1 Peter 5:8
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
On July 1, 1863, General Robert E. Lee’s Northern Virginia Army stumbled upon Union troops in the town of Gettysburg, PA. They had been sent out to look for supplies in the near by towns but didn’t expect to find Union troops in the area. Brigadier-General James Pettigrew began the first in a series of ill-fated attacks against the Union army. Two days later on July 3, General Lee was forced to retreat from the battlefields in what had become an overwhelming victory by the Union troops. It was a turning point in the war.
Many people including General Lee have placed most of the blame on a man named JEB Stewart. He was in charge of Lee’s cavalry and therefore entrusted with the responsibility of being “the eyes of the army.” Because the Confederate army was in Northern territory and on unfamiliar ground, it was very important to know where the enemy’s troops were at all times. This was Stewart’s job, but he was busy participating in unauthorized raids and General Lee hadn’t heard from him for three days. By the time Stewart made it to Gettysburg, the battle was in its second day of fighting and his men were too tired to be effective.
Like General Lee’s army, chances are you got up this morning not realizing that you would be engaged in battle this afternoon. Satan has effectively deceived you into blindly wandering into combat. Because you are not aware of his presence, you will be caught off guard and possibly face great defeat. I encourage you to heed Scripture’s warning by preparing yourself for battle this morning. You must know where your enemy is and be prepared to not only defend yourself, but to protect your friends. This will only be possible if you gird yourself with the Lord’s protection and keep an eye out for your “roaring enemy.”
No one can say for sure what the outcome would have been if JEB Stewart’s cavalry had been where they were supposed to be and reported the Union’s position to General Lee. Regardless, this failure illustrates an important truth: When involved in a war, you must have good intelligence. If you aren’t able to identify the enemy’s location, you have little chance of obtaining a victory.