June 29: 26 Sivan
It was on this day in 1942 that the German army was defeated at the battle of El Alamein in northern Africa. With the defeat of the Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel, the greatest threat, at that point in time, to the Jewish people who were living in the Holy Land, was eliminated. Ironically, the turning point of the campaign in north Africa came just one day short of the first anniversary of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Sadly, that invasion into Russia led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish people.
On one hand we see the enemy defeated resulting in the salvation of many. On the other hand, that same enemy makes gains that leads to the death of so many others. When we look at this from a spiritual point of view, trying to make sense of it can be a challenge. Why are some saved and others not?
If the Nazis had been successful at El Alamein, history would have been written quite differently, especially for those Jewish people living in the Holy Land. Yet, things didn’t turn out well for those Jews who lived in Nazi occupied areas of the Soviet Union. Considering that so many people died in that scenario, what do we say to situations like that? What Bible verse can we read that would help us understand why such destruction and devastation was allowed? Here are some we can start with.
“The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” (Psalm 145:17)
We should consider that whatever happens in this world, God orchestrates or He allows. That means that whatever He permits, whether we understand it or not, is righteous – somehow, some way. Consider this verse:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Our understanding of things like we have discussed here leaves us puzzled. This is why we must trust that He is righteous and that we must lean on that – not our understanding. Furthermore, we must acknowledge His eternal sovereignty because, as Isaiah put it:
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
This verse says that, regardless of the situation – even one like we are highlighting today – though it doesn’t make sense to us doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense. He is righteous in all of His ways, including those that we do not understand. We can’t lean on our own understanding because, in our mortal state and limited view of things, it would be most difficult to understand His ways all the time.
Also, we must consider that sometimes the only way to discern His ways is after the fact. If Rommel had won the battle of El Alamein, perhaps the founding of Israel would not have happened when it did. On the other hand, if Hitler had not invaded most of Europe, and the Soviet Union, perhaps Europe’s Jews would not have felt the need to immigrate to the Holy Land and establish the state of Israel. Consider this: it was only in retrospect that Joseph told his brothers:
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
As difficult as it may be at times, we must remember that anything He does, or anything He allows – whether we understand it or not – in some way serves our best interests. We may not like it and we may not agree with it, but if we acknowledge that He is righteous in all His ways and that He will direct our path, then we must trust Him. Job put it this way:
“Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him.” (Job 13:15)