The Badlands of Edom: Overcoming a Head-On Collision with Disappointment

Stay put my friend until you hear Him. Wait and trust Him.

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Read 2 Kings 3


Have you ever been traveling along only to discover you are suddenly in a place of impasse? Resources have dried up and/or the vision to continue suddenly diminishes.

Let me take you into the life and times of three Old Testament Kings. You can read the back story. We have King Joram (of Israel), King Jehoshaphat (of Judah), and the king of Edom. They were traveling through the badlands of Edom, heading towards Moab to attack King Mesha.

After seven days they ran out of water for both the armies and the animals. King Joram began to complain that God had not been with them and that they were going to fall into the hands of Moab. Contrarily, King Jehoshaphat asked if there wasn’t a prophet of the Lord through which they could consult God.

They found the prophet, Elisha. Because Elisha had respect for king Jehoshaphat, he sought the Lord for these three kings. The directive came from the prophet that they were to dig ditches all over the valley. After they dug the ditches, God said that without the help of wind or rain, the valley was going to fill up with water and everyone would drink their fill! Elisha said that God would hand Moab over to them! The Message version of the Bible says in 2 Kings 3:19, “You will ravage the country: knock out its fortifications, level the key villages, clear-cut the orchards, clog the springs, and litter the cultivated fields with stones.”

The next morning, the water had arrived. Like a flash flood, it came, filling the valley where they had dug the trenches.

Now the Moabites were up early that day. When the sun came up, they saw the water, but as it was reflecting, it looked red like blood! Their erroneous assumption was that the three kings must have fought each other in a bloody massacre. So they felt free to go down and gather the plunder!

They entered the camp of Israel, but the armies were ready for them. The Moabites fell to their death in a relentless slaughter! In verse 25 it tells us that they “leveled the towns, littered the cultivated fields with rocks, clogged the springs, and clear-cut the orchards. Only the capital, Kir Hareseth, was left intact, and that not for long; it too was surrounded and attacked with thrown and flung rocks.”

This is one of my favorite Old Testament stories. It teaches us that there are things for us to do when we think all is lost. It reveals God’s intentions to partner with us. It shows that God is interested in helping the doubter and complainer!


I want to share my seven takeaways from this ancient happening.

  1. When we view our situation in the earthly realm only, we will fall into anxiety. King Joram did not have the desire/leadership to seek the Lord. He fell into a cesspool of depression and despair. It’s so easy for us to follow this path of hopelessness when we lose eye contact with our heavenly Father. We are only a glance away from God’s eyes before we too, slip into the trap of unbelief and a visionless future. Psalm 16:8 tells us that when we keep the Lord before us, the possibility of our hearts being shaken is greatly reduced!


  1. King Jehoshaphat’s first response when they were in trouble was to seek the Lord and get God’s counsel. Victory is headed our way as we include God in the equation. This is always the quickest way towards victory in any situation we find ourselves in. In Psalm 18:29 we are reminded that with the help of God we can “run against a troop” or “leap over a wall.”


  1. The wisdom of God is foolishness to man. We have three armies traveling together and when God was sought, the first instruction was to get out the shovels and start digging ditches! How odd. I wonder if they were just shaking their head. What? Put our weapons away and get out our gardening tools? Ha! There is nothing military about this! Keep in mind, that you might just get an instruction from the Lord that makes no logical sense! In every hard situation, we will find ourselves in one of two places. We will either react with our emotions or respond with God’s counsel. We read in 1 Corinthians 1:25 that the foolishness of God is wiser than men.


  1. Partnership! God will not do what He has asked us to do and we certainly cannot do what only He can do! They built the trenches, then God filled them with the much-needed water. Are we building a container for our answers? Or, are we walking around in our wilderness defeated in a toxic pool of emotions? Scripture tells us in Mark 1:3 that we can actually prepare the way of the Lord. We can do this by asking Him what our part is in bringing glory to Him. There is always a part for us in the grand scheme of things!


  1. In any battle we are facing, it boils down to – What is God saying to me? Until we hear from Him, we should simply stay put and wait. If we don’t, we may succumb to defeat and stumble in our very own “Badlands of Edom.” Jesus says to us in John 10:27 that His sheep hear Him, He knows them and they do what they are told. If you aren’t hearing His voice, then I would venture to say that your victory is slipping through your fingers! Stay put my friend until you hear Him. Wait and trust Him.


  1. God may sweep the ungodly into His kingdom through your obedience. Those who are connected to you can benefit from your relationship to the Holy Spirit! I loved how God intervened for these three kings (who were not all God-fearing). Some of us have prodigals. Think of this: Could our obedience to the Lord “sweep in” our children just by doing what God tells us? Maybe. Psalm 11:98 reminds us that through following the Lord’s directions, we have an edge over our adversary. The key is for us to take seriously everything God says.

As we seek the Lord for His counsel for each of our situations, he will make us wiser than our enemies! The reverse is true as well—if we don’t seek his heart and word for our predicaments, our enemies will overrule us and we will be fooled into defeat!

The three armies dug the trenches and then they had to wait through the night. Brothers/Sisters, we are digging our trenches through prayer and are in a night season of waiting for the Lord as he works on behalf of our children and those for whom we are praying. We can’t provide the “water” we need but we can dig our trenches of prayer and obedience, fulfilling our partnership with Him.


  1. The enemy’s erroneous assumption upon us is that we will die in this wilderness of trouble and heartache! His misplayed hand upon us is assuming that we will bicker and fight and destroy one another! Oh, how wrong of him! There will be a moment when he sees the Son of God reflecting upon the waters of our life, only to realize it’s the blood of Jesus bringing an open and embarrassing display of his defeat as we:

“Level his towns, litter his cultivated fields with rocks, clog his springs, and clear-cut his orchards. And the very capitol of Satan’s kingdom will be surrounded and attacked with thrown and flung rocks!”


So …. seek the Lord for wisdom that makes you wiser than your adversary! Do the strange and impossible at his bidding! May we take seriously EVERYTHING the Lord has to say to us!

Every one of us has moments of despair and wonders if God has led us to a place of defeat and depression. At that moment, do what you need to gather yourself in the strength of the Lord- call out to a friend to pray, soak yourself in the truth that God has not abandoned you, and listen for His voice with all your heart, mind, soul and strength!




Written by Christy Christopher




Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


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