#229 (2/17/19)

Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks

Note:  Due to several winter weather events, sermons in February have been reduced.

Please read I Kings 20:1-23 (please feel free to read the entire chapter).  The king of Israel (Ahab) and the city of Samaria were being besieged by Benhadad (king of Syria) and thirty two other kings.  Benhadad sent messengers into Samaria demanding four things:  gold, silver, Ahab's wives, and his children.  Astonishingly, Ahab agrees.  After receiving this capitulation, Benhadad further demands that he be allowed to search his houses and take secret things of value from him and his servants.  Incensed at the second demand, Ahab refuses to give him anything.  He refused to give up his gold, silver, wives, and children to an enemy who was sure to annihilate him.  He chose to guard and keep what was precious to him.  Notice throughout this scenario, the Bible does not record Ahab seeking any spiritual direction or guidance from the LORD or a prophet of God.  He did not go pray. He did not fast or go to the house of God.  He simply said, "I will not give them up"!  Look what happens in verse 13.  After he refused to give up these four things, a prophet of God comes to Ahab and explains that the LORD would give the entire host into his hand and cause a great deliverance.  When Ahab refused to give up his gold (the revelation will of God or personal revelation), silver (the redemptive will of God or personal redemption), wives (his personal relationship), and his children (seeds of the truth in his will) God CAME TO HIM with a mighty deliverance.  Benhadad is a spiritual picture of deceit.  Deceit demands the relinquishment of all we hold valuable in the LORD.  When we refuse to hand over these valuable things, God intervenes.  Deceit (Benhadad) and thirty two kings were defeated.  

Going further in the story, in verse 22, the prophet (who is not named) comes to Ahab and tells him to strenghen himself because they (Syria) would soon return.  The Syrians believed the LORD to be a God of the hills and not a God of the plain (valley).  Within a year, they were back to besiege Samaria.  In verse 25, they would return with the same strength as at the first.  Victory was given to Ahab on the hill and was told not to relax because the same battle was returning.  This time it would be in the valley; it would return in the same strength.  In verse 29, Ahab had to go out into the valley, the battle, and engage the enemy.  The Syrians were subdued in the valley.  The LORD provided a great deliverance on the hill, but Ahab had to fight personally in the valley to receive another victory.  On the hill, God gives the victory, in the valley we go out and fight to get the victory.  Victory on the hill is given to strengthen self so victory can be achieved in the valley.  Victory is easily received in the presence of God on the hill, but is more difficult in the humble, dark valley.  To strengthen self (verse 22) means to restrain self and its secret delights, to conquer self.  Victory in the valley is preceded by restraining the fleshly desires of the flesh, conquering its earthly appetites.  Be prepared!  The battle is coming back!  Curtail and restrain the flesh and God will deliver because self has changed, its different.  Lastly, read verse 10 again:  this is what deceit says.  Basically, I am going to annihilate you and your personal relationship.  You will be as nothing!  WOW!!! BEWARE!!!