1 Corinthians 15:52 (New American Standard Bible)
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Alertness is imperative. The failure of the United States at Pearl Harbor is a tragic picture of failed watchmen. United States officials and commanders failed to pay attention in the critical weeks, days and hours prior to 7:55 A.M., December 7, 1941. If those in strategic leadership had realized the necessity to listen and beware, the results of the attack on Pearl Harbor could have been drastically different.
In meetings with both the Secretary of the Navy and the President, Admiral Richardson of the Pacific Fleet alerted them to the danger of the United States fleet remaining at Pearl Harbor. He was wary that the Japanese would realize the United States military's vulnerability and would act quickly to take advantage of the situation. His warnings, however, were ignored and he was dismissed shortly thereafter.
The commanders at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Kimmel and Lieutenant General Short, were alerted to the impending danger of war on October 16, November 24 and November 27. Not believing an attack was possible, they only took precautions against Japanese sabotage. In fact, instead of strategically moving to the logical point of attack in the northwest, the entire fleet was moored in the harbor. Some personnel were even allowed to go on shore leave. Would it have made a difference had they stayed awake and remained sober at their posts?
Four hours before the attack, a United States destroyer in the Pacific sighted a Japanese submarine. Evidently not being alert to the imminent danger, no one on the destroyer reported the attack. Also, an army private (practicing on the radar set after its normal closing time) notified his superior officer of an approaching large squadron of planes. The lieutenant, however, neglected to listen and beware, but instead passed it off as being the group of B-17s that was expected from the United States.
The enemy gained the greater portion in this attack. More than 2,300 American servicemen were killed and over 1,100 were wounded; two battleships were destroyed and six others were heavily damaged; several lesser vessels were put out of action and more than 150 United States planes were wrecked. The Japanese lost less than 100 men and sacrificed only 29 planes and five midget submarines. Their task force escaped without being attacked.
The lack of alertness and false estimation of the enemy's capabilities and intentions were primary reasons this attack resulted in such devastation. Military and civilian officials in Washington, as well as the commanders at Pearl Harbor, had failed to observe and pay attention to the many warnings of impending attack. Their neglect to listen and to beware of the approaching danger allowed the enemy's plans to be successful.
Frequently, we believers ignore warnings from Scripture and the Holy Spirit. The cost is often great.
Dear Lord we pray that we would always be ready. Help us to stay alert to the warring signs around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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