26th November 2019

The God of the Hills, Valleys and Plains

“Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, ‘Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they…You must also raise an army…so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.’…‘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.’”
1 Kings 20:23, 25, 28 (NIVUK)

As the above scripture indicates, the range of a local deity was believed to have been confined to a certain geographical area. It was natural for the pagan nations to assume that the God of Israel had limited power just like their perceived gods.

Life is messy and the landscape of our physical and spiritual lives is more like that described in the above scriptures. Figuratively speaking, life’s landscape has its hills valleys and gently undulating plains. It is when we experience the extremes—the troughs and peaks—that we experience the agonies and ecstasies of life.

It’s easy to feel close to God in mountain-top moments; when life goes through plainer smoother periods we can get tied up with the ordinary day to day routines of life and become complacent and take God for granted. But it is at low points, in the valleys where long shadows are cast, that we are tempted to feel that God is no longer with us. We can only know what it really feels like to go through difficult and challenging times when we experience them for ourselves. These are times of transformation, as the bible states about Jesus, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

It is in the valleys that empathy for others who go through similar experiences is forged. It is in these situations that we need to turn to, rather than away from, God as David recognised when he wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4).

The proportion of hills, valleys and plains will vary with each individual but God is always with us and will see us through the problems of this life’s landscape, and ultimately through to his heavenly country (Hebrews 11:16). In circumstances where we think that God is NOWHERE, it is time to reflect on the true reality that he is NOW-HERE with us in this messy life.

Father, we thank you that we can come to your throne with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Study by Eddie Marsh

About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
Regus Meeting Rooms (Management Suite)
1 The Oasis
Meadowhall Centre
S9 1EP

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.church

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