I often pray with people battling heavy odds, like cancer, children’s health issues, relationship problems, addictions, emotional distress and many other issues. They all feel overwhelmed and discouraged; that the odds were stacked against them. What about you? Are you struggling against overwhelming odds today?
In 2 Chronicles 20, we find that a coalition of armies had come against King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah. It was a strong, vast army (verse 2-4) that brought a sense of terror upon the people. King Jehoshaphat realizing the seriousness of the challenge before him, cried in desperation, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do…” (verse 12). Maybe you too are saying ‘I don’t know what to do’?
However, God brought about an amazing victory for Judah. We too can learn how to find victory against overwhelming odds by looking at four responses shown by King Jehoshaphat.
1.Resolve to trust God completely in prayer:
Prayer is the greatest weapon we have as God’s children. It is the powerful key that gives us victory over oppression. A famous quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson says, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” So, when facing overwhelming odds and when you may not even feel like praying, there is only one thing to do. Keep on praying (and encourage others to intercede for you)!
Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout the land. The people responded in unison as the King cried out to God at the temple (verse 3-5). Jehoshaphat said, “Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You. …You will hear us and save us. … Our eyes are upon You.” (verses 6 -12). He was depending completely on God’s strength!
God sometimes permits staggering odds to come against us to drive us to our knees in prayer. Remember these words from the hymn, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ by Joseph Scriven.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
2. Receive a specific word for the situation
Verse 14 -17 tells us that the Prophet Jahaziel, under the anointing of God’s Spirit, began to prophesy over the situation. He said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. … stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.”
How true is the following quote I came across, although I’m not sure who penned it. It says, “What a nation needs more than anything else is not a Christian ruler in the palace, but a Christian prophet within earshot.” We need men like Jahaziel to speak to our rulers and our nations.
God has a specific prophetic word for every challenge we face; especially when overwhelming odds are against us. It can come through a scripture, a song, a sermon, a prayer, wise counsel or a prophetic word and once we receive such a specific word from God, we should hold on to it. We should not give up till the victory is final (verse 20).
3. Realize the battle is the Lord’s
In verse 17, the Prophet Jahaziel said, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.” He further emphasized “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (verse 15). Therefore, realize that the Lord is fighting for you and that the banner of ‘Jehovah Nissi’ is always over His children.
I recently heard a testimony from a lady who had been praying for a child for 19 years. She had seen every available doctor and tried everything possible to conceive. After 13 years of disappointment, she decided that she would not seek medical help any further and only trust the Lord thereafter for a miracle. Around six years later she gave birth to a son who is now in his twenties! The battle is the Lord’s.
4. Meditate on God’s unfailing love through worship
As the people of Judah began to fall down in worship before Him with a loud voice (verse 18-19), God began a mighty work. When the army went out for battle the following morning, Jehoshaphat “appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness.” (Verse 21). In fact it was this worship team, and not the battle-hardened soldiers, that were placed at the head of the army. Seeing this strange phenomenon, the enemy may have been laughing their sides out!
What were the singers focusing on? It was on a well known worship refrain that spoke about God’s enduring love and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” (Verse 21).
As the worship team sang about His unfailing love, the Lord brought disarray and confusion to the enemy’s camp. The enemy armies began to annihilate each other and an amazing victory unfolded (verse 22-23). As you stand against overwhelming odds, will you too meditate on God’s unfailing love which endures forever? He will come through for you, often in unexpected ways, for His love never fails!
As we follow the four steps shown above, God will surely give us victory against the overwhelming odds that are before us.