General Vladimir Sukhomlinov was the Russian Minister of War from 1909-1915. He was a cavalry officer and a war hero during Russia’s war with Turkey in the 1870s. Unfortunately, Sukhomlinov decided that he knew everything that there was to know about warfare. His decorations, record and position bolstered his self-importance despite the fact that Russia lost territory and huge numbers of dead and wounded to the Japanese from 1904-1905.
Prior to World War I, General Sukhomlinov thwarted any attempts towards military transformation. He refused to implement lessons learned from fighting an enemy that for the first time utilized machine guns and rapid-fire artillery. The reason for this was stunning. “He was extremely proud of the fact that he did nothing to expand or increase his knowledge.” He fired people for teaching fresh theories and prevented upgrading equipment. He refused reforms because changes in army operating principles would mean that he was mistaken. Consequently, an army twice the size the Germans fielded was decimated by poor tactics, equipment shortages, and awful leadership.
John 12:9-11—Then a large crowd of the Jews learned He was there. They came not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus the one He had raised from the dead. Therefore the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus also because he was the reason many of the Jews were deserting them and believing in Jesus.
Jesus’ most incredible miracle undoubtedly was the raising of Lazarus to life four days after he died! You would think that this sign would have caused the Jewish religious leaders to seriously relook their opposition and animosity towards Jesus. But rather than consider that He might actually be the Messiah, instead, the opposite occurred. With hard hearts they determined to kill Jesus andLazarus. They chose their natural over God’s supernatural because they preferred power and recognition over salvation.
Pride is the usual cause of atrocious leadership. Beware of leaders who glorify the past and their traditions at the expense of progress. Despots are intimidated by those with better intellect or skills and will not tolerate them. Run from authorities who refuse to learn. Envy creates spiritual blindness and the cost is staggering. Murder becomes justified. Corrupt tyrants swallow the well-intentioned while spitting out pious-sounding dogma. “If we let Him continue in this way, everyone will believe in Him! Then the Romans will come and remove both our place and our nation” (11:48).
Vladimir and the chief priests ate at Pride’s Table and led the way to hell. How fortunate are those who in humility find God’s Son, believe and gain heaven.
As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.—C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
©2015 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
David Schroeder in Business In The Trenches, © 2011, pp. 119,120.