Paul Daley (author of Beersheba, mentioned in an earlier post) wrote an interesting historical account of the Beersheba charge in today’s Guardian, which includes the following observation:
The charge, coincidentally, narrowly preceded the British war cabinet’s proclamation of the Balfour declaration in support of a Jewish state in Palestine. Such was the alignment of these pivotal moments in Middle East – and global – history that some evangelists and Christian Zionists have claimed that the light horsemen were somehow doing “God’s work” in re-establishing a Jewish homeland, as biblically prophesied.
This has always seemed utterly fanciful to me. While some horsemen certainly knew of the places they were traversing (Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem) from the Bible, there was nothing to suggest in the hundreds of letters and diaries I’ve read that any saw themselves as actively doing God’s work.
I find Daley’s view expressed in the above quote is extremely naïve.
It doesn’t surprise me that the participants would have no idea of what role they may have been playing in God’s purposes and their ignorance of it can’t be offered as evidence of the claim’s lack of validity. Man’s knowledge and complicity aren’t determining factors of truth.
Mankind increasingly sees history in political and cultural terms, driven only by man’s decisions and actions, that the future is in our own hands, governed by our own choices. Any thought of God or any Divine intentions are mostly ignored or ridiculed.
Even many who acknowledge God’s reality tend to sideline Him, making God more of a spectator than someone with an active interest in His creation. They overlook the possibility that he may actual have a very defined purpose in mind for this world and its inhabitants, and that man’s actions will not and can not change that ultimate purpose. Instead, God is more than capable of using any of mankind’s actions (including the evils of war) to move towards His purposes being realised.
As I wrote elsewhere:.
God did not cause or ordain those acts, but He was more than able to USE those acts to further His purposes. He is more than willing to give mankind over to the consequences of our own choices, and will even give us a helping hand in achieving or obtaining what we’ve chosen in place of Him. (refer Romans 1:24-32 and 2 Thess 2:11-12)
What mankind meant for evil, God could turn around for His good, to move a few steps towards the fulfilment of His eternal plans.
For my New Zealander friends, the NZ part of the ANZACs can not be forgotten. They played a pivotal role in making the Light Horse charge possible, wiping out the machine guns that could have cut the charging horses and men apart before they reached their destination.
On the centenary of the charge at Beersheba, I thought it was appropriate to reblog this post from 2 years ago.
On 31st October 1917, the Australian Light Horse played a significant role in the capture of Beersheba from Turkish Ottoman control. Paul Daley looks at a variety of views of the Beersheba battle and the Light Horse charge in his book Beersheba. The book’s subtitle “A journey through Australia’s forgotten war”, reflects the general national ignorance of this part of Australian military history.
The final assault leading to the capture of the small town and its wells was an unorthodox horseback charge across open ground towards the Turkish defensive trenches. A charge of that type was not the usual Light Horse tactic. They generally acted as horse born infantry, riding to a battleground, where they dismounted, leaving their horses in the care of a designated handler, and then acted as infantry on foot.
In the charge at Beersheba they remained mounted, and relied on their horses to get them…
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31 October 2017 is the centenary of the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba. An event that seems to have been pushed aside in historical memory and yet it could be one of the most important military victories in WWI.
The defeat of the Ottoman troops in Beersheba set in motion events that led to the freeing of Palestine from centuries of Ottoman (Islamic) control and paved the path for events a little over three decades later: the re-establishment of Israel in the land promised by God.
See this post from 2015
Australian Light Horse Statue – Beersheba
From Baghdad Burning blog, Sunday, September 11, 2005
It has been four years today. How does it feel four years later?
For the 3,000 victims in America, more than 100,000 have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands of others are being detained for interrogation and torture. Our homes have been raided, our cities are constantly being bombed and Iraq has fallen back decades, and for several years to come we will suffer under the influence of the extremism we didn’t know prior to the war.
As I write this, Tel Afar, a small place north of Mosul, is being bombed. Dozens of people are going to be buried under their homes in the dead of the night. Their water and electricity have been cut off for days. It doesn’t seem to matter much though because they don’t live in a wonderful skyscraper in a glamorous city. They are, quite simply, farmers and herders not worth a second thought.
Four years later and the War on Terror (or is it the War of Terror?) has been won:
Al-Qaeda – 3,000
America – 100,000+
(After clicking on the link, scroll down to post from 11 Sept)