War is never fun, especially when allies start to fight with one another. When Abijah was king of Judah, his neighbor, Jeroboam, King of Israel decided to take arms against him. King Jeroboam had taken away the worship of the Almighty God and had replaced it with the worship of golden calves, and this was a major sacrilege (See 2 Chron 13: 3 -9).
Both armies were now facing each other. King Abijah was facing impossible odds: his army had 400,000 able fighting men against 800,000 able enemy troops. King Jeroboam was certain he would have victory. No doubt about it! King Abijah was doomed.
Or was he?
King Abijah was undeterred, and although he was aware of the odds, it didn’t shake him at all. He knew who he trusted, and so he spoke to the opposing army, making them aware that they were no match, as Judah had not forsaken their Heavenly Father:
“As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. . . God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.” (2Chr 13:10a,12 , NIV2)
His confidence in God was unshakable. Although the circumstances were against him and his army, he knew beyond a doubt that His Father would see him through.
In the meantime, King Jeroboam had his own sneaky plans. While King Abijah was speaking, he “Had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them.” (2Chr 13:13, NIV2) He didn’t leave the outcome to chance. He would be victorious!
Too late did the army of Judah realize what was going on. “Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out to the LORD. The priests blew their trumpets” (2Chr 13:14, NIV2)
Notice though that Judah’s first reaction was to cry out to God. They depended solely on God and God honored that.
King Jeroboam could not understand what happened next. It sure made no sense to him. He had the upper hand! What had gone wrong?
“At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands.” (2Chr 13:15b,16 NIV2)
An impossible situation had turned its victory to the minority. Why? Because they solely trusted in God: “The Israelites were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their ancestors.” (2Chr 13:18, NIV2)
What about Jeroboam? “Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the LORD struck him down and he died.” (2Chr 13:20, NIV2) He thought his name would become renowned throughout the world. Instead an unexpected death took him away, way before his prime. After all, none of us lasts forever, unless we trust in our Father.
You may face grim circumstances. The odds are against you. No one can help you. You are on your own. The situation may seem desperate. If that is the case, remember King Abijah. You can trust in yourself, but so did King Jeroboam. Or you can trust solely in God, just like King Abijah. The choice is yours. The victorious outcome depends on who you decide to trust.
A couple of years ago, a team of cyclists were planning a 24-day trek through China. At a stop in Chengdu, one of the cyclists threw a chicken bone to a white mutt who seemed hungry. To that dog it was an invitation. Immediately that dog decided to put his trust in those cyclists.
They now had a companion following them. That mutt ran for 37 miles that day, all on uphill conditions. The next day, that dog kept on following them. At the end, that faithful dog had run 1,800 kilometers and had even climbed up peaks higher than 4,000 meters!
Would that dog’s trust be rewarded for his faithfulness? Absolutely! One of the cyclists adopted him, and he soon became the team mascot. Even more interesting is that this white mutt became quite popular in China, having over 82,000 followers on Weibo, a site similar to Twitter. If you know any Chinese, enjoy http://weibo.com/
If we as humans reward trust and faithfulness, how much more will God come through for us!
Now the question remains: Who will you trust?
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)