Against All Odds
“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.”
I Samuel 14:6
- Probability and statistics is a math class that is necessary and useful, but contrary to faith, because your flesh, the world, and the devil want you to think that even God cannot alter overwhelming odds.
- While math is true, 2 + 2 = 4, math operates in the natural realm, which God may or may not use.
- We think naturally without faith; but we must learn to think by faith, without fearing probabilities.
- Hopelessness is the result of looking and thinking by sight and math, instead of by faith and trust.
- Do not ever say yourself, and do not let any of us say … “It’s impossible” … “It can never happen” … “We have already tried that over and over” … “There are too many others trying for the same thing” … “I don’t even feel that I can pray for it” … “The odds are totally against it.”
Our need for such faith
- Getting a job often involves selection from tens, hundreds, or thousands of other applicants.
- God-fearing spouses that believe the same truth as we in such a small church are improbable!
- Admission into difficult educational programs, whether random or merit-based, is difficult.
- Correct diagnosis and treatment for physical symptoms requires many medical probabilities.
- Conceiving a child in general, but especially after failing through many cycles of ovulation.
- Selling a house can be a very difficult task depending on the economy, location, features, etc.
- Finding things you have lost can easily be frustrating and seem improbable or impossible.
- Recalling individual facts at the right time in crucial exams after studying thousands of them.
- Finding the true interpretation and application of a Bible passage without human direction.
- Seeking the conversion of an unrepentant fool that has shown little or no spiritual interest.
- Our political system involves millions of registered voters, but we must think one at a time.
Bible examples of such faith
- Jonathan gives a powerful example for two to take on a garrison of Philistines (I Sa 14:1-15).
- David, his friend, had similar faith when pursuing Goliath and his brothers (I Sam 17:40-48)!
- Asa fought against the largest army in the Bible with Jonathan’s same spirit (II Chr 14:9-12).
- Should we include Abraham taking on four kings with 318 trained servants (Genesis 14:14)?
- What about two widows who lived well against all odds (I Kings 17:8-16; II Kings 4:1-7)?
Bible examples of such events
- God reduced Gideon’s army from 32k to 10k to 300 to face an army of 135,000 (Judges 7-8)!
- A poor Moabite widow went out to glean, made several turns, and married Boaz (Ruth 2:3)!
- A poor orphan with numerous counts against her won the first Miss Universe (Esther 2:17)!
- Jacob trusted God’s economics, when dependent on good cattle begetting bad (Ge 30:25-43)!
- Barren? Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth and others conceived anyway! Believe it!
- Ahab disguised himself in war against the Lord, but a chance arrow killed him (I Kgs 22:34).
- Darius took the impregnable city of Babylon because gates were left open (Is 44:21 – 45:7).
- Experienced fishers nearly destroyed their ships trying again after a futile night (Luke 5:5-7).
- If you seek the Lord, He will get truth to you, no matter how hard (Acts 8:26-31; Jer 29:13).
- The disciples were confounded by feeding 20,000 with a small lunch (Jn 6:5-13; Ps 127:1-2).
Bible principles of such faith
- Probabilities and statistics? Listen! Our God dominates all such (Prov 16:33 cp Jonah 1:7)!
- He is the God of time and chance, and He is your God, so proceed confidently (Eccl 9:11); we use this axiom of life to proceed though inferior; we neither neglect nor depend on means.
- Devise a way in your heart, and let the Lord direct your steps against possible odds (Pr 16:9).
- God promised to overrule probabilities in favor of Israel and against her (Le 26:8; De 32:30).
- It is not by might or power, neither by math or probabilities, but by His Spirit (Zech 4:6-10).
- Produce a Harvard MBA or computer that gets increase from decrease (Pr 11:24; Eccl 11:1)!
- Faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to cast mountains into a sea (Matt 17:20; Lu 17:6)!
- God saved nations by one, and would have Sodom by ten (Jer 15:1; Ezek 14:14; Gen 18:32)!
- No matter who says the disease is fatal, hope for mercy until the baby dies (II Sam 12:15-25).
- Nothing is too hard for the LORD, from conception to conversion (Ge 18:14; Mat 19:23-26)!
- There are no accidents, so look for God’s providence for adversity or prosperity (Ex 21:13).
- God chose the “neighbour” for the Good Samaritan, so keep your eyes open (Luke 10:33).
Our examples of such events
- Do you know some of the improbable events that resulted in Titanic’s disaster? And why?
- Are you familiar with the improbable military events at Dunkirk and the Battle of Midway?
- Why did Cestius Gallus lift his siege, and Titus easily gain the city (Luke 21:20; Mat 24:22)?
- How did you hear the truth? When? By whom? TW at ordination? GKE by circuitous tapes?
- How did spouses meet? MJ & GJ? JO & RA? JC & CS? DC & MN? CN & RC? AG & KT? CC & SB? MC & ET? DK & SE? and many more!
- Are there trophies of grace of “impossible” conversions? JRC? DKE? DR? JE?
- Are there examples in the church of finding lost items? DT for KG?
- How about conceiving when barren? GD? FH? How about birth itself? SLC catching MDN?
- How about job stories? MJ and SAP training with BMW, Lockheed, etc.; EC with BB&T and Burdett; ONE with short drive at IBM; NC and a Wachovia advertisement to a brother?
- How about a family with teenagers visiting the night of a teenage exclusion?
- How about reversals of financial fortune? JO and stock options? TW and business boom?
- How about easily selling houses with numerous difficulties? DR? ONE? JRC?
Basis for overwhelming odds
- The God of probabilities, our Father, is strong for those walking with Him (II Chron 16:9).
- It is your duty to walk, or live, by faith, rather than walking or living by sight (II Cor 5:7).
- Any change should be seen as the possible unfolding of God’s blessed changing of the odds!
- Any respite or lack of change should be seen as the possible opportunity to recast your net!
For Further Study:
- Sermon Outline: Dominion of God
- Proverb Commentary: Proverbs 16:33