1 Kings 20:28
“Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’”
Going through this chapter in my reading this week I came upon this very timely nugget of truth that demonstrated to me the very heart and nature of God. There are a couple of things that I want to point out in context of this verse. Initially, I was going to focus on my experience with divorce where I learned from experience that He is the God of the valley as well as the God of the hills. But there is a second important point that I know the Lord is asking me to share. The second point is that He does not like to be misrepresented. What do you mean God doesn’t like to be misrepresented? And more importantly how does that apply to me as a Christian today?
Upon first reading this verse I thought. Why does it matter what the Syrians think regarding God, they don’t know Him, they weren’t His chosen people? Then the Lord began to open my eyes and I experienced this scripture in a real and enlightened way. I will explain it like this. The overall plan and reality is that “God so loved the World” and He chose Israel as a peculiar group of people to be His example. God was going to demonstrate to the world the reality of His nature as He poured Himself out into the Israelites. If the Syrians had said oh these Israelites are flat footed and that is why they can fight so well in the hills so let’s go get them in the valley. No, the Syrians were judging Israel based on the ability of the God that Israel served. Does that sound like anything we are facing today? Is there a group of people out there who judge their battleground victories as direct from their god (muslim)? Just a thought.
Practical Point: We need to be careful not to judge people based on appearances of whether or not they are successful.
Something I am learning through my travels in the Word of God through the years and one thing remains true about our LORD. And that is consistently He does not like to be misrepresented. Jesus summed this up when He said, 42“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42). The idea or picture around what Jesus is saying can be likened to a fowler who sets out decoy birds to lure, snare and trap wild birds for game. The decoy misrepresents the bird world, it looks like the real thing, and the decoy may even smell like the real thing. But in fact it is there to cause destruction to an unsuspecting bird who is lured into its illusion of safety and rest.
Jesus also spoke of the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees who were suppose to be representing God in public service and worship in the temple. But Jesus knowing their hearts called them whitewashed tombs all clean and pretty on the outside but on the inside they were full of dead men’s bones. They misrepresented God by seeking a high stature. They enjoyed the best seats at the theatre and didn’t have to wait in line at the market. They misrepresented God in teaching His Word, and they misrepresented God in the temple worship, sacrifices and practices. They were robbing the people by making them buy new doves and lambs for the sacrificial offering.
Moses learned not to misrepresent the Father when God told him to speak to the rock and water would come out, but Moses misrepresented God by speaking harshly with the children of Israel and he striked the rock (Numbers 20:8-11). Moses was an incredible man who God chose to lead His people out of captivity as a picture of what our Lord, Jesus Christ is doing right now; leading people out of captivity. But this one time Moses misrepresented God and that is something God takes very seriously. It is a very sobering thought when you begin to think that we are His Ambassadors. Just walk in the Spirit, lean upon, soak in and trust in His Word and you will NOT by nature of Him misrepresent Him.
I think that the best way to guard against misrepresenting our Lord is first by learning of His example. Study the life and reality of Christ. As you take in the scriptures there has to be application. When Jesus says to turn the other cheek then turn the other cheek. When the Father wants us to bless those who use us (Christians) and pray for those who spitefully use us (Christians) He means it. When Jesus tells us that we should do to others what we would want them to do to us, then we should. Christians really need to practice mindfulness of their position in Heaven and their being an Ambassador for the Kingdom. When the Father asks, “who will go for Me?” Respond to Him that you will go for Him. You won’t go for fame, you wont go for the perfect mate, you wont go for money or a house with a two car garage; but simply go for Him. Everyday we have opportunities to demonstrate our love and devotion to Christ whether they are giving a glass of water to a child, turning the other cheek, or writing that check if it demonstrates the fruits of the Spirit; just do it.
The key is to apply scriptures to your everyday life. As you go about your day be aware of your surroundings and look for opportunities to represent the Father. Ask the Holy Spirit to come upon your life and bestow you with His nature and likeness and He will by no wise cast you out.
God of the Hills and Valleys
Second and initial point I wanted to make was that He is the God of the valleys as well as the God of the hills. Talk about a sigh of relief when you think about how much time we spend spiritually in the valleys verses the hills. The hills in case you’re wondering are considered a typology of the high times in life. The good-ole days can be likened unto a hill. Hilltop experiences are marked with gladness and rest of the soul like a birth of a baby, marriage, that great job, graduation and finally getting that dream house. The interesting thing and what I sometimes don’t like to admit or realize is that in order to get to the hill we have to go through the valley. If you live in a mountainous region look at the hills or mountains around you. If you live in the city or flat land look at a topographical map and you will see in fact that everywhere you look there are hills and valleys.
This is crucial to our walk with the Lord. To be honest with you when I first read 1 Kings initially I thought that it was peculiar that God would stress this point so candidly. Then it dawned on me about my own situation and there is no question about it I am definitely in a valley. In fact, I am in Death Valley. My divorce has left me so distraught now that I am away from my children for days now instead of hours. I remember when I still lived with them how awful I felt when I had to say goodbye to the kids when I was going to work or school. Now that it is 5 days between seeing the kids it just drains the life right out of me. My heart cries, “God! Where are you now?!”
Then the reality of this verse is beginning to set in to my soul. I understand the reality of what the Lord is saying; now I am just waiting for it to go from my head to my heart. There is no way that we would enjoy the hilltop experience if we didn’t have the valley behind us. There is no way that we would appreciate our new job or the dream house if we didn’t live in a shack for awhile. There is no way that graduation would mean as much as it does the feeling of accomplishment, steadfastness and success if we didn’t grind away day after day in classes. Are you seeing a pattern?
Lets go a step further by saying that life on this planet is one big valley and the more time we spend here the greater appreciation we will have for Heaven. Wow! You mean to say, Lord that this valley I am in right now is working in me steadfastness, patience and strength in leaning upon You and looking forward to You; so that when graduation (Heaven) comes I will have that much more appreciation for it?
One more truth and I am done. Another key ingredient to the fact that God is the God of the valley and that is He acknowledges it. He doesn’t say that he is the God of the hills but you’re on your own when you go through a valley. No, Jesus is saying I am the God of the valley, I have been in the valley and I know what it takes to get you out of the valley. So climb aboard the Jesus valley express and let Him take you for a ride.
We may not like the valleys, I don’t. But they do serve a purpose and it is my prayer for each of you that you remain steadfast in Him, look to Him, trust in Him and you watch and see, Jesus is going to pull you through. When our Heavenly Father calls us up to the hilltop in the sky the time in the valley will not even compare with the Glory that will be revealed to us.
Christ be with you,
Lyn Sheperd MSN RN