Dwight Fletcher | Against All Odds - Part 2
A new year always makes us hopeful. We feel like it's a fresh start and an invitation to try again to make another attempt to change our lives, even if the odds are stacked against us. As we begin 2018, I want to equip you for any obstacle that may come your way.
Last week, we looked at two ways to face life's challenges by examining King Hezekiah's response to an Assyrian invasion in 2 Chronicles 32:1-22. We said that like Hezekiah, we must acknowledge the threat and respond with common sense. But going into this new year, we also need to recognise that an even greater resource is our partnership with God. Let us look at two other examples of how to respond when we are faced with overwhelming odds.
Exercise your faith in God
Faith is not only something you think, it is something you do. As the Bible says, "faith without works is dead" James 2:26b NIV. We see how King Hezekiah exercised his faith by saying and doing what he believed. In addition, he got his people thinking along the lines of faith towards God before the real trouble came. We need to be like Hezekiah and:
Confess our faith
King Hezekiah encouraged his people, "Be strong and courageous! Don't be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side!" 2 Chronicles 32:7 NLT.
He used those specific words because he was holding on to the promises of God. "Be strong and courageous" was the Lord's repeated word to Joshua in Joshua 1. "There are more with us than with him" was the prophet Elisha's declaration in 2 Kings 6:16.
Speak Biblical promises
Don't just speak nice-sounding words, but speak biblical promises because God can be trusted to keep His promises (Hebrews 10:23).
What we say helps to determine what we believe, and what we believe helps to determine how we act. Athletes visualise crossing the finish line and declare that they are going to win long before they lace up.
Confessing our faith not only helps us, but also those around us. We have to keep speaking the promises of God over the situation that we are facing because opposition to our faith is always nearby.
Hezekiah also demonstrated his faith, not only by what he said, but by what he did.
Pray in faith
Hezekiah entered into fervent prayer. After Sennacherib of Assyria sent his threats, " King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to Heaven" -2 Chronicles 32:20 NIV.
Prayer is the powerhouse of the believer's life and is a demonstration that we truly believe. We pray because we have faith. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of God's children learned to respond to all their difficulties with humility before God? When we do this in faith, God responds.
Look for God's response
What happens next in the text is nothing short of amazing - "Then the Lord sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valour, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned shamefaced to his own land. And when he had gone into the temple of his god, some of his own offspring struck him down with the sword there." 2 Chronicles 32:21 NLT. Hezekiah's enemies were miraculously slain!
According to Isaiah 37:36, prior to the death of Sennacherib, his armies suffered a severe decimation to the tune of 185,000. All of these were killed in one night by the death angel that God sent through their camp.
Recognise that the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We sometimes don't believe that God is like this anymore, but we would be wrong.
Hebrews 8:6 NLT tells us, "Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for He is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises."
So, if Hezekiah could have experienced this deliverance from God, we can expect even greater. The odds don't need to be in your favour, as long as God is. This year, let us not waste time, but rush into God and the salvation that He has for us.
I pray that as you do this, that you will witness firsthand the deliverance of God and His blessing and favour on your life. Have a great year!