Looking south across the Litani Reservoir to the confines of Aram Maachah
Of all the places mentioned in the bible, the geography of Aram Rehob and Aram Maachah reflect their names. Maachah means to oppress by pressing in. The wide open expanses of the Beqa’a (arabic: valley) narrow below the Litani reservoir, from which the Nahr Litani bends to its terminus in the Mediterranean at Misrephoth-maim (the place of burning water or the fired glass for which the Phoenicians became famous) Josh 11:8; 13:6. The narrows of this area provided the conduit through which famous invasions of the land of Israel would occur, such as in the time of Ahaz with Tiglath Pileser III. The northern approaches marked by the place of Ijon, 2 Kings 15:29.
This area of Aram-Maachah mentioned in 1 Chron 19:6 was the administrative district controlled from Abel-beth-Maachah, north of the sea of Galilee approaching the modern border with Lebanon, also the name of the mother of Absalom whose father was king of (aram)-Geshur, the south-eastern extension of the district, 1 Chron 3:2.
Maachah was the name of the mother of Asa, who was removed from influence in his kingdom. The manner of her oppression was the introduction of idols and groves, 1 Kings 15:13. Being removed as queen demonstrates the apostacy of the mother of the nation, and hence its religion, see Gal 4:26.
Ben- Hadad (the son of god Hadad or Baal) also marched into northern Israel through this valley in the time of Asa, and his name represents the nature of the campaign, the source of worship of another beside the God of Israel, 1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chron 16:4. Asa unwisely made a league to introduce these early influences of Baal into Israel, even after his early good start.
Maachah then represents the oppressing influences of apostacy in particular, and the very geography demonstrates the pressing in and dangers involved of external influences and challenges to those who would seek to obey God and accept His truths. The Lord explained these challenges to those hearing the gospel. In the parable of the sower this is reflected by the seed choked by thorns Matt 13:7, later described as cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches, which grow with the good seed for a while, but eventually chokes the implanted word, Matt 13:22.
The challenge of Maachah exists in many forms today, but all remove the word of God as the influence of choice in a man or woman’s mind.
The gospel of God is the good news of God’s involvement in a believer’s life. This gospel comes from hearing the word of God Rom 10:15-17. Faith, the realisation that God can be involved in our own personal existence is the motivating force that drives a higher goal in life, that of pleasing deity Heb 11:1,6. A believer must then accept both that God exists and will reward his approach of trust. This faith then demonstrates a complete reliance on the ability of God to provide everything that is needed for complete spiritual development and will provide not only the forgiveness of sin, but the giving of a life that reflects all the positive features of the God who invited the relationship. These features are the moral, mental and physical powers of God now perfectly reflected in others. Maachah then represents all the challenges to this development when the pressure distracts from faith.