On verses 23-34: The officials of Ben-Hadad King of Aram had no idea whom they were dealing with. They assumed that the reason why the outnumbered Israelites unexpectedly defeated the Arameans at the first battle was because the Israelites were experienced at fighting in the mountains. “But if we fight them on the plains, we will surely have the upper hand,” the Aramean officials reasoned. Little did the Aramean officials know that regardless of where they fought, the Israelites were a force to be reckoned only because the Lord was with them.
So in the next battle, the Israelites overpower the Arameans on their own flat home court, killing 100,000 Aramean soldiers on the plains. Another 27,000 Aramean soldiers are killed when a city wall in Aphek collapses on them. The remainder, including King Ben-Hadad, flee. King Ben-Hadad pleads with King Ahab to spare his life. Seemingly without giving it a second thought, Ahab receives Ben-Hadad, who had wanted to destroy Ahab and his people, as one receives a brother. Ahab enters into an economic treaty with Ben-Hadad and lets Ben-Hadad go free. This would prove to be a fatal mistake on King Ahab’s part. Three years later in 1 Kings 22, the King of Aram would once again go to war against King Ahab of Israel and this time would succeed in killing Ahab.
What can we learn from this?
1. Like the Aramean officials, the world is quick to try to rationalize away the miracles that God accomplishes and the amazing blessings He gives to His people. Do not follow that faithless bunch. Instead of continually trying to find human reasons for the blessings and victories God’s people experience, be humble and leave room for God to be part of the explanation why amazing things happen the way they do to God’s people.
2. Do not be quick to trust someone who has been bent on hurting you. Remember that forgiveness and trust are not the same thing. Forgiveness (that is, relinquishing the right to get even and not holding a grudge against that person anymore)is free. Trust, on the other hand, needs to be earned. We are commanded to forgive those who hurt us, but we are not commanded to trust them automatically again. To give trust too easily, especially to those who have hurt us in the past, can be fatal, as would be in Ahab’s case.
Heavenly Father, the world around me will try to rationalize You away, but I recognize today that without You the greatest blessings and victories I have known in life would not have been possible. Today I acknowledge that You are the reason why anything good happens in my life. Help me also to quickly forgive those who hurt me, but not to trust them too easily again. May my hope and trust be in You far more than in anyone else. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!