Valley times come to all people. Even Christians.
The Songs Of Ascent in the Psalms imply this, since the pilgrims are ascending from a valley to the place of worship in Jerusalem. But this idea of going through a valley is especially seen in Psalm 121.
The song starts by saying I lift my eyes up to the hills. He then sings that he found his help in God. This idea of help is not what we think of in today’s world. It’s not like dialing 9-1-1, reporting our need, and waiting for help to arrive. It’s not even like driving to a hospital, checking into the emergency room, and waiting for a doctor to see us.
The idea of help in the Bible is a picture of surrounding. It’s not something we have to wait to arrive, but something—or should I say Someone—Who is already right there!
In verses 4-8 the phrase watch over is used five times. This too gives us the idea of the closeness of our help. The Hebrew word translated watch over has four powerful word pictures:
- A Gardener carefully watching over his precious garden.
- A Soldier dutifully guarding a valuable treasure.
- A Watchman diligently scanning the horizon for any approaching enemies.
- A Shepherd lovingly attending to his flock.
I especially like the picture of shepherd, because of another valley reference. The opening words to Psalm 23 are, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Then we read what the Good Shepherd does for His sheep when they are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Our Shepherd…
- Gives us His confidence so we will fear no evil
- Reveals His close, intimate presence
- Protects us with His rod
- Guides us with His staff
- Brings comfort to our hurts
- Provides us with food
- Anoints us with His blessings
- Pours out His overflowing blessings
- Allows His goodness and love to always follow us
- Gives us the assurance of eternal life
Then adding a couple of more blessings from Psalm 121, we see He…
11. Never lets our foot slip (121:3)
12. Never sleeps or slumbers, so that we can rest securely (121:3-4)
Remember these songs of ascent are sung by those coming out of the valley. They are sung to remind us of God’s deliverance, they are also sung as encouragement to those still in the Valley.
Jesus went through the darkest Valley anyone has ever gone through. It wasn’t just the valley of the shadow of death, He went through death, hell and the grave. He overcame for you and me! He now walks with us in our valleys. He says to us, “I’ve been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. I will never leave you or forsake you. I know this valley. I know how to get you out of this valley. Trust Me!”
We, too, who have been through the valleys and are now singing the song of ascent, need to sing loudly for those who are still in the valleys. We need to sing songs of assurance to them: “I have been in that same valley. I know how dark it is. But I know God watched over me and brought me safely through. Now I have a much better vantage point. And I say to you, trust Him! He is watching over you too. He will not let your foot slip. He will not sleep or slumber. He will protect you, and anoint you, and feed you, and give you His own dear presence. Don’t stop walking!”
If you’ve missed any of the messages in this series, you can access the complete list by clicking here.