We mentioned last week that “Love is the root of the fruit.”
o We looked at how important ‘Choosing Joy’ was.
· We understood that the curses of the law came…
o Because they did not hearken to the voice of God
§ To keep His commandments and statutes
§ But, that was not the only reason!
· How important is joy?
o The curse also came because they did not serve God with a joyful attitude.
· Joy is important
o Look at this verse on the Feast of Tabernacles
Deuteronomy 16:15 (AV)
15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
o God’s idea of solemn is a party!
§ It is rejoicing
§ It is gladness
· Not like the world does
o The things of God are holy – ‘all of them’
o The fruits of the spirit are of God and they are ‘holy’.
o There is something ‘holy’ about being ‘happy’!
But just as important – notice the wording – “You shall surely rejoice”
o This is a commandment – ‘you shall surely rejoice!’
o A commandment is an ‘order from God’
o You are ordered to rejoice – you are ordered to be glad
o Now this should give you a clue –
§ If you have to be commanded to rejoice then it does not come natural!
§ So then, Joy is a choice!
· You can choose joy or you can choose sadness.
o Look at the example of Paul and Silas
Acts 16:23–25 (ESV)
23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,
· Notice that even though they experienced many blows, they chose joy.
o They chose to sing, they chose to pray
o It is a battle to choose joy in situations like this. It does not comer naturally.
o The only thing that comes naturally when you are beat-up is acting in the flesh.
o So, now you are empowered with knowledge and you know that it is possible to have many things come against you and still have joy.
o Your worst battle in life will always be between what you know and what you feel.
o Or can we say it this way – acting on what you know instead acting on your feelings.
o The importance of action cannot be overstated.
1 John 3:18 (ESV)
18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
· Love is expressed through actions
o So, if you are dealing with a possible situation where you are tempted to get out of love, rather than yield to the flesh, DO SOMETHING for that person.
· The root of the fruit works not only by the Word itself but by acting on the Word.
o If the root of the fruit works that way, then guess what so does the other fruits.
· Joy can be realized in the midst of difficult blows by doing something.
o Where joy is concerned, it is the same principle – DO SOMETHING
o You do not just walk around and say ‘I have joy, joy, joy, joy, joy – I am full of joy, joy, joy.’
· The question now arises, ‘Ok, what kind of things can you do, when you are confronted with situations that can undermine your joy!
Making Wells In The Valley of Baca
o Principle One: Make A Well.
Psalm 84:5–7 (AV)
5 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. 7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
· If you wanted to make the pilgrimage from N. Palestine to Jerusalem – the last stage of the pilgrimage would lead you through this Valley of Baca.
· Baca was a gloomy narrow valley where a black stream of water flowed out of the rocks in which graves were dug.
· And so we have a place of Weeping – a gloomy nasty place that these people had to pass through in order to get to Jerusalem.
· Have you been in that place in your Christian walk. – You are just walking along minding your business and all of a sudden – you’re in the Valley of Weeping?
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (KJV)
· Here is where people have difficulty – because often you did nothing to cause the change to come about – it just happened.
· Notice – ‘…when you fall into…’ – you didn’t wake up planning to fall – it just happened.
· And so we are confronted with this fruit of the spirit called joy and this place that we fell into called the Valley of Weeping.
· What puts you in that valley?
o But it can be any kind of change – change in your job, marriage, in our church, relationship
o Good things can sometimes come out of change situations but most people resist them.
· Fear and a negative outlook
· People would rather live with a bad situation than change because they fear that what they change to might be worse than what they already have.
· Who says that ever change that comes only makes life worse? Who told you that?
· Aren’t there some changes that can make life better?
· If I’m this type of person, fearful of change, what am I going to do with change?
· You have to go against what your head is telling you in order to overcome. A lot of times in life you have to overcome your head and follow your heart.
· There are things in life just like this – you have to go away from your head in order to be successful.
What Do I Do If I’m In The Valley of Baca?
· The scripture here is clear – MAKE A WELL.
· Why would make a well in the middle of a desert?
· Here is the reason why?
o Just because you are in the Valley of Weeping, does not mean you are alone.
o Building a well positions you so that God can bless you in this valley.
o Do you know what happens when God blesses you in the Valley of Weeping?
Psalm 30:5 (AV)
5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
· Notice what the Psalmist said – here I am in this valley – the water is bad – the water is black – what am I going to do? – Make a well! – Make provision for fresh water – and then believe God for rain!
· If you want joy – do something – make a well!
· No misery can be so great – no estate so barren – no circumstance so overwhelming that the godly can’t make a well!
· Baca is all temporary.
· Notice the Bible said – Passing through! – he didn’t say anything about living there.
· Some people want to build themselves a home in the Valley of Baca.
· Principle Two: Make A Well Not A Mound.
· Some people refuse to make a well instead they make a mound
o They make a mound with self-pity – ‘Oh God why me?’
o Some even sin because they get so discouraged and they say, ‘Well why live this Christian life anyway – ‘it’s hard, it’s tough – when I have done everything I am supposed to do then this happens.
o Bible characters have fallen away because of difficulties like this.
§ King Ahaz for example
2 Chronicles 28:22–23 (ESV)
22 In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the Lord—this same King Ahaz. 23 For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.
· There is an old unbelieving lie that some Christians have inadvertently believed that trials make you strong.
o Not in Ahaz’s case, he became more faithless.
o Instead of Ahaz making a well, he made a mound.
o Making a well for Ahaz would have been repentance.
o Some, with their words and their actions, make the ground harder.
o Their words and their actions push them further away from the one the one that can give them rain in the Valley.
· Look at Isaac now, as opposed to Ahaz.
Genesis 26:1–3 (ESV)
1 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2 And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.
12 And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him,
· Famine in the land is ‘Valley of Baca’ territory
· Isaac wanted to run in the midst of famine. He wanted to go to Egypt.
· He wanted to get out of the Valley of Baca.
· The Lord said, ‘No –stay right here and I will bless you right here in the Valley of Baca.
· Everything wasn’t that simple for Isaac – it wasn’t his only time in the Valley
Genesis 26:18–22 (ESV)
18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. 19 But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, 20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. 22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
· What was the secret of Isaac’s success?
· In the midst of difficulty and strife, Isaac DUG ANOTHER WELL!
· Isaac didn’t say – “Oh I thought the Lord was blessing me – I dug a well and there was water there and then all of sudden here comes Mr. Devil and took it from me and I’ll never have anything – boo-hoo.’
· The secret of his success in the Valley of Baca was when everything looked bad – when everything looked like it was against him – HE DUG ANOTHER WELL!
· He kept digging wells until the Lord made room for him because of his persistence and his tenacity.
· And Isaac’s testimony was just that… “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
o The outcome of that has to be joy!
What do you do when you’re in the Valley of Weeping? Do you dig a well and you step back and watch God fill it with rain.
Remember this and do not ever forget it: Under ordinary circumstances the strength of a traveler diminishes the longer he is on an arid desert like road – but with us it is the reverse – The Psalmist ends his Baca discourse with these words…
Psalm 84:6–7 (ESV)
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
THE NLT States – ‘They will continue to grow stronger.’