Today I get to unfold a wonderful secret truth to you! And I am so excited to share it with you! Our main story comes from 1 Kings 20. This is so much more than a story of what was happening centuries ago. This is a story of what is happening right now! TODAY! The names may be different, but the story is exactly the same.
Let me introduce you to our two main characters. In one corner we have Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, enemy of the people of God… aka. Satan. In the opposite corner we have Ahab king of Israel, child of the living God, a symbol of you, today, right now.
1-3 At about this same time Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his troops. He recruited in addition thirty-two local sheiks, all outfitted with horses and chariots. He set out in force and surrounded Samaria, ready to make war. He sent an envoy into the city to set his terms before Ahab king of Israel: “Ben-Hadad lays claim to your silver and gold, and to the pick of your wives and sons.”
4 The king of Israel accepted the terms: “As you say, distinguished lord; I and everything I have is yours.”
5-6 But then the envoy returned a second time, saying, “On second thought, I want it all—your silver and gold and all your wives and sons. Hand them over—the whole works. I’ll give you twenty-four hours; then my servants will arrive to search your palace and the houses of your officials and loot them; anything that strikes their fancy, they’ll take.”
7 The king of Israel called a meeting of all his tribal elders. He said, “Look at this—outrageous! He’s just looking for trouble. He means to clean me out, demanding all my women and children. And after I already agreed to pay him off handsomely!”
8 The elders, backed by the people, said, “Don’t cave in to him. Don’t give an inch.”
9 So he sent an envoy to Ben-Hadad, “Tell my distinguished lord, ‘I agreed to the terms you delivered the first time, but this I can’t do—this I won’t do!'”
The envoy went back and delivered the answer.
10 Ben-Hadad shot back his response: “May the gods do their worst to me, and then worse again, if there’ll be anything left of Samaria but rubble.”
11 The king of Israel countered, “Think about it—it’s easier to start a fight than end one.”
12 It happened that when Ben-Hadad heard this retort he was into some heavy drinking, boozing it up with the sheiks in their field shelters. Drunkenly, he ordered his henchmen, “Go after them!” And they attacked the city.
13 Just then a lone prophet approached Ahab king of Israel and said, “God’s word: Have you taken a good look at this mob? Well, look again—I’m turning it over to you this very day. And you’ll know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am God.”
14 Ahab said, “Really? And who is going to make this happen?”
God said, “The young commandos of the regional chiefs.”
“And who,” said Ahab, “will strike the first blow?”
God said, “You.”
15 Ahab looked over the commandos of the regional chiefs; he counted 232. Then he assessed the available troops—7,000.
16-17 At noon they set out after Ben-Hadad who, with his allies, the thirty-two sheiks, was busy at serious drinking in the field shelters. The commandos of the regional chiefs made up the vanguard.
A report was brought to Ben-Hadad: “Men are on their way from Samaria.”
18 He said, “If they’ve come in peace, take them alive as hostages; if they’ve come to fight, the same—take them alive as hostages.”
19-20 The commandos poured out of the city with the full army behind them. They hit hard in hand-to-hand combat. The Arameans scattered from the field, with Israel hard on their heels. But Ben-Hadad king of Aram got away on horseback, along with his cavalry.
21 The king of Israel cut down both horses and chariots—an enormous defeat for Aram.
22 Sometime later the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “On the alert now—build up your army, assess your capabilities, and see what has to be done. Before the year is out, the king of Aram will be back in force.”
23-25 Meanwhile the advisors to the king of Aram said, “Their god is a god of the mountains—we don’t stand a chance against them there. So let’s engage them on the plain where we’ll have the advantage. Here’s the strategy: Remove each sheik from his place of leadership and replace him with a seasoned officer. Then recruit a fighting force equivalent in size to the army that deserted earlier—horse for horse, chariot for chariot. And we’ll fight them on the plain—we’re sure to prove stronger than they are.”
It sounded good to the king; he did what they advised.
26-27 As the new year approached, Ben-Hadad rallied Aram and they went up to Aphek to make war on Israel. The Israelite army prepared to fight and took the field to meet Aram. They moved into battle formation before Aram in two camps, like two flocks of goats. The plain was seething with Arameans.
28 Just then a holy man approached the king of Israel saying, “This is God’s word: Because Aram said, ‘God is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys,’ I’ll hand over this huge mob of an army to you. Then you’ll know that I am God.”
29-30 The two armies were poised in a standoff for seven days. On the seventh day fighting broke out. The Israelites killed 100,000 of the Aramean infantry in one day. The rest of the army ran for their lives back to the city, Aphek, only to have the city wall fall on 27,000 of the survivors.
30-31 Ben-Hadad escaped into the city and hid in a closet. Then his advisors told him, “Look, we’ve heard that the kings of Israel play by the rules; let’s dress in old gunnysacks, carry a white flag of truce, and present ourselves to the king of Israel on the chance that he’ll let you live.”
You see, the Armean forces, today, are real. There really are demons flooding the streets looking for people to attack, looking for people to drag down into a pit of despair and depression. They are surrounding the people of God and trying to hold them back from an intimate relationship with their God. And so many times the people allow them to win, they allow the Enemy to sink into their mind and convince them that they’re fat or that they’re not good mothers. But God is so gracious! Because we don’t just get the honor of winning the battles on the moutain tops of life, because He is also the God of the valleys of life as well. He doesn’t just bring victory in the good things and the good times, He brings victory in the low times of life too. In those times when we feel like two tiny little herds of goats and the Enemy is covering the entire countryside against us. But GOD is with us! God sends His messengers into our lives to encourage us and let us know that He IS with us and that He will bring us victory! Victory in ALL the battles of life, the mountains and the valleys! The high points and the low points! How? Check out what is happening to Elisha in 2 Kings 6
8 One time when the king of Aram was at war with Israel, after consulting with his officers, he said, “At such and such a place I want an ambush set.”
9 The Holy Man sent a message to the king of Israel: “Watch out when you’re passing this place, because Aram has set an ambush there.”
10 So the king of Israel sent word concerning the place of which the Holy Man had warned him.
This kind of thing happened all the time.
11 The king of Aram was furious over all this. He called his officers together and said, “Tell me, who is leaking information to the king of Israel? Who is the spy in our ranks?”
12 But one of his men said, “No, my master, dear king. It’s not any of us. It’s Elisha the prophet in Israel. He tells the king of Israel everything you say, even what you whisper in your bedroom.”
13 The king said, “Go and find out where he is. I’ll send someone and capture him.”
The report came back, “He’s in Dothan.”
14 Then he dispatched horses and chariots, an impressive fighting force. They came by night and surrounded the city.
15 Early in the morning a servant of the Holy Man got up and went out. Surprise! Horses and chariots surrounding the city! The young man exclaimed, “Oh, master! What shall we do?”
16 He said, “Don’t worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side.”
17 Then Elisha prayed, “O God, open his eyes and let him see.”
The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha!
18 When the Arameans attacked, Elisha prayed to God, “Strike these people blind!” And God struck them blind, just as Elisha said.
19 Then Elisha called out to them, “Not that way! Not this city! Follow me and I’ll lead you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them into Samaria.
20 As they entered the city, Elisha prayed, “O God, open their eyes so they can see where they are.” God opened their eyes. They looked around—they were trapped in Samaria!
Again, a man of God was completely surrounded and seemingly incapacitated by the Enemy forces around him… but those Enemy forces had no idea what was REALLY going on! Only God and Elisha did. Elisha could SEE what the battle REALLY looked like. Heavenly Chariots of fire surrounding the Enemy. And that is the case for us every day! We HAVE to walk in the confidence that God’s faithfulness is our shield and our rampart! (Psalm 91: 4) It has nothing to do with our faith or our goodness or our works, it is all dependent on Him and Him alone. When we realize that the battle belongs to the LORD and not to us, then the battle becomes so much easier. Look at the Israelites, they still had to fight the battle, they still had to go through that valley, but they went through it KNOWING that the victory was theirs! They fought that battle and they WON that battle! They did SERIOUS damage to the enemy forces while they were fighting too! It wasn’t just that they survived the battle with their lives in tact, NO! They WON that battle, they DEFEATED their foe! Leaving a trail of bloodshed and defeat behind them! In the story with Elisha, God opens our eyes to the fact that although we may not be able to see them, the warrior angels ARE there to help us defeat the seemingly overwhelming enemy force that may surround us at the moment. TAKE HEART my friend, because those that are with us are more than those who are with them! Because GOD is with us, who can be against us???
This morning while still snuggling with my husband in bed, God said so lovingly to me: “Press into ME”. This is our command, this is our honor, this is our privilege, to press into Him. Jesus is our heavenly husband. He loves us more than we could ever hope or imagine! He desperately wants us to press into Him; to stand close to Him and lean into Him, laying our heads on His shoulder with our nose against His neck and our arms around His waist, so that He can wrap His loving tender arms around us and hold us tightly. Just like those angel troops surrounded the enemy forces, His arms surround and protect us from the Enemy and his efforts to destroy us, causing him to fail! So today I pray (feel free to pray with me):
“Lord, I press into You. You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1) I believe that it is Your faithfulness to me that is my shield and my rampart and not my own faithfulness to You. God I THANK YOU for always being here for me, to shield me from the storm and to draw me nearer to where You are. Lord, I will praise You in this storm, because I BELIEVE that You are with me, and that You will bring me victory in Your own way. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!”