HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN
by Bill Somers
Just lately we saw America at the peak of her power and influence. In the Gulf War, the United States exerted her military might on the other side of the globe. We saw decisive use of overwhelming force produce an astonishing rapid victory. What made this so astonishing were several factors.
A. The poor track record of the US Military since the 60's and our involvement in Vietnam.
B. The generally low opinion of the armed services and the Pentagon establishment.
C. the widely held expectations of a costly blood bath with high casualties.
How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished! (2 Samuel 1:27)
The Lord had given me the above verse from 2nd Samuel. in the first days the gulf war. At that point we were still quite fearful of high casualties or possible adverse outcomes of the war. The scripture came to me just before I attended a meeting of intercessors praying for our troops and Government leaders. I understood the reference to be to America. But as the war progressed, it seemed that the verse must have applied to Iraq. Yet Iraq did seem mighty at the time. And her weapons of war seemed fearsome. Yet Iraq proved to .be less than mighty and her weapons turned out to be paltry.
But now I see that this was referring to America. One purpose of the war was to show the might of America and to mark the peak of her power. This was our high point and marked the magnitude of our coming fall.
BENHADAD, KING OF SYRIA
One morning a few months after the Gulf War, my morning devotion took me to 1 Kings 20 one day.
1. And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and [there were] thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.
I worked my way into the chapter finding mostly familiar material. I had not planned on reading in that part of the bible anyway so I was ready to skip over to proverbs, when I came to verse 13.
13 And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD.
At this point the Lord showed me that here was an example of God giving a victory to a wicked nation. Israel under king Ahab was backslidden, wicked and far from God's favor. Yet he gave the victory so "Thou shalt know that I am the LORD!"
21 And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.
This example is written for us, I realized. Our 'miracle victory' in the Gulf War can in no way be seen as a sign of God's favor or approval. (It can certainly be seen as a sign that God had a hand in it.)
Later that day I meditated on the comparison to the Gulf War. The US as Israel, and Iraq as Syria was the analogy clearly established in my mind. As I considered this, I got a second revelation that shook me to the core. I remembered what happened in the rest of the Chapter! And the word of Judgment pronounced against Israel and King Ahab in the end!
28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD [is] God of the hills, but he [is] not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
Here the Lord gave Israel a victory not because they called on him but because of the Syrians actions. The Syrians made the war a contest between their gods and the God of Israel!
Now recall that Saddam Hussein made a great public show, on world wide television, of prayer to Allah! That he called for Jihad, or Holy War, and counted on Allah for victory!
President Bush had Billy Graham come into the White House to pray. And he issued a proclamation of prayer after the manner of Abraham Lincoln.
Once again the war was a contest between the God of Israel and false religion. And once again God gave the victory to a wicked, backslidden nation: America.
29 And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And [so] it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousandfootmen in one day. But Benhadad of Syria escaped from the battle and pled for mercy.
32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me live
34... Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
(Our leadership in the Gulf War allowed the Iraqi army to slip from the trap and still permits Hussein to remain in power.)
But the Lord was angry and sent the prophet again.
38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of [thy] hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.
And so this is another word of judgment for us as well.
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