Summary: God sent a letter through Jeremiah to the captives in Babylon telling them that he still had plans and a welfare for them.He would still bring them out. When God has plans for you he can overcome all odds against us in life.
Against All Odds
Have you ever experienced the odds against you? It’s not easy when the odds are against you in any field of endeavor. When I graduated from college in 1949 with a major in accounting the odds of me finding a job in the accounting field were against me.
So I had to find something else. When I was in the third grade my teacher told me to learn my multiplication table so I could grow up to be a ditch digger or an elevator operator. She knew the odds were against me as a poor black boy from North Philadelphia. Although the odds were against me I was determined to be more than a ditch digger or an elevator operator. Not that they weren’t honorable jobs. But I believed that some how I could do better than that despite all the odds against me.
The elementary school I attended was right down the street from Temple University. I said to myself that I’m going there someday. My father and mother had never seen the inside of a college. But I said to myself, I’m going there someday. I didn’t know how or when. But I was determined to go there someday.
It’s not easy to succeed at anything when the odds are against you, when you have to overcome obstacles in the way, when you have to leap over high walls, and when you have to swim against the tide. What do you do when the odds are against you?
Back in the book of Jeremiah, the people of Israel faced a situation where all the odds were against them. They had been carried off into captivity into Babylon. They were among a strange people in a strange land. They were so distraught that one of the Psalms has them saying, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.?” You don’t feel like singing when all the odds are against you.
When my first wife died in 1987 I felt like I was in a strange land. I felt as if all odds were against me. Despite it all I didn’t feel like singing because it seemed as if all the odds were against me.
The Jewish people were far away from the towering hills of the city of Jerusalem. They were far away from the friendly confines of the temple where they had worshipped time and time again. No longer could they look to the walls of the city for the protection they had depended on for a long time. In this strange land all the odds were against them. How could they adjust to their new situation? Their very spirits had been crushed by the cruel defeat they had suffered.
But when all the odds were against them there came a letter from the prophet Jeremiah with a message from God. God did not minimize the situation they were in. Their captivity would last for 70 long years. God told them not to listen to those who said there would only be a brief captivity. God told them it was going to be long and hard.
But God told them he hadn’t forgotten them. “I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare, not for your harm, plans for a hope and a bright future for you.”
God said when the time comes I’m going to bring you out. In the end I have good plans for you. Your troubles will not last forever. Although all odds are against you now, I will still bring you through. The lesson here is this: God’s plan for us overcomes all odds against us. God’s plan is greater than all the odds against you. We see this enacted time after time in Scripture.
God had a plan and a purpose for Joseph. Joseph even received a hint of God’s plan in his dreams. God’s plan was that Joseph would save his family from starvation when he became second in power to Pharoah in Egypt. But the odds were against it.
When his brothers in a fit of jealousy beat him and dumped him in a pit all the odds were against him. When he was sold into captivity in Egypt all the odds were against him. When he was falsely accused by his master’s wife all the odds were against him. When he was cast into prison all the odds were against him.
But Joseph came through against all odds. God’s plan for Joseph was fulfilled when he was brought from a pit and a prison and elevated to a place in the palace. God’s plans are greater than all the odds against you.
The odds were against Moses bringing a rebellious people out of Egypt. But God’s plans can overcome all odds. The odds were against the people as they faced the turbulent sea before them and felt the hot breath of the Egyptian pursuers behind them. But God’s plans can overcome all odds against you.