“Advantage, Hezekiah!”

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“Advantage, Nadal!”

In the sport of tennis, a player must win a game by two points. So, let’s say that Rafael Nadal is playing against Andy Murray. The score is tied 40-40 (called “deuce”) and Nadal wins the next point. At that point, the chair umpire will call out “Advantage, Nadal!” In that particular game, Nadal is considered to have the advantage because he is one point away from winning, while Murray must win three points in order to win. So, obviously, Nadal, by going ahead of Murray by one point, has the “advantage.”

In 2 Chronicles, chapter 32, we see that King Sennacherib of Assyria had invaded Judah and besieged its fortified cities with the intent of seizing them. Hezekiah, the king of Judah, seeing that Sennacherib was intending to attack Jerusalem, rebuilt the broken walls of the city, had many weapons and shields made, and gathered his army to prepare for battle. Perhaps these efforts would have given Hezekiah and his army a fighting chance against the massive Assyrian army, but when Hezekiah addressed the army of Judah, what he said showed that they did not just have a fighting chance, they had the advantage. These are Hezekiah’s words found in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (NET):

“Be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic because of the king of Assyria and this huge army that is with him! We have with us one who is stronger than those who are with him. He has with him mere human strength, but the LORD our God is with us to help us and fight our battles!”

Advantage, Hezekiah! The Assyrian army, though greater in number than that of Judah, was an army possessed with mere human strength. But on the side of the army of Judah, was the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And the Lord would be there to help Hezekiah and the army of Judah have victory over Sennacherib and the Assyrian army. Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed and cried out to the Lord, and the Lord sent a messenger to wipe out the soldiers, princes, and officers of the Assyrian army. Humiliated, Sennacherib returned home, where he was killed by some of his own sons. Hezekiah and the residents of Jerusalem were delivered from the power of their enemies and made secure on every side (2 Chronicles 32:20-22).

As followers of Christ, we have an enemy who is always looking to defeat us, to invade our lives and our families, and to separate us from God. He will do anything in his power to take us down. But just as Hezekiah and the army of Judah had an advantage over their enemies, so do we. When we have Christ in our lives, when we have surrendered our lives to Him and made a decision to follow Him, then we have the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on our side. And with the Lord on our side, the enemy cannot stand against us. With the Lord God on our side, though the enemy may try, he will not defeat us. As it says in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” We have the advantage!

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from The NET Bible® Copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. www.bible.org All rights reserved.

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