Overwhelming Odds vs. Overwhelming God

2 Chronicles 13 tells the story of King Abijah of Judah, the great grandson of King David. Abijah and his army had gone out to battle against the army of Israel led by King Jeroboam. Militarily, the prospects of victory could not have been worse for Judah. The Bible tells us that Abijah’s army was outnumbered two to one. Can you imagine standing on Judah’s side? As you realize that the enemy has fielded two men for every one of your fellow soldiers, you feel the blood drain from your face, your lips grow tight and a cold sweat covers your brow. The pit of your stomach can already feel the enemies’ sword. To say the least, you’re intimidated and very, very discouraged.

Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope. You’ve heard of other battles where superior numbers did not carry the day. But just as you start to recover some intestinal fortitude a report murmurs its way up from the rear guard … “The enemy is also behind us!” Verse 13 says, “Now Jeroboam (the enemy king) had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them.” You are outnumbered two to one and surrounded by a treacherous enemy … all hope is lost.

But that’s not how the story ended.

Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out to the LORD. The priests blew their trumpets and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands. Abijah and his men inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel’s able men. (2 Chronicles 13:14-17)

Prior to the rush of the enemy, King Abijah had stood on a rocky crag and called to memory God’s covenant with David. Abijah pointed his men to a God who could be trusted and who was mighty to save. In short, he turned their eyes away from the battle field and the overwhelming odds and pointed them to the overwhelming God! The conclusion?

The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers.” (vs. 18)

There are no odds that God can’t handle when we rely on him! The odds Sue and I faced in getting to Panama in one month were not as dire as being in a physical battle where you’re surrounded and outnumbered. Still, what had to be accomplished and the time allotted seemed humanly impossible. We jumped into the battle with our hearts and minds reeling. Time and time again we thought and prayed … “we can’t do this, but you can Father.”  God responded to our little faith by showing Himself large. He did immeasurably more than all we asked or imagined! (Ephesians 3:20)

In a little over a month, God:

  • Provided responsible Christian renters for our home, covering our expense so we didn’t have to sell at a loss
  • Paid off our remaining debt ($30,000) through the generosity of His people and our sales
  • Sold our car to an awesome young couple without us ever putting it up for sale
  • Sold one of our two houses in Kansas over the phone
  • Allowed me (and some awesome friends) to finish repairs to our home with no debt
  • Sent an army of wonderful friends to help in practical ways
  • Kept us healthy once we arrived despite our exhaustion
  • Provided people to help us adapt to life in Panama
  • Provided a home and vehicle for our first 2 months … and
  • Found a home for our cat and even allowed her to bond quickly with her new owner.

Yes, God cares about the little things as well as the large … and He can handle them all!


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