Sermon Illustrations

At the time of this writing, the story dominating the national news involves the execution of former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein. On December 30, 2006 the gun-toting dictator, who ruled Iraq with an iron fist for 24 years, was taken to the gallows. This 69-year-old despot, who ruled in modernity one of the most noted geographies of the Bible, was hanged in Baghdad.

President Bush called Hussein’s execution “the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.” While the number of Hussein’s victims may never be known, he was certainly responsible for the horrific deaths of many thousands of people.

On the day he was convicted and sentenced to death, Hussein wrote a letter to the Iraqi people, according to his lawyers. In the document, he asked Iraqis not to hate the foreign people who invaded their country, just their leaders, because hatred “will blind your vision and close all doors of thinking.” “I say goodbye to you, but will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in Him, and God won’t disappoint any honest believer,” the letter said. (1)

Take notice of Hussein’s statement and how he was seemingly, even at this late date, trying to find Peace with his God. Concerning the same event, some of his former countrymen were trying to find peace within. 26-year-old Jassim Al Buhaleg, an Iraqi now living in Everett, Washington clapped his hands and said, “I want to go through the ceiling,” when television reported Hussein had been hanged. Minutes later, though, his hands moved to cover his face as he wept. Al Buhaleg said he was thinking about his father, who 20 years ago was dragged from their home in Iraq by Hussein’s soldiers, never to be seen again. (2)

These episodes play out against a backdrop of a nation that is starting to tire of the costs – human and otherwise – of waging war and is seeking answers that can lead to peace on the battlefield. Hussein’s seeming search for peace with his God, Al Buhaleg’s desire for inner peace, and a people longing for peace with others – it seems like all of mankind is searching for one of these three varieties of peace: Peace with God; Peace with Self; Peace with Others.

As we conclude this series entitled “God’s Promises for YOU at Christmas,” how timely is it that we conclude with the promise of the Bethlehem child who offers all who seek “supernatural peace?”

(1)Joshua Partlow. The Washington Post. (quoted from the Everett Herald, Dec. 30, 2006), A3.

(2) Ibid.

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