“The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, ‘This is what the LORD says: Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.’” 1 Kings 20:28 (NIV2011)
Life is filled with highs and lows. We love the mountaintop experiences but dread the valleys when life can become dull, monotonous or filled with uncertainty and loss. Yet, I’ve found that, in the valleys, my experience with God has grown the most intimate. Maybe that’s why this passage jumped off the page at me not long ago.
Here’s the setting: An unnamed man of God was told to speak with the King of Israel when they were being threatened by an opposing army supported by an alliance of 33 Kings. The odds were 33 to 1! Not good! While the Israelite King had made all the concessions he could make, war was inevitable. The prophet was sent to the Israelite King to assure him that God would intervene and give Israel the victory! Talk about a mountaintop experience! In fact, the battle itself was fought in the hills, and the enemy was defeated!
Here’s where it gets interesting to me. The following year, the prophet warned the King of Israel that the enemy would regroup and plan a counterattack on Israel. Verse 23 of 1 Kings 20 says,
“After their defeat, Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, ‘the Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won. But we can beat them easily on the plains.”
The enemy raised up such a large army against Israel that the Bible says, the Israelite army looked like two little flocks of goats in comparison. (Vs. 27)
I love what happens next! Verse 28 says,
“The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, ‘This is what the LORD says: Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.’”
Just as the King of Israel needed to know that God was adequate for the battle on the hills, he needed to know God would be just as adequate in the valleys! Have you considered that? It’s easy to experience God on the mountains. We feel His presence there and see His miracles, but, when we’re in the valleys, and life is plain, God may seem distant, even aloof. Is He really God of the valleys in your life? What is the key to maintaining victory even in the valleys? The Psalmist has the answer:
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
Here’s the point: Knowing that our God is the Lord of the hills and the valleys in our lives and that He is with us through the highs and lows enables us to live in victory no matter the circumstances of life!