THE VALLEY BELOW CLOUD NINE Andy Hollifield 7-22-17
Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalms 84:5-6 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. (6) Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
Isaiah 40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
Joel 3:4 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
We all know what a valley is both physically and spiritually. A lot of times we will be just stepping on the clouds, or on cloud nine as the old saying goes. The saying originated as an expression of extreme happiness or satisfaction. It was actually a meteorological term because they used to number clouds based on their altitude with nine being the highest classification. At other times, we can be found scraping the bottom of the lowest valley. Some people would pass judgment calling that a lack of faith but if that is the case, there were a lot of good folks in the bible that had the same problem. A lot of times that valley is preceded by some time on the mountain top. Let’s look at a few of these in the hopes that it will encourage you in your walk with the Lord.
The word valley is mentioned 140 times in the bible. The most obvious story from scripture to me would be that of Elijah. After his victory and then destruction of the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and then outrunning a horse to get off of the mountain before it rained, he went on the run. That is just one example. In 1 Kings 17: 3 God tells Elijah to turn east and hide by the brook Cherith where he had already commanded the ravens to feed him there. A brook is a small natural stream of fresh water. God told him to hide there because Ahab was seeking to take his life because he had proclaimed the drought from God. Next he told Elijah to go down to Zarephath (9) where he had already commanded a widow woman to sustain him. To make a long story short, Elijah presented himself to Ahab, then it was on to Mount Carmel for the showdown with the prophets of Baal and he also proclaimed an end to the draught. After the showdown Jezebel threatened his life (19) and he took off to Beersheba and went a day’s journey into the wilderness. Even though God sent an angel to feed him, God had never told him to flee. He had taken off on his own out of fear. It wasn’t until he wound up at Mount Horeb hiding in a cave that God himself spoke to him and asked him what he was doing there.
How many times have we done the same thing? God gives us a great triumph in our spiritual life and then the next thing we know, somebody complains or talks about us a little and we are ready to quit. If you will notice in that sequence of events there is one thing missing. We do the same thing Elijah did and that is that we don’t wait to see what the Lord says to do. I have done that on more than one occasion in my life. I have even done that recently and sometimes it cost you dearly when you don’t wait upon the Lord. I just realized how that this article has come right back around to “waiting on the Lord” and “in due time” like I have written about recently. I know that I use the story of Elijah quite often in my writing but it is because this story has so many practical applications. Most of us can probably relate to pouting and wanting to quit at one time or another just like Elijah did.
Elijah was one good example of not waiting on God. Elijah was no doubt on cloud nine after his great victory on Mount Carmel, but just like we experience a lot of times, someone mouths off about us and we are ready to quit. That is the valley beneath cloud nine. There are others that I am sure experienced the same drop spiritually. Abraham is another prime example. I can only imagine how he must have felt when Lot chose the well watered plains and left him the scrubby mountain land. If you think back to when Abraham came out of Haran, God never told him to take Lot to begin with. It makes you wonder how that anyone that has been so blessed can possibly fall so far so fast. How many times have we done that? We pray about things and God hears and answers it and then the next thing we don’t get answered right away, we start to act like we never have got an answer from God about anything. It’s sad but true. Look at Abrahams actions after that. Keep in mind that God had already given him the covenant and even repeated it a couple of times before he took things in his own hands and had a child by Hagar, Sarah’s maid. It cost’ us when we don’t wait on the Lord.
I am reasonably sure that David had the same problem. After being anointed as king and having the great victory over Goliath, I am sure that he probably figured he would get to the throne pretty shortly after that. I am also sure that he hadn’t planned on Saul turning on him and trying to kill him. Sometimes God has plans for our life that are according to his purpose and are intended to mold us, not break us.
Naomi was another one. When she finally returned home, she admitted that she went out full but came back empty. They had left Bethlehem-Judah thinking they could find something better than the house of God. Four had left but only one had returned. She had lost her husband and 2 sons. They had failed to wait on guidance from God whether or not they should leave. Again, there is a price and it is way bigger than what we want to pay.
In closing I want to say, I hope this has helped you. Don’t think that just because you may be a million miles away from your last victorious mountain top, that God has forgotten you. You will have another cloud nine sometime. Don’t worry, the wilderness in your valley is only temporary. You will get back to the mountain top someday. I can promise from experience that it won’t be as long as you probably think and like the song says, “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!