God’s Presence Assured in those Difficult Times in Life

sheep in the valley “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” Psalm 23:4

For many people, the word valley calls forth an image of a flat, grassy expanse lying peacefully between mountains, like a dale or a meadow. However, this is not what the word means or what Old Testament valleys were like. A valley was a deep ravine or gorge. It was narrow, dark, and damp and usually encased by steep stone walls, making it virtually inescapable. Valleys were frequently located at the foot of towering cliffs. They were extremely dangerous: snakes, wild beasts, and criminals lurked in their darkness.

Since grass grows in Palestine during a very short season, shepherds struggled to feed their flocks the rest of the year. Often, it became necessary to lead their sheep into valleys where green plants grew in the cool, damp soil at the bottom. Passing through valleys was also necessary at times in order to reach pasture on the other side. Some scholars think the valley of the shadow of death was the name of an actual valley, an extremely dangerous one, through which shepherds and their flocks were forced to cross.

Valleys are symbols of the darkest times of life. The valley of the shadow of death speaks of life’s gravest circumstances, fearful occasions when death is a real possibility, such as…

  • severe illness or disease
  • a sudden attack on your health
  • a serious accident
  • deadly weather conditions
  • a violent, criminal attack
  • war
  • a terrorist attack
  • famine or extreme poverty

David testified that he was not afraid to walk through life’s darkest valleys. Although he was defenseless in himself, he was not alone in the peril: his Shepherd was with him. The Lord would protect him and keep him close to His side. David was comforted—turned from fear and terror—because his Shepherd was skillfully armed with His rod and His staff. The rod was a club the shepherd fashioned and carried to fight off wild animals and thieves. It was a deadly weapon. The staff was the instrument the shepherd used to deal with his sheep. It was not a weapon but a tool. The shepherd leaned on it for support as he journeyed across rough ground and rocky crags. Most staffs had a hooked end that the shepherd used to catch a sheep’s leg or neck to pull it out of a hole or back into the fold. The shepherd would nudge a sheep with his staff when it began to stray or when it was hesitant to move along with the flock.

David was fearless in the valley because he knew his Shepherd would protect him from all deadly threats, including his own waywardness. His Shepherd would keep him close to His side in the darkness and would be with him through every step until he passed safely through to the light on the other side.

Noah and the Last Week: God’s Great Invitation and Noah’s Great Obedience,

Noahs Ark

Genesis 7:1-9

Noah lived in troublesome times, probably the most troublesome times in human history …… Man had become corrupt and wicked: there was not a godly person left upon earth …… Imagine! Only Noah and his dear family still believed and followed God.

The things God called upon Noah to believe are unbelievable, yet Noah did just that: he believed God …… He believed what God said, accepted God’s Word, and did what God commanded …… The great character of Noah was that he was a righteous person …… not by his own righteousness …… but by the righteousness of faith he had become an heir and preacher.

In the sight of God, Noah was seen, known and acknowledged as righteous; …… but this was not as the result of the works of the law …… but by the righteousness of Christ because without that no flesh living is justified in the sight of God.

Noah was a rear instance of this character …… there was none beside him in that wicked generation …… therefore he was very conspicuous and remarkable …… It was a wonderful grace bestowed upon him that he should have this blessing to be righteous in an age that was so sadly corrupted …… The fact that the world was so corrupt was the reason that Noah had been saved …… God had called Noah for a very special reason.

 (7:1-9) Introduction:

There is a great gap of time between Genesis 6 and Genesis 7, probably a gap of 120 years. Genesis 6 ended with God telling Noah to build the ark; …… Genesis 7 begins with God telling Noah to enter the ark. Imagine! Noah had been building the ark for 120 years ……. For 120 years Noah had been preaching the coming judgment of God while building this monstrous box-like structure.

Again, imagine the neighbours, community, and public at large …… Think of their curiosity, and how strange they thought Noah was, this man who was building this boat-like structure out in the middle of dry land …… all because he thought God was going to judge the sins of man by sending a flood of waters upon the earth.

Sometimes the unbelief and the jokes, ridicule, mockery, and persecution must have been almost unbearable ……There was no doubt a great deal of hostility toward him …… But Noah was faithful and enduring to the Lord and to the great call God had given him, faithful to the end …… Noah preached, and he finished the ark despite all the trials and abuse of the people.

This he did in the midst of a godless society, a society that had turned completely away from God …… There was not a person—not a single person—who followed God and lived like God said to live …… Noah and his family alone followed God and obeyed His Word …… Now, God reappeared to Noah and gave him additional instructions.

Note: these are the last seven days—the events of the last week—right before the rain began …… This is the great subject of this passage: “Noah and the Last Week: God’s Great Invitation to Noah and Noah’s Great Obedience.”

  1. (7:1) There was the great invitation of God.

God spoke to Noah and told him to “come—enter into the ark.” …… These words must have been both comforting and terrifying to Noah.

Comforting because Noah knew that he was now to be vindicated and delivered from all the trials of this evil world and from the abuse of the ungodly.

Terrified because he knew that the earth and every living thing upon it was now to be destroyed.

Just picture the thoughts that were bound to be flashing across Noah’s mind: …… every friend … relative … neighbour … and person upon earth was to be destroyed … wiped off the face of the earth; every animal … house … building… tree … shrub—all the earth and everything upon it was to be destroyed.

The emotions and thoughts that Noah was experiencing would surge through the body of any person who was about to go through such an experience as Noah was. But Noah had God and His comforting presence …… and God knows how to comfort and carry His followers through frightening and terrifying experiences, even the experience of death itself …… Note how God comforted and assured Noah.

1. God said, “Come—enter into the ark.” The Hebrew word is come, enter …… These were tender words, like the words of a father who calls out to his children to come into the house when he sees a storm or night approaching …… God was assuring Noah… Of His constant presence …… That He would look after Noah within the ark as well as without the ark.

Observation:  Several pictures can be gleaned from this great invitation from God to Noah.

Here is the picture of Christ, of the safety and security from judgment which man can find in Christ …… Noah found safety and security from judgment by entering the ark …… We can find safety and security from the coming judgment by entering Christ …… that is…

  • By placing our lives into His hands …… By approaching Christ and following Him into the safety of God’s presence.
  • By approaching the safety and security of God’s presence through Christ …… By approaching God through Christ.

2. God told Noah that his whole family was to enter the ark. This was bound to help ease the heart of Noah, for those whom he loved the most—his immediate family—were to be saved along with him.

Does this mean that Noah’s sons and their wives were followers of God? …… Actually we are not told if this was the case …… and we should never speculate where scripture is silent.

There is no doubt that Noah being a righteous man has brought his sons up in the knowledge of Almighty God ……. as a godly man, his duty was to lead and instruct his children to follow God …… Year after year of living with and being taught by a godly father like Noah was bound to make an impact upon the three boys and eventually upon their wives.

Note, It is good to belong to the family of a godly man; it is safe and comfortable to dwell under such a shadow …… One of Noah’s sons was Ham, who proved afterwards a bad man, yet he was saved in the ark, which intimates,

[1.] That wicked children often fare the better for the sake of their godly parents.

[2.] That there is a mixture of bad with good in the best societies in earth, and we are not to think it strange.

In Noah’s family there was a Ham …… and in Christ’s family there was a Judas …… There is no perfect purity on this side heaven.

We have to remember one thing …… an important point …… that after the flood God’s plan was to repopulate the earth …… the fact that Noah’s sons and their wives were saved was all part of God’s gracious and merciful plan for His creation.

A point to notice is that in this account of Noah we see set out the principle of election …… here we see we see the election of a new race out of an old one that had been given over to destruction.

2. (7:1-4) There were the great reasons for God’s invitation to enter the ark of safety and security.

1. God invited Noah to enter the ark because Noah was righteous before God (Genesis 7:1). Noah believed God, believed what God said, and did what God said …… Believing and obeying God always pleases God …… It pleases Him just like it pleases us when people believe us and follow our advice and counsel.

Noah pleased God; therefore, God wanted to save Noah …… God wanted to look after Noah, and God wanted to use Noah in His great purpose for the earth …… This is the reason Noah was saved and used by God to carry on the human race: he was righteous before God …… Noah simply believed God and did what God said.

2. Noah was to save the animal life of the earth (Genesis 7:2-3). Note; that seven of all clean animals were to be saved as well as two of all unclean animals.

Originally, some 120 years before, when God first told Noah about the coming flood, God said that Noah would be saving two of every animal …… Why the switch to seven animals now? …… Because it is now time for the details to be spelled out. …….

When God instructed Noah 120 years before, only general instructions concerning the animals were needed …… Now, in entering the ark, the details are needed: some clean animals would be needed for sacrifice and worship; therefore, more were naturally needed …… Also, the clean animals would provide food for Noah and his family (cp. Genesis 9:3).

Note the clearly stated purpose for two of every kind of animal, both a male and a female: to reproduce offspring and to keep their kind alive upon the earth (Genesis 7:3b).

3. Noah and his family were invited into the ark because judgment was imminent (Genesis 7:4).

a. God gave man a final chance to repent, a last act of grace. God gave Noah seven days to make final preparations and to continue preaching to the lost of his generation …… Just imagine the fervour of his preaching as he proclaimed that the judgement of God was to fall within seven days.

Imagine the scene as he did just what every true preacher would do: preach day by day and count down the days one by one: seven, six, five, four, three, two, one—only one more day—and then, at last, this is the day of climactic judgment.

God gave the earth one final week—a whole week of grace, even telling them when the judgement was to fall—yet the people still disbelieved.

They still rejected God and refused to repent …… The people just did not believe that God was going to judge them and destroy the earth and begin all over again.

b. God spelled out the judgement that was to fall upon the earth: there was to be a deluge of rain never seen before …… A flood of rain was to fall upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.

Observation:  Throughout history God has used the number forty to symbolize a great period of trial that ends in great victory and triumph over evil.

  • Israel wandered about in the wilderness for forty years before entering the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33).
  • The spies who were sent to scout out Canaan before Israel entered the land stayed and scouted out the land for forty days (Numbers 13:25).
  • Moses was in the mountain receiving the law of God for forty days and nights (Exodus 24:18).
  • Elijah fasted for forty days and nights (1 Kings 19:8).
  • Nineveh was given forty days to repent (Jonah 3:4).
  • Jesus Christ fasted for forty days before He faced the onslaught of the devil’s temptations (Matthew 4:2).
  •  Jesus Christ was on earth for forty days after His resurrection and phenomenal ascension into heaven (Acts 1:3).

c. God Himself pronounced the terrible destruction of the judgement: He was going to destroy every living creature He had made …… In the Hebrew God literally said that He was going to wipe or blot out every living creature from the face of the earth.

Observation:  We marvel at the unbelief of people in Noah’s day …… But they were no different from the people of our day …… Look at the unbelief of our world …… Few believe; most disbelieve …… In fact, many people even deny that the great flood ever took place.

Many persons do not believe that God ever destroyed the earth …… But they are wrong …… God did …… And the great tragedy is this: God is going to be forced to destroy the earth again. People are still rejecting God, even cursing and denying Him …… Just think of the times throughout the day when God’s name is cursed …… Think of the people who deny and reject God …… Just think how few people we know who really believe and follow God, who really live for Him.

This is the reason God declares that judgement is to once again fall upon the earth …… In fact, God declares that both the earth and the heavens—the whole universe—will soon be judged and destroyed …… But this time, it will be final. God is going to stop human history as it now exists: sinful, evil, and imperfect.

God declares that He is going to remake the earth and the heavens, recreate them in perfection …… He declares that He is going to populate them with angelic beings and with those people who have believed and followed Him down through the ages.

  1. (7:5-9) There was the great obedience of Noah.

The stress of these verses is the explicit obedience of Noah: he did exactly what God said to do.

Note: it had not yet begun to rain …… Noah was still acting by faith …… All he had was what we have: God’s Word and the warning of judgement to come …… He had nothing else other than God’s Word …… He had built the ark with nothing other than God’s Word to go on, and now, he enters the ark with nothing but God’s Word to go on.

Not a drop of rain had yet fallen; nothing had yet happened to indicate that judgement was about to fall upon the earth …… God alone had spoken to Noah, and Noah had acted on God’s Word alone ……

Three facts are clearly stated in these verses.

1. Noah was 600 hundred years old when he entered the ark and the flood of water began (Genesis 7:5-6). Compare Genesis 6:3, 13 and note that Noah spent 120 years building the ark …… This means that Noah was 480 years old when God first told him to build the ark and prepare for the coming judgement …… Just think of the great faith and obedience of Noah: he did the most strange and unbelievable thing imaginable.

  • He built a huge box-like structure out in the middle of nowhere, and all the while he preached the righteousness and coming judgement of God …… The ark was roughly the size of one and one half football fields.

Noah did this—worked at building the ark and at preaching—for 120 years, all in obedience to the Word of God …… All he had to go on was the Word and warning of God.

Again, just think of the great faith and obedience of Noah: 120 years doing the strange and unbelievable, all based solely upon the Word of God.

2. Noah went into the ark and took only those whom God had said were to enter (Genesis 7:7). Only Noah and his family, which included his wife and his three sons and their wives, were allowed to enter the ark—only eight persons altogether.

Think how difficult this was: …… isolating himself and his family from the rest of mankind, thinking—yea, knowing within his heart—that he and his family were to be the only survivors left from the coming holocaust, the only survivors upon the whole earth.

  • Just imagine the emotions—the effect upon you—if you knew that only eight people had survived a world-wide holocaust and you were one of the survivors.

The apprehension, fear, sense of loneliness and of the unknown must have been almost unbearable

But Noah acted, and his action was based solely upon the Word of God …… God had said to enter the ark with his family, and he obeyed …… He did exactly what God said to do …… Note why: to escape the flood of waters, the coming judgement (Genesis 7:7b).

3. Noah followed God’s instructions to save the animals (Genesis 7:8-9). He took two, a male and a female, of all animals (Genesis 7:9) …… Note that Noah’s great obedience is restated: he did exactly as God commanded …… He disobeyed in nothing …… He obeyed God completely and fully.

He followed the Word of God, did exactly what God said to do …… As Scripture says: “[God] saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5).

Never forget the past

2 Timothy 3 verse 14On Sunday evening the 9th December 1962 I was baptised at Dereham Baptist Church, the text I was given on that occasion was 2 Timothy 3:14, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;”

Christians have always stressed the importance of the Bible or of the Scripture. Why? What is the importance and value of Scripture? John Calvin says concerning this verse:

“Although wickedness prevail, and push its way forward, he (Paul) advises Timothy nevertheless to stand firm. And undoubtedly this is the actual trial of faith, when we offer unwearied resistance to all the contrivances of Satan, and do not alter our course for every wind that blows, but remain steadfast on the truth of God, as on a sure anchor”.

Timothy had been taught the Scriptures all of his life, when he was only a child, his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois had rooted him in the Scriptures (2 Timothy. 1:5; 2 Timothy. 3:15). They were both strong believers in the Lord. Paul had also grounded Timothy in the Scriptures. But note a most critical point:

  • It is not enough to have learned the Scripture.
  • It is not enough to be assured that the teachings of Scripture are true.
  • It is not enough to know that your teachers teach the truth.

Timothy knew all this. He had learned the Scriptures and he had found the Scriptures to be true. The claims and promises of Scripture had worked in his own life. Timothy also knew his teachers; their lives bore testimony to the truth of Scripture. But this was not enough.

Note the word “continue”, it means to abide, dwell, remain, and stay in the Scripture. Simply stated, Timothy had to live in the Scripture—live, move, and have his being in the Scripture. And more, he had to live out the Scripture—continue to walk and live in the truths of the Scripture. He had to do what Scripture said.

There is no doubt that Christians today do not read, let alone study the bible, verses of scripture are taken out of context in order to establish grounds for some new programme, or revised view of doctrine, daily reading notes are used but are often only thoughts concerning one verse. It is ignorance of the scriptures that allowed the church to sink further into apostasy and to a closer united with Rome.

What we read in this verse is the foundation for what is contained in the final verses of this chapter, as Christians we need to be aware that our lives are guided by the inspired Word of God, as Paul concludes, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)).

In conclusion note four significant points in this verse.

1)  A person is to learn the Scripture.

2)  A person is to be assured of the Scriptures, apply them to his life, and experience the truth and assurance of them.

3)  A person is to know his teachers—make sure that they teach the truth of the Scripture.

4)  A person is to continue in the Scripture: abide and dwell, remain and stay in the Scripture. He is to live and move and have his being in Scripture.


Secondary Separation | When to Stand Apart – Metropolitan Tabernacle

Separation is one of those doctrines that has caused disharmony in itself within the church, there are those Christians who feel that it is a greater witness and a greater expression of love to to be involved with apostate congregations, however, in doing so they are laying aside the teaching of scripture. Below is an article published in the Sword and Trowel, dealing with this very important subject.

Secondary Separation | When to Stand Apart – Metropolitan Tabernacle.

The Fable of the Mass

The mass

A pretty maid, a Protestant, was to a Catholic wed;
To love all Bible truths and tales, quite early she’d been bred.
It sorely grieved her husband’s heart that she would not comply,
And join the Mother Church of Rome and heretics deny.

So day by day he flattered her, but still she saw no good
Would ever come from bowing down to idols made of wood.
The Mass, the host, the miracles, were made but to deceive;
And transubstantiation, too, she’d never dare believe.

He went to see his clergyman and told him his sad tale.
“My wife is an unbeliever, sir; you can perhaps prevail;
For all your Romish miracles my wife has strong aversion,
To really work a miracle may lead to her conversion.”

The priest went with the gentleman – he thought to gain a prize.
He said, “I will convert her, sir, and open both her eyes.”
So when they came into the house, the husband loudly cried,
“The priest has come to dine with us!” “He’s welcome,” she replied.

And when, at last, the meal was o’er, the priest at once began,
To teach his hostess all about the sinful state of man;
The greatness of our Saviour’s love, which Christians can’t deny,
To give Himself a sacrifice and for our sins to die.

“I will return tomorrow, lass, prepare some bread and wine;
The sacramental miracle will stop your soul’s decline.”
“I’ll bake the bread,” the lady said. “You may,” he did reply,
“And when you’ve seen this miracle, convinced you’ll be, say I.”

The priest did come accordingly, the bread and wine did bless.
The lady asked, “Sir, is it changed?” The priest answered, “Yes,
It’s changed from common bread and wine to truly flesh and blood;
Begorra, lass, this power of mine has changed it into God!”

So having blessed the bread and wine, to eat they did prepare.
The lady said unto the priest, “I warn you to take care,
For half an ounce of arsenic was mixed right in the batter,
But since you have its nature changed, it cannot really matter.”

The priest was struck real dumb – he looked as pale as death.
The bread and wine fell from his hands and he did gasp for breath.
“Bring me my horse!” the priest cried, “This is a cursed home!”
The lady replied, “Begone; tis you who shares the curse of Rome.”

The husband, too, he sat surprised, and not a word did say.
At length he spoke, “My dear,” said he, “the priest has run away;
To gulp such mummery and tripe. I’m not for sure, quite able;
I’ll go with you and we’ll renounce this Roman Catholic fable.”

Author Unknown

Holy Father full of mercy

Christian Hymns







Holy Father full of mercy,
O most high and mighty God.
There is none on earth beside Thee,
Thou alone the living God.
From Thy throne room look upon us,
Fill our hearts with saving grace,
Send Thy Spirit to embrace us,
Grant us light to see Thy face.

Holy Father and Creator,
Sovereign God who rules on high,
Thou alone our souls protector,
Bend Thine ear to hear our cry,
For we need Thy grace and mercy
To resist indwelling sin.
We Thy children cry for pity,
Grant us strength to fight and win.

Holy Father, King Immortal,
God of love and God of grace.
Thou alone who art eternal,
Descend now upon this place.
Fill our hearts with Thy sweet presence,
Shed abroad Thy Holy love,
May the perfume of Thy fragrance,
Come upon us from above.

Robert Dickie (1950 -)
(Christian Worship No:158 page 129/30)