Most reading this have probably already heard the news that Captain Richard Phillips — held hostage in a lifeboat for ransom by four Somali pirates — was saved this Sunday by Navy snipers who killed three of the pirates. The fourth, apparently 14 to 16 years old, surrendered. I do not know that the ages of the three dead ex-captors have been released, but if any of them were similar in age it would only compound the sadness that this became their end in this life — surely a combination of free will and environment in a world ruled by Satan the Devil.
“Those who live by the sword die by the sword,” is the common, if loose, paraphrase taken from Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:52, spoken to Peter who was about to defend Him with just such a weapon: “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” And in this case, for the pirates who operate in those seas — a body of men who have taken to kidnapping and violence as a profitable business venture — it is a fitting proverb.
On one hand, it is comforting to see justice — even of the sad “does not bear the sword in vain” variety (cf. Rom. 13:4). And we should all be happy that Captain Phillips will be rewarded for his brave choices by being reunited with his family and that some who sought gain through wicked means failed to achieve their desire. On the other hand, as the threats increase and as the Obama administration must decide how to deal with this growing threat, it is a reminder that without Jesus Christ and the changing of the human heart, there is no real solution to the ills of this world. Not for Somalia. Not for America. Not for anyone.
General Douglas MacArthur once said, “It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.” Bible prophecy says that the full impact of the truth behind those words lay ominously ahead of us.