Underestimating the Enemy

Useless speculations don’t make a strategy

Image by Special:Contributions/Saul ip, Wikimedia Commons under CCA-SA license

I read a really superficial “news” commentary recently.  The Washington Post put out a piece of fluff called “How scary is Putin’s Russia compared to the Soviet Union? This chart has some answers“.  I am glad that author Adam Taylor is not a federal military strategist.  He is even frank at admitting “Here’s what the numbers say”, which already should be a red flag that nothing meaningful follows.

The numbers?  Are wars won on numbers?  Wasn’t that the problem that ancient Israel and ancient Judah often had?  They trusted in their own might, their own strength, and they forgot from Whom their real strength came from!

In addition, history is full of tales of smaller forces taking on larger ones, often to a draw and sometimes even to a victory.  Strategy is not about numbers.

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:

(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. …

This is not merely the general’s ability to estimate numbers correctly, as Li Ch`uan and others make out. Chang Yu expounds the saying more satisfactorily: “By applying the art of war, it is possible with a lesser force to defeat a greater, and vice versa. The secret lies in an eye for locality, and in not letting the right moment slip. Thus Wu Tzu says: ‘With a superior force, make for easy ground; with an inferior one, make for difficult ground.'”

Sun Tzu, available at http://suntzusaid.com/book/3

Before WWII, who had the most numbers?  The Axis or the Allies?  Remember, the Allies were dragged into the war, so even some common sense will tell you who had ramped up production and started out ahead.

It was the qualitative superiority of the German infantry divisions and the number of their armoured divisions that made the difference in 1939. The firepower of a German infantry division far exceeded that of a French, British, or Polish division; the standard German division included 442 machine guns, 135 mortars, 72 antitank guns, and 24 howitzers. Allied divisions had a firepower only slightly greater than that of World War I. Germany had six armoured divisions in September 1939; the Allies, though they had a large number of tanks, had no armoured divisions at that time.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Forces and resources of the European combatants, 1939

Yeah, the Allies had more tanks but no one to work them!  This points out that not only are numbers are deceptive, but as is often the case in many businesses, the numbers often count the wrong things!

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call.

Ps 20:7-9

Who Determines the Outcome of War?

Remember the Exodus?  Which of the Israelites had to fight and die for their independence?  Not a one!  God fought for their independence!  Even when Pharaoh chased after Israel because he believed they were pinned against the Red Sea, what did God say to Israel?

14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Ex 14:14

And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.

Jos 23:3

Even when we ourselves must fight, Who gives us the strength?  Who gives us the victory?  It still should be clear that God fights for us!

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isa 40:28-31

Our Battles

You know, this is important for us to understand.

“Why?” you may be asking.  “After all, we are not going to run out and join the military right now.”

Ancient Israel was a physical type of a spiritual reality.  Physical Israel had physical enemies, but we, hopefully, realize that the real enemy is spiritual.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ep 6:12

Can we physical humans win against such power and such odds?  No, we alone cannot.  However, “with God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).

Our response to this knowledge should be obvious: Draw close to God!  We cannot win the battle or the war without Him!

The tools should be just as obvious.  We need to stay with daily Bible study, daily prayer and daily meditation.  We also need to do occasional fasting.  Finally, we need to repent as soon as we mess up, for it is our sins that pushes us away from God (Isa 59:2).

Comments are closed.