A year later the Syrians regrouped and came against Israel again. But this time they changed their strategy. Since the first battle had been fought in the hills around Samaria, the Syrians reasoned their defeat was because the God of Israel was a God of the hills. So they decided to change locations and fight Israel in a valley.
So Ben-Hadad assembled a huge army. So great was the mismatch that 1 Kings 20:27 described the army of Israel as two little flocks of goats in comparison to the Syrians who filled the countryside. The Syrian king thought he had Israel this time. They were outnumbered and in a valley. What Ben-Hadad did not know but was soon to find out is that the God of Israel is the God of the hills and the valleys! And once again, Israel defeated the Syrians and drove them out of the land.
I believe this is a story we need to hear again because life consists of hills and valleys. Life is a composition of good times and bad times. There are moments of success and moments of failure. This is true for believer and unbeliever alike.
So is the Lord only the God of the hills? Are the promises of God good only in the good times? Is He trustworthy only when things are going right? Or is He just as real and just as faithful in the hard times? Is His goodness steady and unchanging? Is His love still amazing when you are passing through some deep, dark valley?
I think you know the answer. No matter where life takes you, God is there and is able to bring you through.
Most of us have read the beautiful poem entitled Footprints. The story behind the poem concerns the trials the author, Margaret Fishback, went through prior to writing the piece. The person she loved left her. On the heels of that she became seriously ill with meningitis and was bedfast for many months. As a result, she came to the lowest place in her life.
A little later she met a man who fell in love with her and wanted to propose marriage. But she refused, stating that she had no trust. She didn’t know if she even trusted God anymore, and she knew she certainly did not trust men.
It was late one night, in this valley of sorrow, that she began to write in her diary the beautiful poem we know as Footprints. And it was in the writing of the poem that God gave her the answer the needed.
“One night a man had a dream, and he dreamed that he was walking along the beach with the Lord. And across the sky flashed scenes of his life, and for each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand – one belonging to him, and the other belonging to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. And he also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and the very saddest times of his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. He said, ‘Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there’s only one set of footprints. I don’t understand, Lord, why when I needed you the very most you would leave me.’
The Lord replied, ‘My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’”
Whether you are on the hilltop or the valley low, God is there for He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He is the God of the hills and the valleys.
Pastor Todd Weston