Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance. Proverbs 20:18
The armies numbered in the tens of millions. There were tens of thousands of tanks and planes. Each side was determined to wipe out the other. Few military operations in history continue to generate the interest as the war between Germany and Russia.
For a time, both sides practiced a policy of no retreat. They would stand and fight for hours, even days, nonstop, no sleep, no dinner breaks, just shooting round-the-clock. The Russians even had lines of soldiers behind the frontline troops. If any troops retreated, they were shot by their fellow Russians positioned behind them. German armies occasionally found thousands of Russian bodies that they didn’t kill . . . they were mowed down by their own soldiers when they tried to retreat. The Russians even welded the doors of the tanks shut with their troops inside so they would not be able to get out. There was no use in retreating. Their only option was to plunge ahead into the German lines.
Can you imagine how brutal such a policy was? No retreat. No withdrawal. In the end, that policy hurt both sides. The Germans lost hundreds of thousands of troops that they might not have lost if they allowed retreating and regrouping; the Russians lost millions. Neither side showed very much concern for their own troops. The Russians often left their own wounded on the battlefield to fend for themselves.
The war between Germany and Russia was mortal combat such as the world had never seen. In the end, both sides counted their casualties in the millions. It was a no-holds-barred, all-out, conquer-or-be-conquered, winner-takes-all war drama. See why this war continues to generate interest?
There is another reason why this war interests me. I see it as a type for the kind of war we are in, those of us who believe in good and evil, light and darkness, heaven and hell. We are literally in a no-holds-barred, all-out, conquer-or-be-conquered, winner-takes-all war drama. No quarter is given by the enemy. Losers face a prisoner-of-war camp . . . the Bible calls it a lake of burning sulphur for the devil and his army (Matt. 25:41).
There is no retreating in this war either. Jesus said that no man who looks back is fit for the plow. We forge ahead. In Matthew 16, he said we storm the gates of hell. We are an army on the march.
I know this makes it sound pretty dramatic. It is dramatic. Even though we may not always be conscious of the war we are in, God is always aware. The devil is also always aware. The battle costs the life of Jesus. It may cost you yours . . . but it doesn’t have to. Jesus lived and died to free us from the power of the evil one. "You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
"Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance." Fortunately, in this spiritual war we are in, we have advice and guidance from the Lord himself. As long as we continue to fight on the side of he who is "the way, the truth and the life," we will have victory.