Posted by: stpowen | February 16, 2015

How to Defeat ‘Islamic State’

Zechariah 4:4:6.  ‘”Not be might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts.’

Mark 4:30. “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.  For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.”

Yesterday we heard the news of the execution of at least ten Egyptian Coptic Christians by I.S. in Libya.  This morning we heard news of Egyptian air strikes on various I.S. targets in that country.  Also on the news were the voices of many ordinary Egyptians expressing their outrage against the murder of their Christian compatriots.  Apart from our own outrage against such barbarous executions, there are some lessons that we can learn and some encouragements that we can take from these events.

Firstly, is it not remarkable that I.S. not only conducts these executions openly, but indeed glories in them and publicizes them as their primary propaganda tool?  What is surely more remarkable is that there is a steady stream of Moslems who think that murdering innocent people is so praiseworthy that they actually join I.S.  But we should remember that within living memory, many ordinary ‘Christian’ people in Germany could be persuaded to join in the persecution of the Jews, and the Nazis had their supporters in many other countries in Europe, including Britain, before the War.  The fact is that under certain circumstances, otherwise respectable people can be persuaded to go along with the most horrible deeds.  The slaughtered masses of Rwanda, Cambodia and Bosnia bear witness to the truth of the Bible:  ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?’ (Jer. 17:9).

Secondly, not even the Nazis made newsreels boasting of their genocide.  Doubtless they felt that filming people choking in the gas chambers would turn a few stomachs even among their most fervent supporters.  It may yet prove, God willing, that I.S. has over-reached itself. Egypt ranks as No. 23 on the Open Doors {1} ‘World Watch’ list of countries where Christians are most severely oppressed. If there is a up-swell of outrage and disgust among the Moslems of Egypt at these massacres in Libya, then surely they cannot at the same time be approving the day-by-day wickedness against Christians in their own towns and cities?  We know that In Iran and Iraq, many Moslems, disgusted with the abusive nature of their religion are becoming Christians. Why not in Egypt?  Why not, indeed, in Libya?  We know that God has often used the wicked acts of men for His own glorious ends (Gen. 50:20; Acts 4:27-28), and that the persecution of the Church has often been the fore-runner of its growth (Acts 4:31; 6:7).  therefore let us be praying fervently that this recent dreadful violence against God’s people will lead to His glory in the salvation of countless Moslems in the coming months and years.

Thirdly, let no one suppose that the use of NATO aircraft in the bombing of Libya will solve anything.  We have tried that before and the situation at the end has been worse than at the beginning.  One of the definitions of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  If Christians in Britain want to do something practical to support their brothers and sisters in Moslem countries, let us support the various aid agencies, and M.E.R.F. {2} in bringing relief to the persecuted and the Gospel of peace to the persecutors.  And let us pray.  ‘The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man [that is, one whom God has justified by grace through faith] avails much’ (James 5:16).

Notes

{1} http://www.opendoorsuk.org

{2} Middle East Reformed Fellowship http://www.merf.org

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Responses

  1. And, when we pray, pray for what the persecuted always ask for – that the Spirit gives them the courage to stand firm in their faith.


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