Rematch defined, is a repeated contest staged between the same opponents or teams which played a previous contest. This is real, especially in soccer during some special tournaments which involve knockout. Being the best in the first leg is not a declaration of victory, for a rematch could prove too much. What does history have for us?
Barcelona Purnishing PSG
Paris Saint-Germain can understand this well as they continue healing from the deadly wound they sustained from the Catalans in March 2017. FC Barcelona came from a 4-0 loss to PSG in the first leg to a magnanimous 6-1 second-leg victory and knocked them out. A rematch could be disastrous if it meets slothfulness and unpreparedness. Anyone keen on victory must be keen on the rematch. I can’t put it any better than Bradley:
“When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him, he will win“. – Bill Bradley
King Ahab’s Experience
Ben-Hadad, the King of Assyria, was the dean of conquest at the time when Ahab was administering the Kingdom of Israel. At this time, as was often done to the vassal states, Ben-Hadad besieged Samaria and sent his emissaries into the city with a threefold declaration: “Your silver and gold is mine; your loveliest wives and children are mine.” Ahab accented to this condescending and vilifying request. As if this was not enough, Ben-Hadad made even a more threatening request, “Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.”
The first request that King Ahab accepted was not easy, especially concerning the taking of his loveliest wives and children. The glory of any man is derived from the confidence level that his woman and children have in him. Accepting to let them go was so humbling to the King. It was a tough decision, as the Luo saying goes, ‘ng’ama oloyi oloyi’ (loosely translated as he who is stronger than you is stronger than you). But a demand to search and take whatever is good meant a complete overhaul. No one accepts that. It was a recipe for disaster. With back up from the elders and a prophet of God, Ahab disciplined his troops and overtook a drunken king of Assyria and wrought a conspicuous victory. It’s then that a great warning follows. A warning that all powerful people must learn to abide by. What is it?
“And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.”KJV 1 Kings 20:22
Ahab must not celebrate today’s victory for too long. He must get ready for the rematch. During the first leg, the King of Assyria was drunk and lost in revelry. He may come back endowed with sobriety and prove firm and solid. A new preparation was therefore needed, for indeed, the King of Assyria came as expected. The second match was even so severe as the Israelites slew 100,000 footmen in one day, as 27,000 were destroyed by a wall. They were more prepared for the rematch than for the first leg.
The Temptation of Jesus
After His baptism in the River Jordan, Christ began His forty-day-long fast in the wilderness. A series of invitations to distrust, disobey and forsake God was presented before Him, but all these fell like harmless arrows. He could not betray a sacred trust, for upon His fidelity depended the future of a fallen World. He had begun plotting the graph of victory against the great enemy of God and man. Then follows a course we must never forget.
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.KJV Luke 4:13
The devil departed for a season. At a convenient time, he would come with more severe temptations. Aware of the enemy lurking nigh, Christ had a life of constant prayer and meditation on the promises of God. None of us will ever be called to fight the battle of the ages under circumstances more unfavourable than Jesus’. Every device of hell was against Him. The final duel was wedged on Calvary. If pain could make someone stifle conviction, Christ was that person. During the night of His passion in Gethsemane, the fate of humanity was trembling on balance. He could as well change His mind. The devil took advantage of this and presented reasons for leaving the fallen man to bear His own cross. The enemy magnified the rebellion and ungratefulness of the humanity who were busy planning His funeral. One of the disciples had consented to betray Him, and the rest would forsake Him and betray him. Those who professed religion were at the forefront in enmity towards Him. This was terribly heartbreaking. But He consented to die for us. He gave Himself out of volition. At Calvary, the unfallen angels were fully convinced of the truthfulness and love of God. The devil was fully exposed as a murderer, never more to secure the sympathy of the unfallen world. Calvary remains an argument that the devil cannot win. Because Christ prepared for the rematch, we can face the judgement without fear, for unto us, eternal victory has been won.
Our Case Is Not Different.
Our case is not different. We may be enjoying a rich inheritance of faith from careful parentage. We may be plotting a graph of victory against the lusts of the flesh. We may be holding a record of absolute faithfulness in Tithes and offerings. We may be celebrating our complete fidelity in our matrimonial union or relationships. We must prepare for the rematch as we celebrate all these and many more. We may have won the first leg because of home advantage, but we may not be too sure of the rematch. And remember, life has no away goal advantage. We have to say no to any tendency to complacency. Our Spiritual life will only be safe if we are always ready for a rematch.
The faithfulness for the past year will never atone for the neglect of the present year. A man’s truthfulness yesterday will not atone for his falsehood today.– 5T 63.3