wickedness filled the land of Israel and they were
headed on a collision course with the judgment of God.
However, in the midst of their sins, God still loved His
people. Thank God, His love never fails, Jer. 31:3!
During this time, Israel was attacked by the neighbor
to the east, Syria. When this battle was waged, God
allowed Ahab and the people of Israel to defeat the
Syrians and to claim the victory. However, Ahab is
notified that the Syrians do not plan to accept defeat so
easily, v. 22. He is told that they will return to fight
again. It is this second battle that we want to look into
this evening. There are truths taught here that will help
each of us as we journey for the Lord in these days.
I just want to say that in the Syrian army I see a
picture of out adversary, the devil. When we are
enabled by the Lord to win a victory against him, you
can count on him returning to fight another day. His
desire is to see you defeated one way or the other. If
he doesn't win in one area of your life, he will change
the direction of his attack and come at you again, 1 Pet.
5:8. We will see that this is just what the Syrian army
tried against Israel. However, just as the Syrians were
defeated and Israel walked in victory, you and I can
walk in victory too! Notice with me a few simple truths
from this passage that let us know that He Is Still God,
Even In The Valleys Of Life.
I. V. 23 A DANGEROUS ASSUMPTION
A. Ill. The Context. The Syrians make a
dangerous assumption concerning the God of
the Israelites. Since they were defeated in the
first battle on the hills surrounding Samaria, they
assume that the Israelite God is a mountain God
only. Their strategy is to get the Israelites to
fight in the valley, where they think they will
easily defeat them. For the Syrians this would
be a costly assumption, however, it is a gamble
the devil makes all the time.
B. You see, when we are on the "mountain"
spiritually, we are hard for the devil to handle.
When we are walking around with a shout in our
soul and glory in our hearts, we are a force to be
reckoned with. It is hard for Satan to defeat an
excited Christian. Maybe that is why Nehemiah
said "the joy of the LORD is your strength.",
(Ill. This is the situation Satan ran into with Job.
He put the squeeze on Job expecting Job to turn
on God. However, all the devil was able to
extract from the life of Job was worship and
praise, Job 1:6-22. If the devil squeezes you
and all he gets is praise to God for His efforts, he
is likely to stop squeezing after a while!)
C. it was advertised that the devil was going to put
his tools up for sale. On the date of the sale the
tools were placed for public inspection, each
being marked with its sale price. There were a
treacherous lot of implements. Hatred, Envy,
Jealousy, Doubt, Lying, Pride, and so on. Laid
apart from the rest of the pile was a harmless-looking tool, well-worn and priced very high. "What is the name of that tool?" asked one
of the purchasers.
"Oh," said the adversary, "that's
"Why have you priced it so high?"
"Because it's more useful to me than the
others. I can pry open and get inside a
person's heart with that one, when I cannot
get near him with other tools. Now once I get
inside, I can make him do what I choose. It's
a badly worn tool, because I use it on almost
everyone since few people know it belongs to
The devil's price for Discouragement was so
high, he never sold it. It's still his major tool, and
he still uses it on God's people today.
(Ill. It has been said that "Discouragement is
the handle that fits all the devil's tools." The
idea here is that Satan know that when we are
on the mountain, we are hard to get at.
Therefore, he assumes that if he can get us in
the valley, we will be easier to defeat. Sadly, he
has been right in many, many cases. If the
devil can get you to focus on the negative
aspects of any situation, he can get you
discouraged. If he can get you discouraged, he
can get you defeated. If he can get you
defeated, he can steal the victory of the Lord
right our of your heart.)
D. I just want to remind you of this: life is 10%
about what happens to us and 90% about we
react to what happens to us! If you develop a
"woe is me" attitude concerning the events of
life, then you are going to be easy pray for the
devil. If, however, you can learn to put into
practice the lessons of Philippians 4:6-9.
E. Has the devil tried this trap in your life? Has he
used the tool of discouragement on you? I know
he has on me and, not to give him any credit, but
discouragement works better on me than any
other tactic the devil can try. If he can just get us
off that mountain top, we will be easier for him to
I. A Dangerous Assumption
II. V. 28 A DYNAMIC ANNOUNCEMENT
A. There was only one problem with the Syrian's
assumption concerning God: God was greater
than they thought He was! He sends his prophet
to tell Ahab that God is going to prove Himself to
be God of the valley as well as God of the
mountain. He assures His people of victory!
B. I just want to remind you this evening that God is
bigger than your valley. I know that it is easier to
serve the Lord when we are on the mountain top.
It is easier when we are excited about the Lord
and about His work. However, when we go into
one of the valley experiences of life, His is still
God! When we enter the valley of physical pain,
He is still God! When we enter the valley of
spiritual discouragement, He is still God. When
we enter the valley of sorrow, He is still God.
Regardless of the valley we are forced to enter,
we will find out that He is still God!
(Ill. You see, God wants to demonstrate to His
people that He is God in every stage of life. He
wants to be able to demonstrate His power in
your life. He wants to show you that He is still
God. That is why the Bible is literally filled with
promises that teach us that God is in control.
Verses like Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor.
2:14; 2 Cor. 4:17, and others let us know that
our God is determined to prove to us that He is
God in every circumstance that we face.)
C. For us, victory begins to be realized when we
come to understand that Satan wants us to be
defeated, but that God has promised we can
walk in the victory in spite of our circumstances.
When everything around us suggests that we
should be discouraged and defeated, God still
says that we have the victory, Rom. 8:37, "Nay,
in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him that loved us."
D. In the final analysis, genuine spiritual victory is
never a matter of that which I am facing in life.
Genuine spiritual victory is simple faith in the
promises of God. I am victorious, not because
everything is perfect in my life, I am victorious
because God is in control of my life and He says
that I am victorious. Therefore, regardless of the
situation, I can rest in the promise of God. The
battle may raging around me, but it does not
have to rage within me! While I may be in the
battle, God has already won the war and I am
victorious because He said so!
(Ill. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not
promoting "positive thinking", "possibility
thinking" or any other heretical teaching. I am
promoting taking God at His word and believing
what He tells me, instead of what the devil or the
flesh may be saying.)
(Ill. More than anything else, the path out of the
valley begins with the ability to surrender to God
in every circumstance. )
(Ill. Fanny Crosby was blind since childhood and
lived to be ninety-five. She wrote this poem at
Blind but Happy
O what a happy soul am I!
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be;
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't!
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot, and I won't.
I. A Dangerous Assumption
II. A Dynamic Announcement
III. V. 29 A DIVINE ACCOMPLISHMENT
A. Ill. The Context. The people of Israel believed
God and enjoyed a tremendous victory over the
Syrian army. They saw their enemy put to flight
by the power of God working through them.
B. This is the place desires to bring us to. He
wants us to come to that place where we realize
that He is God regardless of what we are facing.
He wants us to get our eyes off our need and get
them squarely on the face of Jesus, Heb. 12:2.
He wants us to know that He is able, Eph. 3:20,
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding
abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,"
You see, regardless of what we think about what
we are facing, God is still God! Shame on us
when we live like He isn't!
(Ill. AS A RECENTLY RETIRED MAN was sitting
on his porch down in Kentucky, his Social
Security check was delivered. He went to the
mailbox to retrieve it and thought to himself, Is
this all my life is going to be from this time on?
Just sitting on the porch waiting for my next
Social Security check to arrive? It was a
So he took a legal pad and began to write
down all the gifts, all the blessings, all the
talents, and everything that he had going for him.
He listed them all, even small things. For
example, he included the fact that he was the
only one in the world who knew his mother's
recipe for fried chicken in which she used eleven
different herbs and spices.
He went down to the local restaurant, asked
if he could get a job cooking their chicken. Very
soon the chicken became the most popular item
on the menu. He opened his own restaurant in
Kentucky. Then he opened a string of
restaurants and eventually sold the Kentucky
Fried Chicken franchise to a national
organization for millions of dollars. He became
their public representative and continued in that
role until his death. That man, who refused to
accept defeat, was none other than Colonel
C. Friends, this is where the victory is enjoyed.
Notice I didn't say won! Why not? Because God
has already won all our victories for us. We live
in defeat and discouragement because we
refuse to embrace victory by faith. Never allow
Satan or the flesh to cause you to wallow in your
valley. Never allow them to get you discouraged,
or to cause you to think that God is unable or
unwilling to help you out. The truth of the matter
is this: victory is available, all the time, in
every situation, for every child of God. then
why don't most Christians have victory in their
lives? Simply because they are waiting for a
feeling instead of claiming what God has already
given them by faith!
(Ill. Think for a minute about some great men
from the Bible who knew God had already given
them victory in spite of what their circumstances
1. Joshua and Caleb - Numbers 13:27-14:9
2. David - 1 Samuel 17
3. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego -
4. There are many others, but these are
sufficient for us to see that regardless of how
things may appear on the surface, we must
never that God is always in control of every
Conc: I have no way of knowing what you are facing
this evening. It may be that the devil has and is using
the tool of discouragement in your life. It may be that
you feel defeated and a million miles away from the
mountain top. Let me just remind you one more time
before I close that God is God when you are on the
mountain and that He is also still God when you are
down in the valley. The secret to enjoying the
mountains and the valleys is learning that God is in
control. If you can do that, then whether you are on top
or on bottom, you will always be on the mountain in
your heart and victory will always be yours. You get
there and you'll be a hard nut for the devil to crack. The
first step in arriving at that place is learning to bring your
burdens to Jesus.
Ill. Many New Testament promises have corresponding
verses in the Old Testament that reinforce their power.
When Peter, for example, said, ". . . casting all your
care upon Him; for He careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7),
he was but restating David's words in Psalm 55:22:
"Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain
thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be
Elisha A. Hoffman loved those verses. He was born
May 7, 1839, in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. His father
was a minister, and Elisha was introduced to Christ at
a young age. He attended Philadelphia public schools,
studied science, then pursued the classics at Union
Seminary of the Evangelical Association. He worked for
eleven years with the Association's publishing house in
Cleveland, Ohio. Then, following the death of his young
wife, he returned to Pennsylvania and devoted
thirty-three years to pastoring Benton Harbor
Hoffman's pastime was writing hymns, many of
which were inspired by pastoral incidents. One day, for
example, while calling on the destitute of Lebanon,
Pennsylvania, he met a woman whose depression
seemed beyond cure. She opened her heart and
poured on him her pent-up sorrows. Wringing her
hands, she cried, "What shall I do? Oh, what shall I
do?" Hoffman knew what she should do, for he had
himself learned the deeper lessons of God's comfort.
He said to the woman, "You cannot do better than to
take all your sorrows to Jesus. You must tell Jesus."
Suddenly the lady's face lighted up. "Yes!" she cried,
"That's it! I must tell Jesus." Her words echoed in
Hoffman's ears, and he mulled them over as he
returned home. He drew out his pen and started writing,
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.
Hoffman lived to be ninety, preaching the Gospel,
telling Jesus his burdens, and giving the church such
hymns as What A Wonderful Savior, Down at the
Cross, Are You Washed in the Blood?, Leaning on
the Everlasting Arms, and a thousand more.
Do you have a burden too big to bear? Why not take
a few moments to tell Jesus about it. Take your burden
to the Lord, then leave it there by faith, casting all your
concerns on Him, for He cares for you. After all, He is
still God, even in the valley!