Impossible Odds

by Barry Newton
To call it a losing streak would not do justice to Hezekiah’s record of 0 for 46. Not a single fortified city had withstood the hordes of Assyria. What reasonable person would confidently bet on encounter 47 being any different?
The Assyrian commander, who tauntingly and humiliatingly outlined Jerusalem’s dire situation, probably truthfully described the hopeless military situation when he shouted within ear shot of Jerusalem’s walls, “I will give you two thousand horses-if you can put riders on them! How then can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials?” (Isaiah 36:8,9)
The odds of this conflict going Hezekiah’s way were impossible odds.
But here’s the funny thing about impossible odds. If God is involved, what would normally be impossible can be overturned to become not only possible, but certain.
The list is long: shorter Israelites conquering taller entrenched people in fortified cities; a youth killing a battle worn giant champion; a virgin and old women giving birth; the list goes on and on.
Hezekiah prayed. God answered by proclaiming that He would deliver Jerusalem. Number 47 would be different. One hundred eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers died overnight. The Assyrian king tucked tail and went home.
So how do we view life? Are we more like king Ahaz, who felt physical resources determined the outcome since he could not wrap his head around God doing something great in the real world? Or are we more like Hezekiah, who at least eventually, fervently went to God in prayer?
There is no guarantee what God will choose to do in any specific situation. As the three Israelite boys accurately replied, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, … but even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:17-18),
If God decides to act, the odds are impossible that it will not go his way. The important question is, what will the final chapter of our personal story reveal about our faith in the Creator?

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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