Then the Lord has brought you to the Valley of Elah, dear Pilgrim, so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:7).
The Valley of Elah – the place where the Israelites were dismayed and terrified as they listened to the words of the Philistine giant as he defied the armies of the living God. The place where the Israelites fled from their enemy in great fear whenever they saw him.
You know the story well, dear Pilgrim, you know how the young shepherd, David, came and stood against the heavily armoured Goliath with nothing more than five stones and his sling. What gave David the courage to stand against his enemy when all others were filled with terror? He knew the Name of his God, dear Pilgrim. He knew His Name.
“I come against you in the Name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied!”
(1 Samuel 17:45)
(1 Samuel 17:45)
The Lord Almighty – Yahweh Sabaoth –the Lord of Hosts.
The Lord of Hosts, dear Pilgrim. Oh, lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing (Isaiah 40:26). He is the One who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the Lord of Hosts is His Name (Jeremiah 31:35)! He is not like the images, the worthless idols which will perish when their judgement comes. He is not like these, for He is the Maker of all things, including Israel, the people of His inheritance – the Lord of Hosts is His Name (Jeremiah 10:16)! He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals His thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – the Lord of Hosts is His Name (Amos 4:13)!
Pilgrim, has He revealed Himself to you as the Lord of Hosts? Have you asked Him to reveal Himself in this way to you? He will surely answer! Joshua received revelation when the Commander of the army of the Lord came and stood in front of him with a drawn sword in his hands (Joshua 5:13-14). Elisha prayed and asked for revelation for his servant, whose eyes were then opened by the Lord to see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around, and he finally understood that those who were with them were more than those with their enemies (2 Kings 6:16-17).
Once your eyes have been opened to see the Lord of Hosts, dear Pilgrim, they will forever reflect this encounter. Isaiah’s eyes looked upon the Lord of Hosts, and it was through him that the Lord declared: “The Lord of Hosts is the One you are to regard as holy, He is the One you are to fear, He is the One you are to dread” (Isaiah 8:13). Job had heard of the Lord God, but it was after he saw the One who had laid the earth’s foundations, while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy, that he despised himself and repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6).
O Pilgrim, take courage! For He is our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel – the Lord of Hosts is His Name (Isaiah 47:4)! For the Lord of Hosts took David from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed him ruler over His people, Israel. He promised to establish the throne of the Son of David forever (1 Chronicles 17:7,14), and the zeal of the Lord of Hosts would accomplish this (Isaiah 9:7). When the Son of David was born at Bethlehem, a great company of the heavenly host appeared and proclaimed peace to those on whom His favour rests. Peace, Pilgrim! You have peace with the Lord of Hosts now that you are trusting in Him! Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord of Hosts (Psalm 84:12)!
The Valley of Elah is the place where David’s trust in the Name of the Lord of Hosts was proclaimed before Israel. It is the place where hearts that had been melting with fear and hands that had been hanging limp were strengthened and encouraged as the faith of the young shepherd in his God shone brightly for all to see. It is the place where a spirit of despair was changed into garments of praise, where oaks of righteousness were a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour. The Valley of Elah – the Valley of oaks, of strength. Be strengthened, dear Pilgrim, in the Valley of Elah!