1 Kings 20:26-43

Another Aramean War

26 At the turn of the year, Ben-hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 The sons of Israel were mustered and were provisioned and went to meet them; and the sons of Israel camped before them like two little flocks of goats, but the Arameans filled the country. 28 Then a man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Arameans have said, “The Lord is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” 29 So they camped one over against the other seven days. And on the seventh day the battle was joined, and the sons of Israel [o]killed of the Arameans 100,000 foot soldiers in one day. 30 But the rest fled to Aphek into the city, and the wall fell on 27,000 men who were left. And Ben-hadad fled and came into the city into an inner chamber.

31 His servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings, please let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will save your [p]life.” 32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’” And he said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 33 Now the men [q]took this as an omen, and quickly [r]catching his word said, “Your brother Ben-hadad.” Then he said, “Go, bring him.” Then Ben-hadad came out to him, and he [s]took him up into the chariot. 34 Ben-hadad said to him, “The cities which my father took from your father I will restore, and you shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.” Ahab said, “And I will let you go with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him and let him go.

35 Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to [t]another by the word of the Lord, “Please strike me.” But the man refused to strike him. 36 Then he said to him, “Because you have not listened to the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion will [u]kill you.” And as soon as he had departed from him a lion found him and [v]killed him. 37 Then he found another man and said, “Please [w]strike me.” And the man [x]struck him, [y]wounding him. 38 So the prophet departed and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, he cried to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside and brought a man to me and said, ‘Guard this man; if for any reason he is missing, then your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” And the king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it.” 41 Then he hastily took the bandage away from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him that he was of the prophets. 42 He said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your [z]life shall go for his [aa]life, and your people for his people.’” 43 So the king of Israel went to his house sullen and vexed, and came to Samaria.

The Arameans thought they had figured out the “gods” of Israel, but it showed how little they really knew about the one true God. He is God of the mountains, and God of the valleys. He is God everywhere, and His power is unmatched. Many times, our minds put God in a box, because He is easier to understand when He fits inside our own preconceptions.

But God does not fit inside a box. Yes, we ought to learn and study His qualities, for that is one result of building a relationship with Him. Be careful though, lest you think you’ve figured out God. He is not a magic formula for you to calculate like a complex mathematic equation.

He is the God of the Universe, pouring out His love on us. Doing things that defy our human logic, He will continue to break our patterns and our formulas to the end of time. Know this then, He IS a God of love, and justice. If you reject Him, you can certainly live your own tale trying to escape a certain disastrous fate. Only accept His love, surrender your will to His, and join in His story, a tale with unpredictable and unimaginable outcomes.

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