Hills and Valleys
A little snipit from Deuteronomy 11:11 says, “. . .a land of hills and valleys. . .”
Taking scripture out of context is one of my pet peeves. I do recall a college teacher from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, saying, “Scripture has one interpretation and many applications.” That certainly is true of the snipit quoted above. Moses, in most of the book of Deuteronomy, is giving the Israelites God’s instruction for running a safe and well-administered nation.
Remember, it had been 430 years since the Israelites had been in Canaan, the land promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Much of what they knew of those promises was handed down in oral history. The 12 spies brought back a report forty years prior to Moses’ instruction. Ten reports were negative while the reports of Caleb and Joshua were positive. Moses describes the land to them in terms of hills and valleys. Unlike the dry flat land of Egypt that had to be hand-watered, the land of Canaan, soon to be known as Israel, was rich in grazing land, hills, and valleys. It creates an appealing picture to the imagination accompanying the rich oral history.
Which is better? Hills? Valleys? Asking that is about the same as the ageless question “Is the glass half full or half empty! One thing is certain; life is full of mountains to climb, and valleys in which to languish. God gave us individual personalities. We face an assortment of difficulties on our life journey. It is best to leave the pathway to God’s choosing. The plan, in God’s hands, is a safe place. It is lived in the Shepherd’s Presence. It is then that we sing along the way the words of songwriter, Daniel W. Whittle, “Over the hills and the valleys, sound of abundance of rain.” Within the context of Deuteronomy 11:8-17 there is a promise of rain to the Hebrews about to enter the land of their dreams. It was a conditional promise. The hills would give them vision, and the valleys be lush with vegetation, if they kept themselves from idolatry.
Enjoy the hills. Enjoy the valleys. Expect God’s guidance along the journey whether you are traveling uphill, or into the valley. Sense the security of the tender care of the Good Shepherd.