The Current Scene
An English historian has given an admiring account of Field Marshall Montgomery and his significant part in the defeat of Germany in World War II. In contrast the supreme commander, General Eisenhower, was an overrated warrior. Allowing for patriotic bias and the advantages of hindsight, maybe Montgomery’s plan was right to make a dash for Berlin before the Russians got there. The credit, however, would have gone to the British and it was unsuited to American pride. Nigel Hamilton, the British historian, writes, “Forty-one years have passed since Soviet troops stormed into Berlin — years in which the erstwhile Allies of the Second World War have had to live with its consequences, Nazi Germany was irrevocably defeated —but at the cost of a Communist curtain, fortified by Soviet troops. Could it, we ask ourselves, have been avoided?” This inter-allied pique so advantageous to Russia, makes it necessary to keep free Europe an armed camp.
While the armchair historian with his broader and fuller knowledge can point out blunders and their consequences, the Bible teaches us that it is God who finally decides the fate of nations. A humiliated Nebuchadnezzar’s confession is to the point, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, what doest thou?” (Dan. 4:35).
We know the American slant of the story from Ike’s grandson, David Eisenhower, married to Nixon’s daughter Julie and the parents of three children, and a graduate of law school in 1976. Coupled with a love of history and a desire to say something on behalf of his grandfather has led him to write the still uncompleted biography of the famed general and later President. He deals extensively with why the supreme commander of the Allied forces did not focus on Berlin. At Yalta the agreement was to divide Germany into three military occupation zones. Russia, with the Eastern third, included Berlin. The good fortune of the American capture of the Ramagen bridge across the Rhine saw Eisenhower 280 miles from Berlin, while two million Soviet troops were massed only 30 miles from the German capital. Churchill was for a drive east; his aim was to shake hands with the Russians as far east as possible. The English Prime Minister was already beginning to see the outline of what he later defined as “the iron curtain.” Ike saw this as political and he as a soldier saw his duty — defeat the German army. The two biographies, both true to facts but seen from different viewpoints, agree in the triumphant outcome. Such reminds us of our four Gospels, facts stated differently but the Saviour’s death and resurrection is the unequivocal message. Critics fret over the details and miss the only way of salvation. Several could witness an automobile accident, and each have a different version, but that in no way contradicts that there was an accident.
Those with insight see with alarm the United States’ trade deficits. We are importing 26 per cent less than we are exporting. The two countries that lost the last war, Germany and Japan, have won the battle for world markets. Among the several explanations for this is that the victors are strapped with military expenditures. This has allowed the conquered to engage in commercial research and development, in contrast with the energies spent in a constant modernization of weaponry. It is admitted if American wages were reduced to Japanese standards the Japanese would still have the edge because of advanced technology.
This shows how quickly prosperity can be earned by a nation that is not compelled to dissipate its wealth in armaments. We cannot wonder at people dreaming of a warless world and justice everywhere. This longed for idealism can never be when totalitarianism and aggression must be constantly matched. Yes, nations will beat their swords into plowshares. It is a matter of timing. This is man’s hour or day (Luke 22:53). The Prince of Peace has been rejected, but His day is coming when He will assert His crown rights and the nations will learn war no more.
The wide spread use of dangerous drugs has reached alarming proportions in this favored land. Two star athletes have recently died from an overdose of cocaine. This has caused the nation to investigate the extent of the problem. It threatens to become a crisis that could seriously contribute to the weakening of the moral fiber of the nation. The enormous profits gained by those who traffic in these illicit drugs make it extremely difficult to control, let alone stamp out. President Nixon succeeded in lessening the supply of opium by subsidizing the Turkish farmers who grew it. This has only shifted to the popularity of South American cocaine.
The attempts to prohibit alcohol, and now drugs, have crashed head on to the national perversity of the human heart. The desperate wickedness in every human heart (Jeremiah 17:9) is kept from being completely unleashed by our God-given common sense and restraints of society. However, just allow ourselves to indulge in stimulants and drug promoted fantasies and the possibility of being hooked is not far away. The sinful capacity of the human heart has broken through the God-given natural restraint. That which has made this breakthrough, sex, alcohol and drugs now becomes a master that few manage to conquer. Here the gospel has a better record than godless counselling.
Our souls naturally crave for something beyond ourselves; a vacuum within us that only God can fill. The Fall has distorted everything about us — the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint (Isa. 1:5). Man, having lost his fellowship with God, is prone to seek illicit thrills. “We are restless until we have found our rest in Thee.” The drug culture is one of the curses of America’s prosperity. It is ironic that the nation that enjoys the highest standard of living has the greatest number of suicides per capita and the biggest drug problem. Our prisons are overcrowded. The steady hand to hold the full cup is wanting. Those who have found their satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ know how to rightly label the soul-destroying counterfeits that promise a way out of boredom, life’s realities and a tormenting conscience. Just two verses of Scripture are all that is needed, if heeded, to immunize the believer against those temptations that carry such a terrific price tag. They are: “If sinners entice thee consent thou not” (Prov. 1:10) and, “Flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22).