A biblical valley that provides us with great encouragement is the Valley of Berachah (about six miles southwest of Bethlehem) referenced in 2 Chronicles 20. God’s people find themselves once again in peril, this time from a horde comprised of Moabites, Ammonites, and others attacking from the northern and eastern coasts of the Red Sea (2Ch_20:1-2). King Jehoshaphat, as he should have, turned to God, “proclaim[ing] a fast throughout all Judah” and encouraging the people “to seek the LORD” (2Ch_20:3-4).
It is then in 2Ch_20:15 that God, through His prophet Jahaziel, uttered the key words of the story: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” In the verses that follow, He commanded that they were simply to go into the valley, stand still, and not fight. When they did so the next day, God miraculously turned the enemy soldiers against one another and they slaughtered each other to the last man.
2Ch_20:25-27 record the response of the people to what God had done. As they went down to collect the spoils of the battle, they “assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah.” Berachah is a transliteration of the Hebrew berāḵāh (H1294), a proper name from the feminine noun berāḵāh (H1293), “blessing, the bestowment of favor.” As one authority writes, “To bless in the OT means ‘to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc.” (Mark 9). In the present context, then, blessing God’s name takes the form of praising Him for what He has done (Mar_9:21-22; Mar_9:28).
In today’s atmosphere of “self,” we tend to think that we have to “do it all.” We perceive a “need” and immediately found a new organization, invent a new method, or start a new ministry. Much of our apologetics is simply arguing the evidence instead of proclaiming the truth. It seems we just don’t think God can accomplish His work.
Yes, He uses us, but He wants to use us His way, not ours. It has been said, when God’s people do God’s work in God’s way, they will receive God’s results in God’s time. How thrilling it is to trust the Lord and His Word, and what blessing and praise result when we do!
Scriptures for Study: Read and meditate on Psalms 103 today. Bless appears five times and is the Hebrew bāraḵ (H1288), the root of berāḵāh, and means “to kneel, bless, praise, salute.”