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September 29, 2017

From the Valley of Overwhelmed to the Valley of Blessing

“King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the LORD there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.” 2 Chronicles 20: 25, 26 (NLT)

The story of Jehoshaphat illustrates so well how God restores faith when we feel overwhelmed.  We can all relate to the fear, anxiety and fatigue that this King felt when he faced overwhelming odds with no way out.  His example offers us practical help with where to turn when we don’t know what to do.  When he turned to God in prayer and cried out for help and guidance, God began to restore his faith and act on his behalf.  Jehoshaphat was left with the same choice we have today.  Will we believe God’s promises and stand in faith or shrink back in fear?  King Jehoshaphat challenged the people of Judah:

“Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20 (NLT)

The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God in Romans 10:17. In other words, the Word of God produces faith in the truth that the Word of God declares.  The more I expose myself to God’s Word, the more God is able to restore my faith!  As He restores my faith to believe His promises, I must then act upon those promises.  Biblical faith is more than an attitude; it’s an attitude that leads me to action.  As we saw yesterday, Biblical faith is standing on God’s promise when I don’t see the answer.  Jehoshaphat didn’t know how God was going to bring the victory.  He only did what he was told and left the how to God. Biblical faith is standing in prayer when I feel anxious and fearful.  It’s believing God despite my fears.  That’s why faith is spelled RISK.  That’s the adventure of faith!

Finally, Biblical faith is standing to praise before God answers.  As Jehoshaphat led the singers to praise God when they marched into the battle, God honored their faith and acted on their behalf. They weren’t moaning and complaining; they were singing praises to God despite their circumstances, believing God to do what God said He would – that He would be with them and fight for them!  I wonder if Paul had this story in mind when he wrote:

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Or, if John did, when he wrote:

“… This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 (NIV)

When you feel overwhelmed and God begins to restore your faith, what kind of song are you singing?  Stand up and sing praises to God before He answers. Praising Him after He answers is good, but, that’s not faith; that’s gratitude.  When we respond in the faith that God is restoring in our lives, He lifts us from the Valley of Overwhelmed to the Valley of Blessing!  Every problem has a purpose!  God never wastes a sorrow or trial in our lives.  Hidden behind the problem Jehoshaphat was facing was a blessing in disguise!  He couldn’t have seen it, but God did!  I love the way God always writes the last chapter after He wins the victory.  The Bible says,

 “King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the LORD there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.” 2 Chronicles 20: 25, 26 (NLT)

Are you in the Valley of Overwhelmed today?  Turn to God in prayer. Let Him restore your faith, and experience the victory as He leads you in His power and His way to the Valley of Blessing! One practical way to step out in faith is through baptism.  This weekend, you have the opportunity to experience the blessing of God as you take your stand in faith for Christ at our Fall Baptism at every Woodlands Church campus following any service.  This is a simple step of obedience that honors God and takes you to another level in your faith journey.  It shows on the outside what Christ has done in your heart by faith, bringing you out of the Valley of Overwhelmed and into the Valley of Blessing!  Obedience always brings blessing.  If you haven’t taken this step, you can register now and join us this weekend at Woodlands Church!