|One of the most incredible promises God makes to us is this: Even in our deepest darkest moments, we’re not alone. He is with us. We’re reminded over and over in His Word that He’s not only the God of our mountaintop moments in life, where things are going well, but He’s also the God of our valleys, when we feel like we’re alone in the dark.
In our Pause Bible reading plan yesterday, from 1 Kings 20, the people of Israel find themselves alone and in a real-life Lord of the Rings situation. Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, set out to attack Israel and leave them decimated. Not only that, but he gathered 32 other kings, all with military forces of their own, to do it with him. He employs all kinds of fear tactics and sends ominous messages to Israel to weaken their strength and hope.
Miraculously, God gives Israel the victory, against all the odds. But… this defeat doesn’t sit well with the Aramean king. So, Ben-Hadad decides to wait a year and try to do the exact same thing again! Only this time, he’s determined to learn from his mistakes and try a different strategy to defeat Israel. 1 Kings 20:23 tells us that the military advisors of King Ben-Hadad came to him and said:
“Israel’s gods are the gods of the hills and last time we fought them in the hills, that’s why they defeated us. But if we fight them in the valleys, where they are weak, we will defeat them there.”
So, the Aramean king brought another huge army back to wipe out Israel, thinking they were going to nail it this time. They outnumbered Israel so badly, it says, “the army of Aram covered the whole countryside, but the Israelites looked like two little flocks of goats.” Israel was alone in the valley, and things didn’t look good.
But then God speaks and says:
“Because Aram thinks that I am only the God of the hills and not of the valleys, I’m going to give you the victory over this huge army so that everyone will know that I am the Lord.”
One of the most common fear tactics of the enemy is to get us to believe that when things are falling apart, it must mean God is far from us. But we’re reminded of the truth in Psalm 23, “Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.”
Not only is God with us, but His Word tells us that He’s actually working things together for our good, even in our valleys, though we may not understand it fully right now. Whatever trial you’re going through will not last forever. What will last forever are the things we cannot see on this side of eternity.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
If you find yourself in the valley right now, be encouraged that the Creator is close by your side, and He will bring you through it. Just keep your gaze on Him, and He will lead you every step of the way.
Pastor Lisa Bolar