In this part of the parable the rancher has made it over the first of two mountains on his way to repairing fences. Early on he realized this was a much more taxing trip than he first thought, but God has given him new strength and, He not only wants the boost in energy, he wants to continue talking and learning from God along the way. As he walks down from the mountain he enters the valley between the two peaks and continues talking and spending time with God. Instead of becoming more tired he is actually refreshed the more he travels and when he gets to the valley he notices a fresh stream and takes a good, long drink from it. When he gets up from drinking his eyes are opened and everything looks different to him. What seemed to be just a path before him now opens up to a wider path up the last mountain, bordered with beautiful flowers and fruit all along the way. The rancher is revitalized as never before and picks up the pace as he comes out of the valley. What he thought would be his last bit of energy has turned into a fresh, dynamic feeling of vitality that is energizing his body and his mind. Even though the valley loomed ahead earlier as a place to quit, he nows sees that in the midst of that valley is the very strength he needed for a whole new outlook about traveling up the final mountain. Dread and despair are replaced with hope and energy.
1. The rancher made a decision after God gave him more strength to keep talking and walking with God. This is the way God continues to walk with us when we learn to depend on Him. Many times we think we are on a short time schedule when spending time with God, but in reality God likes it when we spend time in prayer with him. Spending time in prayer with God is for speaking and listening. Prayer is our chance to get to know God in that personal way made possible by Jesus. In Philippians 4:6 it says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” There is a little hint in this verse about how much time we need to spend in prayer to God. Everything is the hint and it is the hint because when when we start bringing everything to God in prayer, that is a lot of time spent in prayer. 1Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray without ceasing.” In this verse the apostle Paul shows just how dependent he was on God and how much prayer meant to him. It would be such a waste to have the prayer lines open so wide and use them so little. The rancher turned to God in that time of trouble, but kept on turning and learning from God through the entire trip. Prayer is a constant for us and our constant contact with God through prayer helps us conquer mountaintops and valleys.
2. The rancher had learned early on that God was there to supply his needs and he wasn’t surprised to see a fresh water stream in the midst of the valley between the two mountains, so he took a drink. God supplied the water to refresh him as it says in Jeremiah 31:25 “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” Languish (def) – lose or lack vitality. grow weak or feeble. God is our energy and His energy takes a tired person and gives them vitality for the journey. The 23rd psalm speaks well of God’s sustenance and his supply for the journey in life. The rancher went through the valley with no problem because God was walking with him and supplying him the energy and strength to not get discouraged while in the valley. Verse 1 of Psalm 23 says “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Verse 4 says “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” God doesn’t just help us barely make it . He gives us victorious hope and strength that energizes us, even when we are at the point of death.
3. Psalm 119:18 (The Message) says “Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.” The rancher takes a drink of the water God supplied and when he gets up he sees the path in a whole new way. He sees the beauty of the flowers and fruit along the path. His vision is not obstructed by worry or fatigue. He sees life in a whole new way….positive….hopeful……heavenward. The path begins to broaden and the narrow path that he chose to go on broadens as God opens his way before him. His choice to take the narrow path actually made it possible to find another broad path that was adorned with beauty and easier walking. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few find it.” The rancher found this narrow path because he was walking with God. Traveling on that path with God opened up an even broader, more exciting path that was filled with good things. The narrow path is not necessarily a path of obstruction, but a path of direction. When we walk with God he shows us the way to His path and we get great encouragement from what he shows us when we choose His ways. The world offers many different eye-appealing paths, but God’s path is the only one to choose and it is a narrow path. Proverbs 14:12-13 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” God’s path may be narrow at the beginning, but when following his course we see that the path opens us up to God sized blessings that we would have missed by choosing the world’s broad path. We do not know God’s ways until we learn to walk with Him and choose His path. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So who do we think we are? Our reasoning is flawed at best, but God’s ways are perfect. So why not get his thinking in our brain and take on His perspective. It cannot happen unless we follow His Word and walk with Him in an ongoing prayerful way.
Choose this day who you will serve and then serve Him with all your heart. He will guide your through the valleys in your life and set you on a path that is laden with beauty and satisfaction. God is life!!! No substitutes!!!
The Pilgrimage continues…