COMING OUT OF LIFE’S DARK VALLEY ( Psalm 143:1-12 )
Psalm 143 (NKJV)
An Earnest Appeal for Guidance and Deliverance
A Psalm of David.
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.
3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.
4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah
7 Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
9 Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.
One day a preacher who had just lost his family to a tragic fire, and had fallen into the depths of a deep and dark depression was walking down a city street. There, he came upon a construction crew that was erecting a new church. He stopped to watch them as they worked, as he watched, he observed a worker who was busy carving a triangle out of stone with a chisel and hammer. Stepping closer, he asked the stonecutter what he was carving. The worker pointed to the steeple of the church and said, “Do you see that small opening up there near the steeple? Well, I am carving this stone down here so that it will fit in up there.” The preacher was immediately stirred in his heart. He realized anew the faithfulness of God and came to understand that the valley he was in at the moment was God’s way of carving him down here so that he would fit in up there.
We live in a world that is filled with people like this man. People who live their lives in depression, despair, despondency and defeat. Through the ages, many famous people have been plagues with these types of trials. People like George Washington, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon and many of the hymn writers.
Even a man who is known as “A man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22), King David, suffered from depression and defeat. This Psalm came from a time of depression in his life.
I would like for us to take a walk through these verse today and by doing so, perhaps we can find help for those times when we too endure what seem to be overwhelming despair.
Let’s think together on this thought, Coming Out Of The Dark Valley.
I. THE PAIN OF THE DARK VALLEY
A. V. 3 The Pain Of Darkness – No Help – (Ill. The context: The rebellion of Absalom, and the revolt of Ahithophel, Ill. Psa. 41:9.)
Ill. There seems to be no end to the pain, and no light at the end of the tunnel. Many are in this dark valley right now!
B. V. 4 The Pain Of Depression – No Heart – (Ill. Overwhelmed = shrouded, carries the idea of being encased in darkness; Desolate = Stunned, stupefied carries the idea of total astonishment.) It’s as if David cannot believe what has happened to him. It’s as if he has no heart to go on. Many walk in this dark valley today!
C. V. 7 The Pain Of Despair – No Hope – (Ill. Faileth = To be at the end!) David feels that he has reached the end of his rope and that if God doesn’t lift the veil of his darkness, then he is no better off than those who perish in hell! Many are walking in this dark valley right now.
D. If you are one of the many in this valley, let me tell you, there is hope for you today. You may feel that life has become unbearable. However, please let me encourage you this morning. With all the despair, there is also reason to rejoice in this Psalm. Notice:
II. THE PRIZE IN THE DARK VALLEY
A. V.2 The Prize Of Repentance – Our Sins – (Ill. David’s failures and his repentance of sin, Psa. 32; 51) Our Dark Valleys are not always caused by sin! However, when we begin to seek God, our sin will become an issue that must be dealt with, Ill. Psa. 66:18; 1 John 1:9.
Regardless of whether or not sin is responsible for our valley, we are still sinners in need of repentance. Anything that brings us into a closer relationship with God is a prize! Hallelujah!
B. V.5 The Prize Of Remembrance – Our Sovereign God – (Ill. David had much to remember! The stories of what God had done for Israel, and closer home, the great things God had done for him personally. Ill. The lion, the bear, the giant, Saul, etc!) When walking through the dark valley, remember what God has done. Review your life and read His word. It will refresh and strengthen your heart!
(Ill. William Cowper, that great hymn writer was in the depths of despair. He hired a carriage drive to take him to London Bridge. His plan was to throw himself into the river and to end his life. However, when the driver picked him up and started for the bridge, they found themselves driving for hours in dense fog. Frustrated, Cowper demanded that the driver stop and let him out to walk. When he stepped from the carriage, he was shocked to find that he was standing in front of his own door. It became apparent to him that the Lord still had a use for his life. He entered his home and penned the words to that famous song, “God works in mysterious ways”)
When we are in the valley, we need a fresh encounter with the Lord!
C. V. 6 The Prize Of Reliance – Our Self – (Ill. Dry, parched, cracked ground that longs for the refreshing rains.) David knew he couldn’t produce what he needed. Therefore, he looked to God. The dark valley will cause you to come to the end of yourself, and when that happens, you can begin to rely on a big God! Pro. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17)
D. As terrible as the dark valleys of life are, they are also valuable. Because it is in the valley that we learn eternal truths about God that energize and strengthen our faith. Yes, there is Pain. Yes, there are Prizes. But, thank God, there is a PATH out of the Dark Valley. Praise the Lord!
III. THE PATH OUT OF THE DARK VALLEY
A. V.1, 6, 8a, 9a, 11-12 The Path Of Prayer – Waiting – Several times in these verses, David refers to his prayers. I am certain that there were times when David wanted to stop praying, but he didn’t! He pressed on!
(Ill. Prayer – We are commended to pray – 1 Thes. 5:17; Rom.12:12; God has promised to answer prayer – Isa. 65:24; John 16:23; Jer. 33:3)
Our duty is to pray! Pray when God says “yes”, pray when He says “no”, pray when He says “wait”. Pray and Pray! Prayer is more than a religious activity, it is a path out of the dark valley!
(Ill. George Washington at Valley Forge in 1776, he didn’t give up. He kept praying! You do the same!)
B. V.10b The Path Of Praise – Worshiping – In the midst of this sad Psalm, David issues a small word of praise. He reminds us that God is GOOD! Every person who walks in the Dark Valley this morning would do well to adopt an attitude of praise!
(Ill. Job – Job 1:20-22 – He worshiped and didn’t accuse God!)
(Ill. Luther Bridgers who authored “There Withing My Heart A Melody”. He penned this great song just after losing his entire family in a tragic house fire.)
If we cannot praise the Lord in the valley, then we have no business praising Him when we are on the mountain!
(Ill. What can I praise Him for – see Luke 10:20)
Ill. Why should I praise Him?
1.) He is WORTHY – Rev. 4:11;
2:) It will help you – Neh. 8:10 Ill. Pro. 17:22
C. V. 8b, 9b, 10a The Path Of Practice – Walking – Ill. King David’s desire is to do the will of God. Ill. This ought to be the goal of every saint! When we fail in walking with the Lord, we bring dishonor to Him and more discouragement to our own hearts.
(Ill. 1936 German Women’s Olympic 400 meter relay team! One of the runners dropped the baton. The French papers said they dropped the witness.)
Don’t drop your witness! A consistent walk is a path out of the dark valley! You can beat the circumstances around you, don’t let it beat you!
That personal relationship and consistent walk with the Lord Jesus Christ will help the sufferer to come out of the dark valley. He has never failed others, He will never fail you!
Amen! Praise the Lord!