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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 


    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!

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