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1 Kings 20

August 4, 2023

Groundworks Ministries Daily Bible Challenge

“Then the man of God approached and said the king of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because the Arameans have said: Yahweh is a god of the mountains...”

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1 Kings 20

“Then the man of God approached and said the king of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because the Arameans have said: Yahweh is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys, I will hand over this great army to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 1 Kings 20:28 (HCSB)

It is easy to smirk at the pagan Arameans, who think God’s power doesn’t extend to plains and valleys. But most of us have entertained similar thoughts. Paganism is not only alive and well in the World; it also lives within the Church! Our paganism may be more refined (hence, less obvious), yet no different in principle. Sometimes Syrian theology appears in a “deist” approach to God.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote to George Whitefield: “I rather suspect, from certain circumstances, that though the general government of the universe is well administered, our particular little affairs are perhaps below notice, and left to take the chance of human prudence or imprudence, as either may happen to be uppermost.”

For all intents and purposes, Franklin was an “Aramean.” What Franklin was saying is that God governs the big show but doesn’t get Himself dirty in the minor details of our lives. It’s the god-of-the-hills-but-not-of-the-valleys argument all over again. It says that God operates in the broad strokes of the universe but don’t expect Him to micro-manage. Have you ever heard “believers” put forth this idea? It is pagan in that it limits both God’s desire and His jurisdiction.

Sometimes we operate on the reverse heresy: The god-of-the-valleys-and-not-the-mountains. We have a god of personal need, but not on a global scale. We become so transfixed on God’s help for our little dilemmas and Aunt Sue’s gall bladder surgery that we lose the God of Psalm 24.

“The Earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord; for He laid its foundation on the seas and established it on the rivers.” Psalm 24:1-2 (HCSB)

Syrian theology simply says there are some areas beyond the reach of the Lord’s arm. And we can easily slip into this mentality, contrary to our expressed beliefs. We may catch ourselves assuming that God is at work in religious things but not in routine things. Or some have a worldly past that has left multiple scars; they are such victims of their experiences that they believe they cannot change or be delivered. God is the God of the Hills, Valleys - and everywhere else!! In today’s chapter, He sends messages to (and works His plan through) Ahab, Ben-hadad, Aram, and Israel. All are undeserving recipients. All this so that people will recognize that He, alone, is Lord!

No person is so bad that they cannot have God’s grace. And nobody is so good that they don’t need it. He is the God of both mountains AND valleys. The Lord can (and does) work His will through all sorts of people and circumstances. All that so that we will recognize and worship Him as Lord!

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