Then the man of God went to the king of Israel and said, “This is what the LORD says: The Arameans have said, ‘The LORD is a god of the hills and not of the plains.’ So I will defeat this vast army for you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
The two armies camped opposite each other for seven days, and on the seventh day the battle began. The Israelites killed 100,000 Aramean foot soldiers in one day. The rest fled into the town of Aphek, but the wall fell on them and killed another 27,000. Ben-hadad fled into the town and hid in a secret room.
Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “Sir, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. So let’s humble ourselves by wearing burlap around our waists and putting ropes on our heads, and surrender to the king of Israel. Then perhaps he will let you live.”
So they put on burlap and ropes, and they went to the king of Israel and begged, “Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘Please let me live!’ ”
The king of Israel responded, “Is he still alive? He is my brother!”
The men took this as a good sign and quickly picked up on his words. “Yes,” they said, “your brother Ben-hadad!”
“Go and get him,” the king of Israel told them. And when Ben-hadad arrived, Ahab invited him up into his chariot. (1 Kings 20:28-33)
Reality has a way of getting in the way of delusion. The Arameans, like most people of the ancient world, believed that gods worked only in certain places. They had a god for each city. They had a god for sickness, a god for death, and a god for health. They had a god for blacksmiths and a god for farmers. The god of farmers could not help a blacksmith or vice versa. The god of Babylon had no power in Nineveh. So, when the Arameans lost in a fight against Israel, the reason for their defeat seemed obvious: they had chosen to fight against Israel in the wrong place. Yahweh was a hill god. The equally obvious solution was to fight Israel in a valley. Surely Yahweh would be powerless there.
Unfortunately for the Arameans, their comprehension of reality was seriously flawed. They had lost because Yahweh was against them, and since he was the only God that actually existed, and since he had no limits at all, they were simply and fundamentally doomed.
The Arameans lost because God wanted them to lose. When God is for us, no one can be against us. No one can stand successfully against God’s will.