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crowdofpeopleOften in life, it seems that we face situations where the numbers are not in our favor. Circumstances, people, statistics, time, etc., can all seem to be working against us. Feeling outnumbered, alone, and isolated can breed all kinds of misery, including hopelessness, self-pity, and despair. In these cases, it is vital to remember that God is the supreme difference maker!

Never forget that God + One = A Majority!

We know that one of the purposes of Scripture is to instruct and encourage us, so let’s consider where others found themselves on the short end of the stick, and yet God worked mightily in their favor:

ISRAEL was not chosen by God because of how numerous or powerful they were. Consider God’s statement to his people in Deuteronomy 7:6-8.

For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

The Israelites often found themselves outnumbered, but they repeatedly learned that God was more than sufficient to put them over!

GIDEON had a significant inferiority complex, as is expressed in his statement, “How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family” (Judges 6:15). When God led Gideon to establish an army, God told Gideon they had too many soldiers. “The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength’” (Judges 7:2).

At God’s direction, the number of Gideon’s soldiers went from 32,000 to 10,000 to 300. While many would consider such a decline terrifying, it did not bother God at all; he wanted to make sure that he received the glory for the victory that was forthcoming. God was not hindered by a larger Midianite army or by a smaller Israelite force. God said, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home” (Judges 7:7). God gave Gideon and his men victory, even though they were highly outnumbered and naturally speaking, the odds were not in their favor.

DAVID wrote Psalm 142 from a cave, not from a palace. He felt trapped and was overwhelmed. He writes, “There is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul” (Ps. 142:4). There were more people persecuting and pursuing David than were trying to help and assist him, and he felt the weight of this. In spite of how he felt, David’s gaze of faith pierced the heaviness of feeling alone and outnumbered, and he concluded his journal entry with these words: “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise your name; The righteous shall surround me, for you shall deal bountifully with me” (Ps. 142:7).

JONATHAN, son of Saul, is another believer who transcended the odds. When he saw a Philistine garrison, he said to his armor bearer, “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans. Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few! (1 Sam. 14:6). Jonathan’s faith was rewarded, and he and his armor bearer defeated twenty Philistine soldiers with God’s help.

ELISHA and his servant were in a town, surrounded by the Syrian army. When the servant saw the large army, his reaction was one of panic. Elisha calmly responds,

“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:16-17).

Scripture doesn’t indicate that Elisha himself was literally able to “see” the enormous spiritual army that was protecting him, but he was certainly not moved by the natural army that was arrayed against him. At the very least, Elisha embraced by faith the same principle that Paul would articulate centuries later: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

HEZEKIAH was the king of Israel when the Assyrians invaded Judah. This foreign army had conquered others towns, and then set their sites on Jerusalem. The king and his people took natural precautions, but then Hezekiah spoke the following word of encouragement to his people:

Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people (2 Chron. 32:7-8).

Because of the goodness and faithfulness of God, and because of Hezekiah’s spirit of faith, Jerusalem was spared and God was glorified in the victory.

THE SICK MAN in John’s Gospel felt disadvantaged because he didn’t have the people necessary to help him. When asked by Jesus if he wanted to be well, he responds, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me” (John 5:7). Isn’t that interesting? He claims he has “no man” while “The Man of All Men” is standing right in front of him. How often is it that we fail to see a mighty Divine Resource that is right in front of us because we are focused on a lack of human resources. Fortunately, he responded and cooperated when Jesus tells him, “Take up your bed and walk” (John 5:8).

PAUL notes a particularly tough time when he was abandoned by others; it was really a time when he needed others the most. In his final imprisonment he writes, “all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Tim. 1:15). A few chapters later, he remarks, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them” (2 Tim. 4:16). Paul was standing against the entire Roman legal system, and in the natural, he was totally outnumbered. And yet he then boldly states:

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! (2 Tim. 4:17-18).

Paul was aware of the absence of supporting friends, but he was even more aware of the “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24) and the one who went on record, saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). The Amplified renders that verse, “God himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!”

Are you outnumbered in some way? Let me encourage you to wholeheartedly trust God. Are the odds not in your favor? Remember that God is the supreme difference maker, and He is on your side. Remember the following:

Jesus had a relatively small band of followers, but those twelve ended up changing and radically impacting the world.

Jesus says that the “least among you all will be great” (Luke 9:48).

Jesus indicates that being “faithful in what is least” is a key to being entrusted with greater things (Luke 16:10).

The church in Philadelphia just had “a little strength,” but Jesus set before them an open door that no one could shut (Rev. 3:8).

Paul said that he was “the least of the apostles (1 Cor. 15:9), and yet, look what God did with him!

Always remember, the Greater One is in you, for you, and with you. He undergirds you, goes before you, and hovers over you. With him, you will go over.



Copyright © Tony Cooke Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tony Cooke
Web site: Tony Cooke Ministries
 
Since 2002, Tony and Lisa have traveled full-time with an assignment of “Strengthening Churches and Leaders.” Tony’s passion for teaching the Bible has taken him to forty-six states and twenty-six nations. Tony, and Lisa reside in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and are the parents of two adult children, Laura and Andrew.
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