Against the Odds

by Gary W. Summers

What war tactic has usually proven successful? The ambush. Joshua had used it, at God's instruction, with great success in the second attack on Ai. Once the men of that city were lured out into the open, by what they undoubtedly considered would be another rout of Israel, they were hemmed in on both sides. All the people of Ai were killed (Joshua 8:26).

In II Chronicles 13, Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, was facing the experienced king Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. He does not seem worried, however; in fact, he is confident of victory. No, he is neither an optimist nor someone who is depending on his feelings or a hunch.

The basis for his assurance of victory is something liberals and "grace only" advocates would never understand — obedient faith. Abijah tells Jeroboam in advance why Israel will be defeated:

"And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD, which is in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and with you are the gold calves which Jeroboam made for you as gods. Have you not cast out the priests of the LORD, ... and made for yourselves priests, ... of things that are not gods? But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him; and the priests who minister to the LORD are the sons of Aaron" (II Chronicles 13.8-10).

He also added: "Now look, God Himself is with us as our head" (II Chronicles 13:12). Jeroboam, however, tried an ambush, but even with 400,000 in front of Abijah's 400,000 and 400,000 behind them, he could not win; he suffered the loss of 500,000 men in the battle.

Abijah's trust in God was more than sufficient to conquer an army of superior numbers. The king's faith was not misplaced, nor did it go unrewarded. Abijah knew that God would be with them in the battle.

We face an enemy that outnumbers us, too. The devil and his emissaries know several excellent strategies. But when we fight the Lord's battles (whether large or small), we too can be confident of victory. Those on the side of God and Truth always win.