Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Kings 20:22 (NIV)
Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.”
1 Kings 20:22 (MSG)
Sometime later the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “On the alert now—build up your army, assess your capabilities, and see what has to be done. Before the year is out, the king of Aram will be back in force.”
“Then the prophet approached the king of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do; for at the first of next year the king of Aram (Syria) will come up against you.” -AMPLIFIED
Yesterday we left Ahab winning a great victory over the king of Aram, Ben-Hadad. Scripture tells us this about the battle:
“The commandos poured out of the city with the full army behind them. They hit hard in hand-to-hand combat. The Arameans scattered from the field, with Israel hard on their heels. But Ben-Hadad king of Aram got away on horseback, along with his cavalry. The king of Israel cut down both horses and chariots—an enormous defeat for Aram.” -1 Kings 20:19-21 (MSG)
Immediately following the battle we find the prophet who had boldly approached Ahab in the first place approaching him once again. Once again we find the prophet bringing another message from God. This message was a warning against any self-confidence Ahab may have been feeling after the victory. It was an announcement that Ben-Hadad would be back and in a round-about way an admonishment that Ahab needed to turn to God. The message was this:
“Go, and keep yourself fit because at the end of the year, Aram’s king is going to come back and wage war against you. Prepare for what is to come.” -(VOICE)
The message was basically “PREPARE YOURSELF”! Go, while you can, and get yourself ready for what lies ahead. By the time spring is here Ben-Hadad will be back for revenge and you must be ready. Go seek God’s face and strengthen yourself.
“Consider what is necessary for thee to do by way of preparation, and take care that nothing be wanting to oppose the designs of the Syrians against thee, who will certainly return and renew the fight next year. The enemies of the children of God are restless in their malice, and though they may take some breathing-time for themselves, they are still breathing out slaughter against the church: it therefore concerns always to expect our spiritual enemies, and to mark and see what we do.” -Joseph Benson’s Commentary
Meanwhile, we find Ben-Hadad and his advisers having a conference of their own. Scripture tells us that they were trying to pinpoint the reason that they had lost so badly.
“When we fought them in the mountains, they won because their gods are the mountain gods. But if we fight them on flat land, then we are sure to win. Therefore evacuate the royal leaders, place all the civilian military leaders in place of the ineffectual royalty, and assemble an army exactly like the one you lost. Replace every lost horse with a new horse and every lost chariot with a new chariot. We will battle on flat land, and we are sure to win because we will be stronger than they will be.” -1 Kings 20:23-25a (VOICE)
Foolishly Ben-Hadad’s advisers thought they had the situation all figured out. They thought they could nail the Creator of the Universe down and conquer Him and his people. Boy, were they in for a rude awakening. We are told that, “Ben-hadad listened to his servants and did everything they said to do, dismissing the royal leaders and rebuilding the army.” -1 Kings 20:25b (VOICE)
During this time period Ahab was supposed to be preparing himself and the people of Israel for Ben-Hadad’s soon return in the spring. We are not sure how seriously Ahab took the prophet’s warning; Scripture does not tell us.
The Bible has much to say about the need for us to be prepared for various situations. We need to be prepared for Christ’s soon return, to face temptation, to ready for whatever God brings are way.
* “But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” -Luke 21:34-36 (MSG)
* “The Son of Man’s Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.” -Matthew 24:39-44 (MSG)
* “So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” -1 Peter 1:13-16 (MSG)
The question we must ask ourselves is, am I prepared for whatever comes my way?
Lord, you have called me to be ready, vigilant and prepared for whatever comes my way. I have no clue what tomorrow may bring; hence why I need to be prepared at all times. Help me to be obedient to do your bidding. When you make your return I want to be ready. When I am faced with temptation I want to be strong. When you bring a new situation in my life I want to meet it knowing that I am prepared and ready; with you by my side. Lord, prepare me I pray.