Monday, October 8, 2012

Burning Ships

In 1519 Hernando Cortes took five hundred Spaniards, thirteen horses, a few cannons from the island of Cuba to mainland Mexico, the empire of the Aztecs.
The Aztecs were bloody men. Under the spell of the blood-thirsty priests, they would kill, according to one, during the dedication of their temples, eighty thousand people in four days. The emperor would, every night at dinner, pick up a stone knife, take a man, tear out his heart and go on with his meal. Such was this dark empire.
And so five hundred men were here, in the midst of an empire of bloodthirsty, screaming, howling savages. Spears, arrows, poison, it was a death trap.
"On November 8, 1519, they were peacefully received by the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II. Moctezuma deliberately let Cortes enter the heart of the Aztec Empire, hoping to get to know their weaknesses better and to crush them later. He gave lavish gifts in gold to the Spaniards which enticed them to plunder vast amounts of gold. In his letters to Charles V, Cortes claimed to have learned at this point that he was considered by the Aztecs to be either an emissary of the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl or Quetzalcoatl himself — a belief which has been contested by a few modern historians. But quickly Cortes learned that several Spaniards on the coast had been killed by Aztecs while supporting the Totonacs, and decided to take Moctezuma as a hostage in his own palace, indirectly ruling Tenochtitlan through him."
After a long, long series of battles, running fights, drowning in the lake, horses being killed, the Indians closing in. The city bathed in blood. Cortes looked up, beyond the city walls, at the top of the temples, he saw his men sacrificed. Through God's Providence, these barbarians, in the end, with all of their idols, all of their weapons, buildings, and thousands and thousands of warriors, could not defeat this handful of men.
Cortes won his empire, and his gold.
On the way to Tenochtitlan, as they were surrounded with armies of Indians closing in, danger mounting and dissension in the ranks, Cortes had to decide either to retreat to the ships or to advance. He burned his ships.
In our lives there may come times, as we seek to advance the Kingdom work of Christ, that in front of us our dangers, troubles, and difficulty. If we advance we will seemingly be cut to pieces, and yet if we fall back we will have comfort. It is then that we must burn our ships. Will you burn yours?
Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

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