I have just finished reading Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell. It was an eyeopening book.
As most of us realize, the Battle of Waterloo was a history changing battle for all of Western Civilization. Its biggest consequence was that most of our nations ended up being republics and democracies rather than empires and dictatorships.
Yet, the battle itself was marked by terrible mistakes by both France and Great Britain and its allies. Any of these mistakes could have made the difference in the battle if they had not occurred.
For instance, the Duke of Wellington overlooked France’s advance on British lines. Because of this, he and his staff attended a ball the night before the battle in Brussels. Many of these men fought the next day in their dancing sandals and their best outfits instead of boots and soldiers’ uniforms.
Napoleon, on the other hand, could have kept on marching right through the British lines while Wellington was dancing, but stopped for the night. He then delayed his battle plans the next morning for over four hours because the ground was wet. This delay allowed the Prussians to arrive on the scene later in the day to help gain the victory for the allies.
Also, Napoleon’s orders to his generals were so garbled that his leaders failed to act in a timely fashion. Each of his two top leaders could have turned the tide for the French if they had understood the orders.
But one thing the Duke of Wellington did do: he stayed with his strength, which was a defensive strategy. He knew Napoleon was an offensive strategist. So, he waited at the top of a ridge, forcing the French to attack across a wet, soggy field and then up a hill into his strength.
When Napoleon sent his best soldiers – the Old Guard – into the battle. The unbeaten French soldiers marched up to the top of the ridge to face a disastrous surprise. Wellington had kept his best soldiers hidden behind the ridge, lying on the ground, and out of sight. The British soldiers rose up when the French were 25-30 paces away and fired volley after volley into the French soldiers. It turned into a slaughter and the French fled the battlefield.
“A plan seldom survives first contact with the enemy. A plan is basically good intentions. The key question is not ‘Do you have a plan?’ The question is ‘…Can you take the plan and adapt it to the situation on the ground, no matter the situation?’ (Excerpt from Planning + Preparation = Survival by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)
Like Great Britain and its allies at the Battle of Waterloo, America and its leaders will make errors, some of them big ones, but we need to hold on to our strength in the days ahead, which is God.
My prayer today:
Lord, help us American believers to humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways so that You will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. (Based on 2 Chronicles 7:14)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.