Friday, September 20, 2019

The Art of Deception

       After the devastating defeat by the Rebel Army at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, the Federal Army was in disarray.  Something needed to be done to boost morale, and turn an ill equipped, under trained mob, called the Army of the Potomac, into an effective fighting force.  In stepped George McClellan.  McClellan was a genius at organization, training, and morale building.  He was just what the fledgling Union Army needed.  However, General McClellan, now commander of the entire Army of the Potomac, had one major, fatal flaw.   He was easily intimidated by the Rebel Army.  As the General in Chief of all the Union armies, the forces under his command rarely possessed less than a 2 to 1 advantage, sometimes numbering as many as 5 to 1 advantage over the Confederate forces he faced.  In spite of such overwhelming military superiority on the battlefield, McClellan's leadership style was marked by excessive caution, timidity, and a  reluctance to take initiative.

 During the Peninsular Campaign, McClellan refused to attack a much smaller Confederate force at Yorktown, even though his men and equipment vastly outnumbered the enemy.  He always wildly imagined the enemy as having three times the superiority of his own troops.  One of his fellow officers once commented on his commander's decision making during such battles said, "he is either a coward or a traitor."

Rebel commanders, knowing of McClellan's fearful nature took full tactical advantage.  Outside of Yorktown, Confederate General John B. Magruder had his small force of men march around in a circle, in and out of a clearing, creating the impression to McClellan of a mighty Rebel host.  McClellan in line with his nature, panicked and refused to attack.  Many a man and many a battle were lost because of his paralyzing fear.   Most Civil War historians believe the war could have ended much earlier had it not been for McClellan's lack of bold, brave initiative.

 I wonder, how many Christians have likewise been so intimated by the World and the Enemy of our souls?  How many victorious opportunities have we missed, because we like McClellan, were deceived by the Enemy?  Have you and I also been guilty of imagining the devil as a much greater, more formidable force than our Lord?  Yes, it is true that we battle strong, wicked, spiritual enemies. "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."  1 Peter 5:8
But we must not forget that we don't just serve a little God, but we serve the Lord God Almighty, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  He is the LION of Judah, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  "And at His name, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord."... Even the devil.  Romans 14:11

We are members of a mighty host, never forget that.   We, without question, far out gun any demonic force that is sent against the Church.  God is looking for more bold and brave sons and daughters, to run fearlessly into the Kingdom of Darkness with the bright banner of Christ.  Let not the timidity and lack of initiative that plagued McClellan become the trademark of this generation of believers.  For our Heavenly Commander in Chief has given us this battle cry, "The wicked flee when no man pursues him, but the righteous are bold as a lion."  Proverbs 28:1

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