The Spanish-American, known popularly as George Santayana (1863 – 1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. He is widely known for articulating The Law of Repetitive Consequences. In essence, this law states: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
As a tribute to the 150th year of the Madrid-born Santayana, let’s examine briefly the Spanish fleet, the “Armada Invencible” (literally “Great and Most Fortunate Navy” or “Invincible Fleet”) and look at its 525 year-old lessons. The Spanish ruler, King Philip II, had a long-standing personal feud with his relative, by marriage, Queen Elizabeth I of England. It came to a head when Philip sent his 130 ship armada (“the invincible fleet”) with the intention of overthrowing the Protestant queen and permanently establishing Spain’s power in the Low Countries or the Spanish Netherlands.
However, in August of 1588, Spain’s plan of conquest was not going well. They were beat back in a series of harassment-type attacks by the English fleet and forced to return to Spain. On the way back God intervened in the affairs of men. The Armada sailed into a great storm at sea, off the western coast of the northern part of Ireland. God inflicted heavy losses on the Armada. The Great and Most Fortunate Navy would never recover. Fifty of Spain’s ships that set sail with glorious intent, never returned home.
The British House of Commons may be paying attention to history. They denied their prime minister, David Cameron, the support he requested to help launch a strike against Syria’s leadership. As U.S. ships steam toward the eastern Mediterranean Sea armed with military muscle and might, except for France’s war machine that has known two centuries of defeat, they are sailing without allies. As our commander-in-chief, President Barrack Obama, sits poised to push the attack button without congressional or popular support at home, his attitude evokes images of the 16th century Philip II of Spain.
Back in America, many are still outraged by Miley Cyrus’ MTV awards performance, the justice department’s refusal to contest recently passed marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, same-sex unions making their way through state legislatures, etc. Could it be that the history lesson offered by Pharaoh’s commanders in Exodus 14:25 will be repeated? It was in their effort to destroy the Israelites that things started going badly. Just before they all died, they declared, “The Lord is fighting for them [the Israelites] against Egypt.” Do not be surprised if we see our God intervening again.