Recently I picked up a coffee table book about the Ghost Army of World War II. This entire army unit was assigned the task of subterfuge, to make a small unit of about 1000 men appear to be a force of about 30,000 soldiers. They used an arsenal of inflatable tanks, false radio transmissions, and fake sound tracks to make it appear that areas on the war front were more heavily defended than in reality.
The care with which this unit performed its task was amazing. They recorded and broadcast the sounds of a convoy of trucks, not merely grinding through mud, but on separate sound tracks, also going uphill and down. Patches on the shirts of the men had to match the infantry unit they purported to represent; the sleeves of their shirts became threadbare as the men sewed on and ripped off and replaced patches of multiple different military units. Jeeps required appropriate signage so these too need to be repainted regularly. The men even learned the favorite songs of the real units they represented so they could sing the songs at local bars and thus convince locals that their unit was indeed the real thing. Every detail needed to be exact to carry out the deception.
One amusing account told of two men who were carefully measuring a sign over headquarters so they could duplicate it. A colonel from the actual army unit, unaware of the Ghost Army, drove by and asked what they were doing. The two men were not allowed to disclose their secret mission, so they simply stated the obvious, “We are measuring this sign.” When the officer demanded to know why, the men shrugged their shoulders and explained that the army required all signs to be the same size and they were simply making sure that each sign met regulations. Of course the colonel was furious that the army would expend manpower to do foolish tasks like measuring signs when there was a war going on!
Such a lot of work went into deceiving the German army. As Christians, we too face an enemy that wants to destroy us. Satan will use any technique he can find to convince us of the reality of delights he offers even though those pleasures are mere shams. Behind those pleasures lies emptiness that will deflate as quickly as the Ghost Army tanks. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness but he recognized the deception and forced his enemy to retreat.
How easy it is to be fooled! Stay close to God’s Word. Only the truth will set you free!