Valleys Our Door of Hope

Valleys Our Door of Hope

“Now unto him that is able to do
exceeding abundantly above all
that we ask or think”
Ephesians 3:20

The valleys of the Christian walk are difficult but necessary. It is in the valleys that our vision of Him is narrowed and our world seems black and white. Life becomes a series of endless, relentless steps seemingly without purpose. The sun rises late and sets early. Friendships become distant and the way is solitary. It is here fellow sojourner where hope becomes the anchor of our heart. This hope does not rely on external things, for the visible betrays the truth and the feelings within offer no encouragement. It is here where we need to be reminded “that (He) is able to do…” His word is not only shrouded in promises but He Himself is the promise. He is the One who accomplishes His Word in and through the context of our journey.

“NOW”

Not at some distant future moment in time but “now” brings our praise to Him in the moment; in the valley, in the heart ache of a circumstance, a loved one, or a broken relationship. Now is God’s Word to us that in the valley He is “doing” in us the very thing that He has promised. The length of the valley is shortened when we with faith and hope cling to Him who is invisible. Faith sees Him. It recognizes the unseen hand even in the face of our enemies and the hard things we must endure. Moses “endured” because he saw Him who is invisible. The enduring graces of faith, hope and love working within His own are in themselves the very fulfillment of His Word to us; to be people of substance in a world void of light and life.

“And now, Lord, what wait I for?
my hope is in thee”
Psalm 39:7

The valleys bring us to new places of trust in Him. We are no longer looking for an event or some external hand of help. We are reduced to a hope centered upon God Himself. It is here that character and trust in God alone becomes woven into the very fabric of our lives.

“And I will give her…
the valley of Achor* for a door of hope”
Hosea 2:15

Valleys are to become doors into new places of hope and glory. It is by walking through them (and not lingering) that they become to us a door instead of a dead end. May our feet keep moving and the fire of His love impel us to new places in Him.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised
to them that love him”
James 1:12

*Note: Achor – עכר
The root-verb עכר (akar) means to stir up, disturb or trouble. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament remarks that this verb “reflects the social dimension of an individual’s action”.

Jacob uses this verb to describe his position among the Canaanites when Simeon and Levi killed the men of Shechem after the rape of Dinah (Genesis 34:30).

After years of drought, king Ahab accused Elijah of being the troubler of Israel (1 Kings 18:17). King Solomon proclaimed that a cruel man brings trouble to his own flesh (Proverbs 11:17), and a man who brings trouble on his household inherits the wind (11:29).

This verb’s derivation עכור (akor) means trouble, but it occurs only as the name Achor. (Abiram Publications)

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Psalm 25 Introduction PART ONE

PSALM 25

INTRODUCTION

Part One

(See Part Two)

A PSALM OF AN ELDER

“To You, O Jehovah, I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

This Psalm was written well into the latter years of David’s life. It is a Psalm of a man who had an extensive history with his God; a man who had known great triumphs, great experiences on the field of battle with outward foes and the harsh experiences of treachery from within. We also see the traces of sorrow for his own dismal failures and tragic losses wherein he is freed from the boasting of his love for God or his reliance upon his own strength. This is the expression of a seasoned and learned man in regards to the depravity of man and the faithfulness of God. Theologians often term this Psalm as the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. In the reading of this Psalm there is the fragrance of a soft and broken heart from one who has come to a total reliance upon his God. The experiences of life have etched deep within the very fabric of his soul the graces and beauty of the tapestry of God’s own handiwork.

“To You, O Jehovah, I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

In our own journey with God we grow through the experiences of life. The growth comes as we discover God’s Face in every situation. In the seeing of Him we must inevitably see ourselves. For He is the great mirror of truth shining forth into our lives the reflection and wonder of all that which He is whereby we are changed from one glory into another.

“But we all, with open face
beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord”
2Corinthians 3:18

The eternal imprint of a heart who has been the recipient of grace, truth and mercy is evident in the first verses of this Psalm. “Unto You O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul”! We see David lifting up to His great and personal Shepherd the keeping and preserving of His soul. These words are filled with the dependence and utter trust to which David has now come. He no longer seeks help or places his hope in anything other than God. How well we know through our own varied experiences touches of this grand truth: “God is Faithful”.

This one verse, when learned within the heart of a child of God, becomes the anchor and rock to which we can cling in every situation. The power of this verse takes on even greater significance when we read it within the context of David’s life. It is good to pause here and consider the truth of this certainty as we contemplate David’s full story. Few of men’s lives are depicted more fully in the scriptures as is David’s. God took great pains in describing, in a very transparent manner, the highs and lows of all the pages of David’s life. All of this is the canvas upon which God paints the beauty of this one central truth, the faithfulness of God. How good and precious are His ways with us.

May this opening verse be held with boundless wonder as we walk the path of following and loving our faithful God.

“Beginning well is a momentary thing;
finishing well is a lifelong thing.”
Ravi Zacharias

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

PSALM 23 – PART 5 – HE RESTORES –

PSALM 23

PART FIVE

“He restoreth my soul…”
PSALM 23:3

In this journey of life we slowly begin to realize that the very center and core of who and what we are needs change and transformation. The more we walk with Him, the more we learn of Him. We see the eternal power of God expressed in a love that in itself is so far beyond our grasp, our understanding and comprehension. The very quality of that love causes us to shy away from Him (who IS that love) because of its immensity and power. Yet within our hearts there is a cry and an intense desire to KNOW this ONE, to walk and live within the grip of His Life and to GROW in the wonder of a deep relationship with HIM. It is in this desire to know HIM that we discover the WAY in which we are to walk so that this relationship may become deeper, fuller and more meaningful in our life.

Change is the evidence of a life MOVING in God. No one who is active in their pursuit and desire for God can remain unchanged. A religious man may speak right things, may do good works, may appear spiritual but if there is not an ongoing work of transformation within his life there is an issue at heart.

The Hebrew Word here for “restore” (and its related forms) is translated 1339 times in the Old Testament and with few exceptions speaks of turning, repentance and change. There are countless times in our walk with Him that we have strayed, wandered or insisted on our own way yet HE mercifully comes and turns us and RESTORES us back to the paths of righteousness and truth. He is ever seeking, ever desiring for us to GROW and DEVELOP in our life with Him. The power of the New Covenant is that we are to “BECOME sons of God” (John 1:12). The only way to truly know this life of “BECOMING” is to recognize and embrace the life of change that is necessary for this reality.

Over the years I have come to realize that of all of God’s great gifts and dealings in my life, the gift of repentance is a most prized one. For it is in the things that we cling to, obstinately, and sometimes unknowingly, that we experience the bitter pangs of misery and weariness. The relief comes in letting go. The joy comes in turning from ourselves. The peace comes in submitting to HIS will and HIS way. “HE restores our soul”; HE brings us back to the good and right way. HE pulls us from things and issues, from unresolved relationships and returns us to the green meadows of HIS provisions and the still waters where we find “rest unto our souls” and communion with the ONE who Loves us.

“Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness
and forbearance and longsuffering:
not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance…”
ROMANS 2:4

How blessed we are to have such a ONE who suffers long with great patience with each of us; ever seeking to restore us and work within us a heart and a life that is at home with HIM.

Ω

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel