Daily Devotional for Wednesday January 3, 2007
The Hanging of Saddam Hussein
(Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Exodus 20:2-3)
This past weekend, the former dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was executed after being found guilty of crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 people in Dujail in 1982. Even though these killings were the only formal charges brought against the deposed dictator, since he took office in 1979, Hussein was responsible for the chemical death of over 5,000 Iraqis in Halabja in 1988, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, many assassinations of those who opposed him politically, and the imprisonment, torture, and death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Hussein earned his nickname, "Butcher of Baghdad," and was a thoroughly evil human being. If there was ever a man who deserved to be hung to death, it was Saddam Hussein.
During the weekend, I had the opportunity to watch several times the complete video footage of Hussein's hanging. From the transcripts of what he said, he was clearly defiant with a hard heart right to the end. He cursed the men carrying out his death sentence as they taunted him. He cursed the Americans who liberated Iraq from his brutal quarter-century reign. He also was citing passages from the Koran, which he held during his execution. As I watched the video of him being led to the top of the gallows, him refusing to wear a hood, the black scarf being put around his neck, the noose slipped over his head around the scarf, the guards pushing him forward to the trap door, the door opening and his body plunging to its death, I could only think that in that instant Saddam Hussein left this life he would be spending all eternity in hell.
The moment he died, Saddam Hussein was standing before God. Not "allah," the imaginary god of Islam, but GOD, THE GOD OF THE BIBLE. There was only one question God had for Saddam Hussein. It wasn't about his years as the head of Iraq, it wasn't about the horrible things he did to so many people during those years. No, the only thing God asked Saddam Hussein was, " Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" Based on Hussein's last words and the fact he clung to a Koran to his death, it is clear that answer was NO. Because he rejected Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of his sins, Hussein died in those sins and that is why God cast him into the eternal darkness, the eternal torture of hell.
Saddam Hussein had the opportunity in his life to accept Jesus as his Savior. Jesus loved Saddam Hussein so much that he died for his sins, just like He died for your sins and mine. Saddam Hussein could have asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and accept His love and the free gift of everlasting life through faith in Jesus Christ. Sadly, he made the choice to reject Christ's love and that free gift, and that is why today and for all eternity he will burn in hell.
It is easy for most people to understand how such an evil monster like Saddam Hussein could spend all eternity in hell, but let me make sure you fully understand something. The hell Hussein will suffer in for all time, is the very same hell you and anyone else who rejects Christ will reside in when you die. Even though you are not a brutal dictator, responsible for the death and destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives, you are still a sinner and it is your sins that will condemn you to eternal punishment. The Bible says that we are ALL sinners and ALL have fallen short of God's glory. It is your sins that separate you from a Holy God, and that is why it is only faith in Jesus Christ, the One who died for your sins, that can save you!
One day, all men will die. It may be in a car accident, it may be due to a heart attack, you may die of cancer or some other disease, you may die in war, or you could even be hung to death. The reality of this life is that one day we will all die by some means and this life as we know it will be over. That is the moment when you will stand before God and either be ushered into Heaven for all eternity, or cast into hell forever and ever. Your eternal home is determined by only one thing, whether you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by faith, since there is no other name by which men are saved!
I love you and care about you so much. Sadly, Saddam Hussein bought into the lie of Islam, and because he put his hope and faith in that lie, he will spend all eternity in hell. There are over 1 BILLION people on this planet right now who have bought into that same lie, and even though they are not brutal dictators who will kill hundreds of thousands of people in their lifetime, the moment they die they will stand before God, be judged for their sins, and cast into the same hell Hussein is in. There are NOT many roads that lead to God, only one. There are not many truths, only one. There are not many plans of salvation, only one. Those who choose to reject the only road, the only truth, the only plan, will be lost for all eternity!
I found it interesting over the weekend that there were 3 men who recently died whose lives touched and influenced millions of people. In addition to Hussein, you also had the death of singing legend James Brown and the nation's 38th President, Gerald Ford. Also, over this past weekend you had the death of many others all across our nation who were only known by a few people. The fact is, whether it was James Brown, President Gerald Ford, Saddam Hussein, or anyone else, the moment they died they were standing before God their Creator and the only thing that mattered was if they had accepted Jesus Christ into their heart and life by faith.
I will be praying for you today. Praying that if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you will open your heart today and really seek God about your eternal soul. He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for your sins so that when your brief journey through this life is over, you could be with Him for all eternity. If you have never made a commitment of your heart and life to Christ, or if you don't have the assurance today that if you died you would be forever with the Lord, please take a moment, pray and ask God to prepare your heart, and then watch this brief video clip: http://www.liveprayer.com/altarcall.cfm.
Let me be very blunt with you. This past weekend the evil monster known to the world as Saddam Hussein was hung to death, and based on his own actions and words at the time of his death, is clearly in hell for all eternity. The reality I want you to understand is that if you choose to reject Jesus Christ and His love and the forgiveness of your sins, when you die, you will be cast into that very same hell Hussein is in. I will be praying for you today to choose life, and life everlasting through faith in Jesus Christ!!!