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  • Henry Omotayo

The Failure of Human Intelligence

2 Kings 6:8-12

Message No. 0682 | Twitter @GodandUs |

The security of its citizens is the foremost priority of every government, so in the aftermath of 911, one of the biggest and most devastating acts of terrorism of all ages, America was looking for a way to respond, with the aim of destroying those who perpetrated such evil on innocent civilians. Its intelligence community is, of course, one of the best in the world, so when they concluded that Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (or WMDs) and was willing to use it against his enemies, the executive arm of government believed and gave the go-ahead to attack Iraq, in an apparent attempt to destroy this capability and also prevent future attacks on the US or its allies.

There was just one problem: Iraq had no WMDs, nor was an active program in this direction found, and the truth was discovered in the first months of the war. In spite of this, the war could not be immediately stopped. At the end of this operation, according to some reports, an estimated 300,000 civilians and 4,500 American soldiers had died in the war. An estimated 2 trillion dollars was said to have been spent on the war in Iraq and the ensuing campaign against terror in Syria. This failure in intelligence triggered a barrage of questions and soul searching that have not yet been answered satisfactorily to some people till date.

Few days ago, Israel witnessed an attack of almost unprecedented proportion, and this was ascribed to the country’s biggest intelligence failure of all times. Many people are asking questions which the country’s intelligence community and military personnel are unable to answer: how did the country not see this before it happened? The spokespeople are answering this question as best as they can: we will address them in a soul-searching review but not until we have destroyed the capability or desire of our enemies from harming us.

When this attack happened and the questions on intelligence started flowing, my mind took me back to the Bible as I remembered that it didn’t use to be like this. In 2 Kings 6:8-12, the King of Syria was making war against Israel, and they strategized and concluded where their camps would be in order to take Israel unawares. Unfortunately for them, without using a drone or eavesdropping some conversation or using a satellite or planting some traitors in the midst of the army of Syria or using any of the tools used by the intelligence communities of today, Elisha saw and warned the king of Israel of Syria’s plan many times, and each time they checked it out, they discovered that Elisha was correct. After many unsuccessful attempts, the King of Syria got angry and asked his servants, will you not show me which of you is working with the king of Israel? The servants responded in 2 Kings 6:12:

“None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

The best of human intelligence can fail at any time. Without God, human intelligence is, at best, human. Since our eyes are not equipped to see beyond our immediate environments, human beings are constrained, sometimes, more than other animals. We train and use dogs to smell or perceive and interpret odors that our own sense of smell cannot comprehend. Other animals can see or perceive danger several miles away because their eyes and ears are better equipped than human eyes and ears.

In 1 Corinthians 13:9, the Bible says that our knowledge is partial and incomplete and even the gift of prophesy reveals part of the whole picture. When it comes to intelligence, our best bet is our God. Only the Holy Spirit can give 100 percent assurance of anything. It was the Holy Spirit who worked with Elisha to reveal the plans of the king of Syria. This past week one would have wished that there was an Elisha in Israel who could have warned Bibi Netanyahu of impending danger so Israel could have averted the disaster that took the entire intelligence community unawares.

By the way, who or what is the source of your own intelligence? Are you banking on some crude means that has failed our predecessors for centuries or are you depending on the Almighty God who never fails? Are you depending on native sense or as human counsellors would counsel, following your heart? Remember that the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Are you depending on something so unreliable? The world certainly has no solutions to many issues of our time, but God, who created us, knows exactly our circumstances. He promises safety and He delivers on His promises. When you are confused, please read your Bible, and pray. In the midst of this, God points His children to the right direction and makes us to see things that others can’t see. He is the only infallible intelligence source, the methods of the world will fail, and they sometimes fail disastrously.

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