The king of Israel, Ahab, was threatened by the king of Syria. Willing to submit, Ahab changed his mind when he understood that the king of Syria took too much upon himself in this humiliating exercise. With a little bit of bantering between the kings, the matter gets underway (20:1-12). Before the battle actually gets underway, a prophet comes to the king and reassures him that Syria’s large army will be defeated by Israel, the Lord taking the lead. This occurs, and the prophet tells the king that Syria will attack again in the spring (20:13-22). Israel’s king, again, took victory out of the hands of Syria when spring came (20:23-30). However, at this point of glory for Israel’s king, it is taken out of his hands because he failed to do the Lord’s bidding (20:31-43).
Application: Adam Clarke said that the Syrian king changed the leaders in his army because the replaced kings, “were not acquainted with military affairs, or they had not competent skill. Put experienced captains in their place, and fight not but on the plains, and you will be sure of victory.” If it were only a matter of competence! We don’t want to minimize the necessity behind being competent, but one can have much training and still fail to do an adequate job; in the Civil War this is illustrated with General George B McClellan. Competency is good, but when the Lord is on your side no matter the quality of training and experienced gained, one can’t overcome the Lord!