[forthright] Impossible Odds

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 08:05:41 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

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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