Rev. Brian K. Brown, St. Mark M.B. Church
From the text we see another valley at Gerar where Isaac found himself. Isaac has spent time in the valley but according to verse 23 he is not to dwell in the valley. We may be experiencing valleys like Isaac, but God does not want us to dwell in valley always. Also, in verse 23 we see Isaac leaving the valley and making his way up to Bearsheba. We find that we must wait on God, trust in him, and look up to him while in the valley for one day he will deliver us. God’s word tells us that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. As we look at the valley of COVID we find ourselves in, we trust God that this valley experience won’t last always.
In all of our circumstances, ‘an after’ does come. As we dwell in our now there will be an after the valley. Life is about hills and valleys but with God these hills and valleys will turn. The question asked of the text by Pastor Brown was how should we return from our valley moment? God does some of his greatest work to us and for us not on the mountain but in the valley and sometimes the greatest things we learn about ourselves happens not when all is going well, but when trials and troubles come, and we find ourselves in a valley. We learn how to trace, trust, treasure, lift up, pray, believe, and be delivered by God because he met us in the valley.
The first point from verse 24, We Should Return Listening. The valley is a quiet and lonely place, but God will do things in the valley to sharpen our hearing. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing the word of God. Some of us won’t hear until we’re hurting or listen until we’re losing. We learn how to listen to God in the valley so we can learn how to listen to him when we come out of the valley. Some valleys we may never go back in because we listened after we got out of the valley. But if we fail to listen, we may find ourselves back in the valley.
We need to listen to the small still voice of God, listen to the wisdom of the sage of the community, our mothers and fathers who have been where we’re going. If we listen, we may be able to detour around some valleys and live a better life. God said to Isaac and says to us, don’t be afraid because he is with him. Things may not go our way but listen and don’t be afraid. Fear should not be a factor from keeping us from doing the things God desires us to do and be. At our lowest points God is with us and has always been with us.
The second point, We Should Return to Laboring. The first thing Isaac labors to do is erect a place of worship. Praying and worshipping is not just for our low moments so we can get out of places we don’t want to be. It should be a way of life that we praise and worship at all times. Our heart should be an altar that we talk to God. Do we only pray and worship when things are going bad and when things turn, we forget worship, pray, and praise?
Our labor should be in staying faithful to God because he is the reason, we got out of valley situations. Isaac also labor in making room for God. He settled and was faithful at Beersheba. He was able to get settled where he was because God’s word settled him. Are we unsettled? Are things going well but we’re not satisfied? The only one who can settle us is. As long as we have God, and he is centered in our lives we can be comfortable wherever we are.
The third point from verses 26-28, We Should Return to Loving. In these verses we see that those who were enemies of Isaac now saw that God was with him and desired a covenant with Isaac that they do no harm to each other. Some of us may never have gone to the next step if it wasn’t for the heartbreaks, failure, darkness, and sadness. God takes the bad and makes it better. We know we are delivered, at peace, in the will and center of God when our enemies want the best from us and we know if we give them the best and take nothing for ourselves and we can say the Lord gave, the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Isaac loved them by forgetting, forgiving, and fellowshipping with them even though they did what they did. Isaac knew that God was with and if he gave them everything they asked he didn’t loose anything with God. We need to understand that when we withhold what others want from us, we close our hands and God can’t give anything else to us. If we let it go, God has more for us. Some things can’t flow from God into our lives until we flow love, forgiveness, and understanding.
Join us Sunday mornings in the sanctuary or via live-stream on YouTube @ St Mark MBC at 10:20 for Sunday School, worship service at 10:45 a.m., and bible study on Wednesdays @ 7:00 p.m.