We have to walk this lonesome valley alone.
FEBRUARY 12, 2024
We have to walk this lonesome valley alone. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God because of His radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering. That grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great weekend, and as always, I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re doing a rather long series in the Book of Proverbs. And the only way we can do it is to drop pearls, and the ones that you find useful, you can use. My late mentor, Fred Smith, taught the young people, the young professionals in a church that I served. And one night he said, Look, this has no subject to it. I’m just going to drop some pearls. Leave them on the floor if they’re not helpful. But if you can use them, pick them up, and you’ll be glad that I gave them to you. Well, the Book of Proverbs is exactly like that. And we’re teaching it by subject. And there are dozens and dozens of subjects. In just a moment, we’re going to talk about walking the valley alone. But before we do that, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence always surprised that we’re here. Surprised because we’re not good enough. Surprised because we haven’t done enough. Surprised because we haven’t worked hard enough. Surprised because we haven’t studied enough. Surprised because we haven’t prayed enough. And yet, you always say, I’m glad you’re here. And that’s because of the blood of Christ that is sufficient and finished, and the imputation of your Son Jesus, given to us. And so, we praise you, and we worship you. Father, you know the name of every person listening to this broadcast. And you know when it’s hard, and when it’s soft, when it’s laughter, and when it’s tears. And you are sovereign over every bit of it. Teach us to trust you, to lean on you, and to lean on you hard. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins, because there are many, we would see Jesus, and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay, if you have a Bible and you’re in a place where you can do it, I’ll be calling out a number of verses throughout Proverbs as we continue with this study. And if you’re a Baptist and you’ve been in those sword drills, you’re not going to have a bit of trouble getting to those verses. If you’re a Presbyterian, I would suggest that you just trust me when I read them to you. Alright, let’s talk about walking the valley alone. In Proverbs 14:10 it says.
The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.
Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.
In other words, you don’t know, and you’re going to have to deal with this by yourself. There’s a sense in which we always have to deal with what we have to deal with by ourselves. I was on this phone this morning with some dear friends, both of whom when I was a pastor served on my staff. And they were telling me about some of the hard places they’re going through right now and the difficulties. And I said, if I knew how, I would take half of it for you. But the truth is, I can’t take half of it for them. It’s their pain, it’s their darkness, and it helps that I can listen and I can love, but I can’t walk the road that they have to walk, but Jesus can. You know something, all my life I’ve been looking for a place. A place where I could be accepted, where I could define myself, and where every burden that I carried could be shared. And I’ve come close to that. Key Life is like that. The people who work here are my close and dear friends. And if I’m hurting, they hurt. And if I’m laughing, they laugh. They taste the salt of my tears, but they can’t walk my road. And I’ve always, in many ways, felt like I was on the outside trying to get in, and nobody would let me in. I think I told you they gave me an honorary doctorate, the first of a number that I’ve received. And the board wrote me and said, we voted unanimously to give you a Doctor of Letters, but we’ve heard you make jokes about it, and so if this will embarrass you or us, turn it down. I wrote, I prayed about it and fasted, for about three seconds. Then I wrote them back and said I was just a little boy throwing rocks at the house because they wouldn’t let me in. Of course I’ll accept it. And I thought, you know, once I’m a doctor and I’m not even a nurse. Once I’m a doctor, everything’s going to be fine, but it wasn’t. I was still looking for a place of acceptance. And so, what the writer of the Book of Proverbs is saying is that this is a hard place. And sometimes you have to walk the road by yourself. It’s the old spiritual.
I must walk this lonesome valley. I must walk it all alone. Nobody else can walk it for me. I must walk it all alone.
No I don’t, because the one person who will be there in my darkness is Jesus. The one place where I’m totally accepted is God. The one place where I’m never lonely is in His presence. I don’t always understand that. I don’t always live it, but I’m doing it more than I did. And I’m asking God to remind me that He’s my place. And being my place is enough. Alright, enough about that. Let’s talk about humility and how I found it. Let me read to you, and I’ve lost the reference, but trust me, it’s from Proverbs. I didn’t jot down the reference, but this is what Proverbs says.
Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble what the eyes have seen.
You know something? Jesus read those verses, but he knew the reference. Jesus read those verses, and then in Luke 14:7 through 11, he kind of spoke about that. Listen to what Jesus said.
Now he told a parable to those who were invited to the dinner, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you’re invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
When Proverbs and Jesus both say the same thing, you ought to listen. That means somebody said to me, I was a humble person and I had a lot about which to be humble. But we as Christians need to recognize that as we measure ourselves not by other people, but by Jesus himself, we are great sinners. We are great losers. We are people who have great need. We are people who sometimes mess it up so bad that it can’t be fixed. And once you know it, and once you remember that, then you will be exalted. So, you’ve got to not get what you’d like in order to get what you would like. In other words, you’ve got to be humble, which you are, in order to be exalted. And that exaltation has nothing to do with you. It has to do with the one who loves you, who will never leave you, who will always be there and thinks that you are better than sliced bread. And so, humility is a good thing. And you don’t have to worry about it so much. If you’re sensitive to what God is doing, he’ll do that for you. He’ll remind you. I can’t tell you the times when I’ve spoken for major organizations and made a fool of myself. Told God, how could you do that to me? And he says, because you needed it. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. So great to dive back into our journey through the Book of Proverbs, today touching on two different subjects. And we will continue from here tomorrow, so be sure to join us. Well, file this under D for duh. We live in dark days. Good is called evil, and vice versa. We’re in a political season marked by anger, division, and despair. So, what are believers to do? Where do we get the energy and perseverance to love? Well, Steve spoke about this in a message called, We Will Be Restored. It’s a timeless message and I know it will encourage you. Can we send you that sermon on CD for free? If so, call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD, or to mail your request, go to keylife,org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for the free CD called, We Will Be Restored. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or now you can give safely and securely by text. Simply text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the simple instructions. And as always, if you can’t give right now, or maybe you don’t feel called to, we get it, totally. But if you think about it, please do pray for us, would you? Always needed and appreciated. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.