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Psalm 143:1-12      COMING OUT OF LIFE'S DARK VALLEY
Intro: 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 carvinga triangle out of stone
with a chisel and hammer.  Stepping closer, he asked the stonecutter what he was carving. 
The worker pointed tothe 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 theages,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), 
David, suffered from depression and defeat.  This Psalm came from a time of depression.  
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!
    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, I 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!
      B.  V.5 The Prize Of Remembrance - Our Sovereign - (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 your heart!  (Ill. William Cowper, that great hymn 
	writer was in the depths of dispair.  He hired a carriage drive to take him to London 
	Bridge.  His plan was to throw himself into the river and 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 Lrod 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
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!  (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! 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!  Ever 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 - 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. 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 
	circumstance, don't let it beat you!
Conc:  That personal relationship and consistent walk with the Lord Jesus will help the sufferer
 to come out of the dark valley.  He has never failed others, He will never fail you!
Sermon By Alan Carr 
 



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