The main focus of this BLOG, is to uphold those simple, and clearly defined truths, that are so often missing from Christian life and conversation.
(There may also be the odd film or book review along the way as well as stories from my life)
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Monday, 14 December 2015


My previous post in this series covered the path through the wilderness. If you haven't read it yet, you can scroll down or follow this link. At the risk of being repetitive and boring. Let me remind you again, that our Christian walk takes us down numerous pathways. We don't choose which path or when, but we can choose how we walk through them. Along the way there are lessons to learn. The wilderness path helps us to learn about God's word, about worship, warfare, our walk and how to wait.

In this study we take a walk along a new path. It is the path through the valley.

And no doubt, once again, your mind will hurry off to think about all the valleys you've heard about from the Bible. At least two or three in particular. Well, reign in your thoughts. We will probably touch on much of what you were just thinking, but there may be some surprises in store for you.

The valley of Decision. Joel 3:14. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
I have a hunch, that this is one of those verses we are all familiar with, but don't understand. Because this is not a valley you want to find yourself in. This is not, as I suspect many of us may believe, a place of our decision. Where we get stuck while trying to make up our minds. This valley is also referred to as the valley of Jehoshaphat. It is the valley of God's decision, it is a place of His judgement. Look back at Joel 3:2 and you will see what I mean. It is a place where God brings down his judgement on the nations for their treatment of Israel. So again, you don't want to find yourself in this valley.

The valley of the shadow of death. Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff comfort me.
Okay, I quoted this from the NIV 2011 as I usually do. We are more familiar with the phrase "valley of the shadow of death". The Hebrew word that is used for valley in this verse means a narrow gorge. Deep in shadow. It is a place of foreboding and peril. Yet David knows that he does not walk this path alone. He knows that God goes with him, to guide, protect and comfort him.
A little side note, whenever you see a reference in the Bible about; a branch, staff, rod etc. It is often a metaphor for Jesus "the branch of Jesse".

The valley of dry bones. Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
Ezekiel found himself in a broad flat valley. This valley had no shadow of death. Everything in it was dead. Nothing but dry bones, and God asks Ezekiel (vs3) "can these bones live?"
God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy. To speak words of life into the dry bones. Soon there stood before him a vast army.

The valley of weeping. Psalm 84:6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
The verse prior to this speaks of pilgrimage. It is thought that the "Valley of weeping" is a reference to the sap running from the balsam trees that grew in the valley. This is in fact a joyous passage. The references to autumn and pilgrimage speaks of the feast of Tabernacles. In fact this Psalm is filled with familiar verses, and is rife with it's longing after the house and presence of God.

A superficial glance at these passages might give us a picture of a valley, that speaks of gloom, sorrow, foreboding and death. But a closer examination reveals that God is present in all of them.

In Joel 3, He is present to bring judgement on his enemies, and vindication for His children.

In Psalm 23, He is present to lead, guide and comfort us.

In Ezekiel 37, He is present to perform his word, and bring life where all we can see is death.

In Psalm 84, He is present as a reward for those that earnestly seek Him.

The path through the valley is not always smooth. It is a path that needs your careful attention. Stumbling and falling is a common hazard. Quite a few years ago (about 25 actually), I went with a group of friends though a place in Sydney's Blue Mountains called Claustral Canyon. It was a tight narrow path following a stream. It required abseiling down three waterfalls. The water was very cold, and some times the only way through was to swim. The canyon is a beautiful place, but it is also narrow and treacherous. In some places it is almost possible to touch both side of the canyon walls at once.
But did I mention? This place is dangerous. On this trip, we started out following a wrong path, as a result one of our friends nearly lost his life to hypothermia.

You may be stuck in a valley right now. It may seem narrow, hard and lifeless. It may seem as though the narrow places have blocked out all light. That the hand of God rests heavily upon you, as you weep out your tears of pain, confusion and frustration. This is not the place to give up. Valleys have streams and rivers running through them. In the midst of this confined place, is a place of refreshing. Do not turn from the path, follow it. A valley will either bring you out into a broad place.


It will bring you up to the mountain.

Images used in this post.
"Rocky river between steep and lush mountains"
Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"Light Path" Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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