When Facing Impossible Odds
Facing insurmountable obstacles and the looming possibility of defeat can be daunting. In these moments, our faith and resilience are put to the test. But when the odds seem impossible, our best response is to seek the Lord, await His guidance, and act upon His strategy with faith, for with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37 (NKJV) We draw this lesson from an episode in the life of King Jehoshaphat as told in the biblical book of 2 Chronicles 20. His story teaches us that keeping up our courage and faith in God, as echoed by Paul in Acts 27:25, ensures that things will happen just as God promised.
The Imminent Threat
King Jehoshaphat found himself in a terrifying situation. The alarming news came to him: “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (En Gedi). This threat posed an existential crisis to Judah, promising destruction if God did not intervene.
- Will There be a Physical Battle in America?
- A Time for Choosing. America Under Attack? A Prophetic Warning
- This is an Act War! Has World War III Begun? Is this the Mark of the Beast?
- A time for war? Spiritual warfare
Jehoshaphat’s Response: Seeking the Lord
Instead of succumbing to fear, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord. He led his people in prayer, fasting, and collective seeking of divine guidance. He pleaded with God, taking refuge in God, acknowledging His sovereignty, His historical acts of salvation, and His ability to save them from the looming disaster.
His prayer was not a mere soliloquy but a faith-filled dialogue with God. He humbly confessed, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Jehoshaphat was not only admitting his inadequacy but also declaring his absolute trust in God’s capability.
God’s Response: A Divine Strategy
In answer to the earnest prayer, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, a Levite, who relayed God’s message to the anxious assembly. The divine strategy was straightforward: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
God assured them of His presence and declared that they would not need to fight this battle themselves. All they needed to do was to stand firm, hold their positions, and witness God’s deliverance.
Walking in Faith: God’s Unconventional Warfare
Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah responded in faith. They put their trust in God’s prophets and his divine plan, setting out to meet the enemy not with weapons, but with praise and worship, singing: “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”
We Can Trust the Lord at all Times.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
- Psalm 37:5 (NIV) – “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this.”
- Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV) – “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
- Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) – “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
- Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) – “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
- Matthew 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
This unconventional approach to warfare was a profound demonstration of trust in God’s word. As they began to sing and praise, God set ambushes against their enemies, leading to their defeat. The enemy forces turned against each other, and by the time the men of Judah arrived, all they saw were dead bodies. The threat was neutralized, not by their might, but by their faith in God and obedience to His command.
This God wisdom is so important because often when we are facing an enemy where we have, in our own strength, impossible odds, we seldom feel like praising God, yet it is singing praises to our God that ignites the hearts of God’s angels, who do His will, to defeat our enemy.
I wonder how many battles we might have lost because “we failed to walk onto the field of praise” as Kevin Prosch wrote in his song Kiss the Son, on his Reckless Mercy album. What is important, that though Kevin was facing impossible odds, and he could not find the strength to praise the Lord, he did “bow down and Kiss the Son, Jesus” Psalms 2:12 (KJV) It is always about Jesus, our great Shephard, Who we seeking to lead us through the battle. “My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. We do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:38-39
The Spoils and Thanksgiving
When God grants victory, it often comes with spoils. The men of Judah found a vast amount of equipment, clothing, and valuable articles left by their defeated enemies—so much that it took three days to gather.
It is essential not just to seek God in crisis but also to thank Him for the victories. Jehoshaphat led his people back to Jerusalem in joyful procession, praising God with music, and giving Him the glory for their triumph. This gratitude-filled celebration not only honored God but also made a powerful statement to the surrounding kingdoms about the might of the God of Israel.
Valuable Lessons We Have Learned from Jehoshaphat’s Story
- Seek God First: The very first reaction of Jehoshaphat to the threat was to seek the Lord. In our times of crisis, we must remember to turn to God before we make any decisions or take any actions. His wisdom and perspective are far beyond our human understanding.
- Acknowledge our Dependence on God: Jehoshaphat admitted his inadequacy and vulnerability, acknowledging God’s power and supremacy. This humble admission is something we should mirror in our lives. We must recognize that we cannot navigate our struggles on our own and that we need God’s strength and guidance.
- Embrace God’s Strategy: The Lord provided a divine strategy that defied human logic: to confront a vast army with a choir. This illustrates that God’s ways are not our ways. We must be willing to embrace God’s strategies, even when they don’t make sense to us.
- Act in Faith: Jehoshaphat and his people did not just hear the Word of the Lord, but they also acted upon it in faith. It is one thing to hear God’s Word and another to take action based on it. The men of Judah went into what seemed like a battlefield with praises on their lips, demonstrating their absolute trust in God’s promise of victory.
- Give Thanks to God: Following the victory, Jehoshaphat led his people in thanksgiving and praise to God. We must remember to give thanks to God not just in times of victory but also throughout our journey of faith. Thanksgiving shifts our focus from our circumstances to God’s goodness and faithfulness.
So when you face impossible odds, remember Jehoshaphat’s example. Seek the Lord, trust in His plan, act in faith, and don’t forget to offer your thanks and praise. This story reminds us that when we trust in God, we may face battles, but we won’t fight them alone, and we can trust in His promise of victory.
Scripture Reference in the article:
- 2 Chronicles 20 – This entire text is a narrative exploration of the story of King Jehoshaphat, primarily based on the events recorded in the 20th chapter of the second book of Chronicles.
- Acts 27:25 – The mention of Paul’s courage and faith in God refers to this verse, “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
- Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 37:5, Psalm 56:3-4, Isaiah 26:3, and Jeremiah 17:7-8 – These are references to various Bible verses emphasizing trust in the Lord.
- Psalms 2:12 (KJV) – The phrase “Kiss the Son” comes from this verse, which says: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
- Hebrews 10:38-39 – “My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. We do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”