Restoration...Will One Good Man Stand Up?
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As we build toward what seems an inevitable war with Iraq, there is one thought which still bothers me. Must the innocent die with the guilty? Saddam Hussein's malicious reign of terror has been well documented. He has gassed his own people to stay in power. Tens of thousands died during his ill-fated war with Iran. This brutal dictator has even killed members of his family to maintain power.
But what about the many Iraqis who suffered and continue to suffer under this tyrant? Indications are that the majority of people aren't like Saddam and his henchmen, but are powerless to do anything. It is certain that any level of war to come will kill and wound many thousands of innocents who would rather live their lives productively, in peace. Are there not 10 good Iraqis who will stand up and reveal what the West is searching for, the weapons of mass destruction? How about one person?
A recent column by New York Times correspondent Thomas Friedman speculates that it would take only a small number of well-informed Iraqis to reveal locations of weapons targeted by the United Nations weapons inspectors currently in the country. With that knowledge, Friedman speculates, a less expensive and less bloody solution could be achieved in Iraq.
The column cited Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen, who said, "In the past year we've seen Arab extremists risking their lives to attack others—is there one Arab democrat willing to risk his life to save his own country?"
It's like when God told Abraham He would not destroy Sodom if He could find just 10 good men there. "Are there 10 Iraqi refuseniks who dare to say, 'Enough is enough,' and will whisper to [Hans] Blix the truth? Is there one?"
When Abraham learned God was to destroy Sodom, he openly questioned God about the seeming injustice of the action. "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). In the case of Sodom, not even 10 righteous men could be found to spare the city. In the end, God destroyed it by fire.
God's justice has been questioned many times since Sodom. Does God stand idly by while the innocent are ground into the dust by the wicked? Where is justice in Iraq? God is a righteous judge. For the sake of even one righteous person, He will make every effort to show mercy and pardon. At another time in another place, another man, Noah, stood out as righteous in the midst of universal unrighteousness. In the days of Noah, when the earth was filled with wickedness, the Bible says that Noah "found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8). Eight people, all members of Noah's family, survived this cataclysm. Sometimes all it takes is one.
Christ showed that at yet another time and place—this one in the future—He will spare mankind again for the sake of a few righteous. "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:22). The elect are the people of God, who are called, chosen and faithful to the truth. For their sakes, He says He will not annihilate humanity.
Perhaps a few good people could avert the looming crisis in Iraq. We pray to God that would happen. Regardless of whether an Iraqi war occurs, lasting peace will not exist until Christ intervenes to restore universal justice among the nations. Then we will see the blessing of the work of one good Man upon the entire world. WNP