Summary: How many times do we have to walk through the same valley before we learn the lesson God is teaching us?
The Valley of Reoccurrence – 29th March 2009 am
These were treacherous times for the people of Israel. Their wicked king, Ahab, had been guilty of leading the people to worship the Canaanite god Baal, instead of the Lord God Jehovah. As a result, wickedness filled the land of Israel and they were headed on a collision course with the judgment of God. However, in the midst of their sins, God still loved His people.
Thank God, His love never fails, Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.!
During this time, Israel was attacked by their eastern neighbour, Syria. God allowed Ahab and the people of Israel to defeat the Syrians and to claim the victory. However, Ahab is notified that the Syrians do not plan to accept defeat so easily, v. 22. He is told that they will return to fight again.
There are times when we will find ourselves right back in the valley – even after a victory - the enemy has very clever tactics. In the Syrian army we can see a picture of out adversary, the devil. When we are enabled by the Lord to win a victory against him, you can count on him returning to fight another day. His desire is to see you defeated one way or the other.
If he doesn’t win in one area of your life, he will change the direction of his attack and come at you again, 1 Pet. 5:8. We will see that this is just what the Syrian army tried against Israel. However, just as the Syrians were defeated and Israel walked in victory, you and I can walk in victory too!
I. The Enemies Assumption – Verse 23
The Syrians make a dangerous assumption concerning God. Since they were defeated in the first battle on the hills surrounding Samaria, they assume that the Israelite God is a mountain God only. Their strategy is to get the Israelites to fight in the valley, where they think they will easily defeat them. For the Syrians this would be a costly assumption, however, it is a gamble the devil makes all the time.
You see, when we are on the "mountain" spiritually, we are hard for the devil to handle. When we are walking around with a shout in our soul and glory in our hearts, we are a force to be reckoned with. It is hard for Satan to defeat an excited Christian. Maybe that is why Nehemiah said "the joy of the LORD is your strength.", Neh. 8:10.
This is the situation Satan ran into with Job. He put the squeeze on Job expecting Job to turn on God. However, all the devil was able to extract from the life of Job was worship and praise, Job 1:6-22.
What do you get if you squeeze a lemon / orange etc.. If the devil squeezes you and all he gets is praise to God for His efforts, he is likely to stop squeezing after a while!
The devil was going to put his tools up for sale. On the date of the sale the tools were placed for public inspection, each being marked with its sale price. There were a treacherous lot of implements. Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Doubt, Lying, Pride, and so on. Laid apart from the rest of the pile was a harmless-looking tool, well-worn and priced very high. "What is the name of that tool?" asked one of the purchasers.
"Oh," said the adversary, "that’s Discouragement."
"Why have you priced it so high?"
"Because it’s more useful to me than the others. I can pry open and get inside a person’s heart with that one, when I cannot get near him with other tools. Now once I get inside, I can make him do what I choose. It’s a badly worn tool, because I use it on almost everyone since few people know it belongs to me."
The devil’s price for Discouragement was so high, he never sold it. It’s still his major tool, and he still uses it on God’s people today.
It has been said that "Discouragement is the handle that fits all the devil’s tools." The idea here is that Satan knows that when we are on the mountain, we are hard to get at. Therefore, he assumes that if he can get us in the valley, we will be easier to defeat. Sadly, he has been right in many, many cases. If the devil can get you to focus on the negative aspects of any situation, he can get you discouraged. If he can get you discouraged, he can get you defeated. If he can get you defeated, he can steal the victory of the Lord right out of your heart.