24 July 2014
WEIGHED IN THE BALANCES by Jeff Franks
The Baptist Trumpet
July 23, 2014
“You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” (Daniel 5:27)
On a certain night in Babylon, King Belshazzar saw a hand writing on the wall of his palace. Among other things, Daniel the prophet had told him, “the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.” That night Darius the Mede took both his throne and his life.
I think God may speak similar things to certain world leaders today, many of whom have given these truths perhaps no conscious thought. Very recently I believe a handwriting of sorts became a wake-up call to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. I am speaking of the shooting down of the Malaysian Boing 777 over Ukraine on Thursday, July 17th.
For the first time in the war against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Russia is completely exposed and unable to successfully hide it’s complicity in the tragic loss of 298 lives aboard Malaysian flight MH17. Moreover, the Russian military has unwittingly exposed its proactive role in fighting Ukraine.
Until now, Putin’s entire diplomatic corps has everywhere confidently asserted Russia’s non-involvement in Ukraine’s “internal affairs”. Now, continuing the Kremlin line is more than awkward for them and in part here’s why:
Proficiency in using an advanced surface-to-air missile system like the Russian SA-11, which shot down the Malaysian airline, requires many months of training and practice. Furthermore, downing a jet flying at high-altitude must be a well-coordinated multi-team operation, involving the expert use of tracking and communications technology housed in several carefully positioned vehicles.
Therefore, none of the untrained, rabble-rousing separatists in Eastern Ukraine could possibly have tracked and downed the Malaysian airliner. This is true even if they had begun training many months before the outbreak of the war.
In spite of the Russian media’s well-polished efforts to the contrary, the disaster evidence overwhelmingly exposes the Russian military as an active combatant against Ukraine. Even the separatists’ pilfering of the victims’ belongings, the removal of technical evidence from the crash site, the failed attempt to hide the black boxes (in an age of smartphone videos), has not diminished, but has rather confirmed Russia’s involvement.
The West knows it and Russia knows it, despite all of Vladimir Putin’s brain-numbing, fog-inducing war of words. As the Russian infrastructure and economy continue to unravel, Putin increasingly needs to distract his people with a greater ultranationalist agenda, with a new expression of ancient Russian ideals, with a renewed fight for orthodoxy and justice against an increasingly decadent West. He must depict the rise of Ukraine’s western oriented government as evil, neofascist, and even Russian-hating.
However, the evidence from the Malaysian Airline shoot down has dealt a blow to his audacity. Even his diplomatic corps listened with icy stares as for the first time in years, Vladimir Putin spoke with hesitating stutters and with none of the usual interruptions of applause.
This is not the time to underestimate him, however, because history has shown that men of power are most dangerous when they are most shaken. George Bernard Shaw once said that “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history”. A few days ago Great Briton’s Prime Minister David Cameron said, "Europe must not forget the consequences of turning a blind eye when big countries bully smaller countries.”
How many lives were lost before Adolf Hitler “saw the handwriting” and took his own life? Has Putin seen the handwriting in last Thursday’s aviation tragedy? I think not, for when that day comes we will hear no more of him. God is in perfect control of human events and his timing is also perfect. His day will come. Meanwhile, let us remember King David’s last words. “The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.’” (2 Samuel 23:3)
Woe be to all who forget this truth!