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The Word on the Week

Arab Autumn

48 If Autumn’s here can Winter be far behind? What now Libya with Qaddafi gone? Has the unifying force of common hatred for their ruler been the glue that held the different tribes together? Officials of the post-Qaddafi government have said that the death or capture of Colonel Qaddafi would allow them to declare the country liberated and to start a process that would lead to a general election for a national council within eight months. Great aspirations! Colonel Qaddafi was carrying what was described as a sack of magic charms when he was found by the soldiers. He held a silver pistol in his hand, and in a bag, the fighters found his gold plated pistol. He had been hiding in a storm drain following the scattering of his convoy by NATO planes as it attempted to leave his home town of Surt. So the man who held total control over his 6.5 million people for 42 years died. He was better known here for bringing down the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie and supplying weapons and semtex to the IRA.  His leaves behind a country void of infrastructure with the exception of the oil installations. There are still some members of his family at large along with pockets of his more fanatical supporters who may stir up trouble in the days ahead. What comment would the Bible make of this event? Much ink has been spilled navigating around the Command “Thou shall not kill” by pleading the case for the just war. The Bible simply says that wars will come – it’s a bi-product of the way we are.  When John the Baptist was giving some ethical advice to his questioners some soldiers asked him what they should do. He did not tell them to leave the army but said, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”  There is an inevitability about bloodshed resulting in more bloodshed. This was highlighted by Jesus to his Disciples in Gethsemane, “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” St Matthew chapter 26 verse 52. Jesus’s way also involved the spilling of blood – His own. And that was shed for others. Qaddafi’s way involved the spilling of blood – that of others and eventually his own. Qaddafi’s reliance on charms proved futile. For those who rely on Jesus there is peace even in a war zone and a resurrection to eternal life at the end. Trust Jesus.