Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Righteousness and the Death of bin Laden

Many words have already been written about the right response the Christian should have as he or she considers the demise of Osama bin Laden. Let me offer a few words of my own that relate to the text we’ll be considering on Sunday.


I am preaching on Luke 10:17-24. In this passage, the seventy-two disciples return from proclaiming the coming kingdom.  As they rejoice that the demonic realm retreated before them, Jesus confirms that their ministry has been effective in fighting the enemy:

And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” (Lk 10:18-19)
But despite the success of their ministry over the demonic realm, Jesus offers these words of caution:

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10:20)
Jesus’ point is that there is something of far greater importance than a successful endeavor—even a spiritually successful endeavor. The source of the disciples’ joy should not be in their accomplishment but rather in the fact that a sovereign God had been mindful of them and saved them.

I think there is a sense in which it is appropriate to rejoice that the wickedness pursued by bin Laden has been thwarted by our government. God bestowed the authority to wield the sword and our government wielded it effectively this past Sunday.

At the same time, we must be careful that our joy is not in the demise of the wicked but rather the triumph of righteousness. Our prayer is that our government—and we ourselves—would prove to be an instrument of good and not wickedness. May God grant us hearts that are aflame with a desire for Him to be glorified in us and in the world.

5 comments:

alison jones said...

Thank you for this. I was just talking to my husband last night about how much it bothers me to hear people celebrate a death, even tho it was the death of an evil man. This was very timely and very wise.
Alison Jones

Dan H said...

As I considered what a Biblical response should be, I wondered how many believers mourned his death. How many had the conviction to honestly pray for his salvation, and to mourn his passing into eternity.

Kris said...

The celebration over the death of bin Laden has brought Ezekiel 33:11 to my attention: "Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?"

Kris said...

The overt celebration over the death of bin Laden has brought Ezekiel 33:11 to my attention: "Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?"

Grammy said...

Hi, Daniel,
Yes, this is very much like the comment I made on a blog the other day that quoted MLK in saying we should never revel in the death of another person. What I said was that every person that dies without the Lord is another soul in Hell and we should never rejoice over that. We can rejoice that he is no longer actively causing terrorism to take place and kill people. Thank you for the insightful posting. Love you - Grandma.