In our technology-obsessed, phone culture world, I’m that lone guy reading an actual book while everyone else is staring at a screen. I recently finished reading Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation Speaks” (1999), which is the follow-up/companion to his “The Greatest Generation”, published the previous year, 1998.
The “Speaks” volume was a gift that I received a couple of years back, but just now took the time to read. It differs from the first volume in that Brokaw uses letters from WWII veterans, their families, and their many comrades to tell, in their own words, what they experienced.
The letters were moving, insightful, and sincerely heartfelt. Two in particular stood out, though. Hopefully, they’ll help you understand the reason for this article’s title.
The first letter in question was written by Rabbi Judah Nadich, who was the first Jewish chaplain to serve in the European theater. In it, he tells of visiting the Dachau concentration camp. After seeing the gas chamber, he went into the crematorium. There he discovered large sacks labeled “fertilizer” in German, which in reality contained human ash. In essence, human remains were used by the Nazis to help fertilize crops.
“I rolled up my sleeve and plunged my arm into one of the sacks. I rubbed the ash against the palm of my hand…so that I should never forget what my eyes had seen there.” (p. 120, “The Greatest Generation Speaks”)
The second letter in question tells the story of a Jewish pilot in the South African Air Force who flew for the British. His name is Boris Senior. He was shot down over the Adriatic Sea but was rescued by U.S. pilots. After the war, he went to study in London. With the true scope of the Holocaust being revealed, he felt more compelled to go to Palestine and prepare for Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
With a small group of volunteers, he helped organize the start of the Israeli Air Force, flying anything that was available. In his own words, Mr. Senior describes what that was like:
“We managed to get fighter aircraft, strangely enough Messerschmidt 109s made in Czechoslovakia, which I flew against the Egyptian Spitfires.” (p. 138 “The Greatest Generation Speaks”)
The irony here is wonderful. Jews using captured Nazi equipment to fight off their current enemies. God most certainly is not mocked. (Galatians 6:7) Mr. Senior stayed with the Israeli Air Force until his retirement and was instrumental in making it one of the world’s most respected air combat groups.
This brings us to the fulfillment of scripture in question. God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
We often make the mistake of thinking God’s blessing will be something monumental and huge; something affecting millions of people at once. An example of this is found in what President Trump did on December 6, 2017, when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s formal capital. To put this into a proper context, read Jay Sekulow’s great book, “Jerusalem A Biblical And Historical Case For The Jewish Capital”.
Of course the aforementioned incidents regarding moments concerning the Holocaust and the creation of the Israeli Air Force also affected millions. God has blessed His people in spite of what the world has done. Even seemingly small incidents, such as the air force of Israel being started with captured Nazi planes shows that God will also use the details to bring about the blessing.
The large and the small events are all of equal importance now. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps. 46:10)
We are on the verge of losing the nation chronicled in Brokaw’s books. We need to pay attention to small blessings we tend to overlook while we’re inundated with the big issues. The Greatest Generation knew how to do this. Now that we’re seeing scripture practically fulfilled daily, we need a lesson from our own history. While we know how everything ultimately plays out, we can’t ignore the coming battle.
“Fight the good fight of faith.” (1Tim. 6:12)