|Spiritual Geography: Mountains and Valleys in Scripture|
LORD OF BOTH MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS
Saturday, September 8, 2018 | 1 Kings 20:23–30
Atheism and agnosticism are higher than ever among American young people, according to research done by the Barna Group. Among those of Generation Z (ages 13 to 18), 21 percent declare themselves to be atheists or agnostics, as compared to 15 percent for Millennials, 13 percent for Generation X, and 9 percent for Baby Boomers. The percentage of teens who identify as atheists is double that of the general adult population (13% vs. 6%).
In today’s reading, the Lord
acted to defend the honor of His name against the slander of idol-worshipers. Like modern skeptics, they thought God was no bigger than their ideas of Him. In an Ancient Near Eastern worldview, idols and spirits were highly localized. That’s why the Arameans (or Syrians) decided that the Israelite “gods” were only “gods of the hills” (v. 23), where they had lost a first battle (vv. 13–22). If they could fight a second battle on the plains instead, where they believed their gods were stronger, then they could defeat them.
The one true God, however, does not fit this view. While mountains might be special places for meeting God, as we’ve seen, He is by no means geographically limited. He is Lord over all creation, certainly including both mountains and Valleys
. So even though Ahab was not a righteous king and led a militarily inferior army, a prophet from God told him he would win the battle: “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” (v. 28). And that is exactly what happened!
A right view of God means that we recognize His reign over every area of our lives—including both our literal and metaphorical mountains and valleys.
|APPLY THE WORD|
Scripture gives us the names of many great men and women, including Moses, Elijah, Deborah, and Esther. But let’s not forget all the unnamed heroes, such as the “prophet” or “man of God” in 1 Kings 20. He obediently played his part, then walked off the stage into the anonymity of history. Are we willing to do the same as followers of Jesus?