1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

In World War II, in the Pacific theatre, it was a common practice to not only encrypt messages to be sent abroad to the Naval combat units spread across the ocean, but to also pad the key elements of the message with random phrases. By doing this, it would be more difficult for the Japanese code breakers, assuming they were successful in breaking the code, to find the important parts of the message. As with any good plan, things don’t always work correctly. There was at least one instance where this padding actually confused the message.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Admiral Halsey was in pursuit of some of the last aircraft carriers left to the Japanese forces. As he was catching up to the ships, a main Japanese battle fleet had turned around from fleeing and was blasting away at the light and escort carriers providing air support for General MacArthur’s forces ashore. Admiral Nimitz, in attempting to locate Halsey’s Task Force 34, sent a message as to its whereabouts, and the message was padded with “the world wonders”. What Halsey was presented with, however, was “Where is task force 34? The world wonders.” Needless to say, Halsey wasn’t pleased with the content of this message, and ended up missing an opportunity to battle the remaining carriers with this poorly decoded message.

We experience something close to this today involving God’s speaking to us. Not that God has to encrypt and pad his conversations with us using confusing tidbits, but sometimes when he’s speaking to us, it’s hard for us to hear him. We have messages flying at us from all directions, and the voice of God seems to get drowned out. The best way for us to hear God when he’s speaking to us is to be tuned in to his voice. We need to listen intently for it. We all have ways to process what we hear, and perhaps it might do you well to contemplate how you personally clarify the message God is trying to deliver.

By Rich Obrecht

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