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9 July, 2014 10:48

July 9, 2014

Can ISIS be Saved?

For the past few weeks the eyes of the World have been focused once again on the latest threat to peace in the Middle East. We have watched the rise of the new militant terrorist group ISIS make it’s way from Syria across Iraq. ISIS has shown no mercy whatsoever to those who stand in it’s way of forming a new Islamic state or khalifah. Reports of the worst types of brutality are surfacing daily. When it comes to torture, pillage, beheadings, or other types of atrocities, ISIS excels them all. Just today I read a report of beheadings, heads on sticks in the streets, and women being raped. Even Al Qaeda, out of concern for its own image, has distanced itself from this notorious and barbarous group.

America is now responding to ISIS threat that it fully intends to bring death and destruction to our own shores. Heightened airport security measures are being introduced for all flights entering the United States.

Reports like these cause grave concern and rightly so. No one wants to be threatened with possible annihilation, especially by the hands of such a brutal and unmerciful group as ISIS. Something rises up within us that longs to see them annihilated. If we could only squeeze the trigger or press some button that would forever wipe them off the face of the Earth, we would.

Well now you know how Jonah felt about a similar group that threatened Israel’s very existence so long ago. Much like ISIS, the Ninevites were known for their barbarous acts of brutality. Historians tell us they would skin people alive or impale them on long stakes until they slowly died an excruciating death. Little wonder then that Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord; but was that really the reason? Some mistakenly assume that he simply rebelled against the call of God but that was far from the truth. Jonah tells us in his own words; ‘Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” Jonah was willing to sacrifice his own prophetic reputation and even his own life to spare his people. God had told him that Ninevah was going to be destroyed. That was good news to Jonah as it meant that the Ninevites would no longer be a threat to him or his people. If Jonah refused to go, then there was little, if any chance, that Nineveh would repent and be spared. Like Paul who years later was willing to be cursed that Israel might be saved, or like Moses who told God to take his life but spare the lives of his people, Jonah in essence was standing in the gap for his own nation and people.

God however was ‘not willing that any should perish’ and was therefore determined to give Nineveh an opportunity to repent; and so the reluctant prophet was coerced, by the help of a great fish, into going. You know the story. Jonah delivered his message and Nineveh repented and turned to God. Even the Day of Pentecost can’t compare to the results Jonah witnessed that day in Nineveh.

The question is this… Could this happen again? I know what you’re thinking; there’s no way ISIS could change, let alone repent. Besides I’m not sure I want them to. If America could annihilate them in some way that would remove the possibility of them ever being a threat to our existence, and also to Israel’s for that matter.

Jonah having witnessed one of the greatest revivals in history ended up having more compassion on a withered plant than he did for the welfare of Nineveh.

Remember the disciples who wanted to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritan village that refused to welcome Jesus. Jesus turned to His disciples and rebuked them saying, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of.” Would Jesus say that about our attitude toward ISIS. ISIS are disciplined, devoted, determined, but also deceived. Yet they are not beyond the saving grace of our compassionate and merciful God. Think about it!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2014 11:16 am

    Thank you for nudging me out of my comfort zone. May I never be comfortable in my unbelief, my unforgiveness and my prejudices.

  2. Dale Schmucker permalink
    July 9, 2014 1:14 pm

    Thank you…right on! That’s the Spirit that I see in Christ and it’s also the Spirit that is supposed to be in me.

  3. Shane permalink
    July 9, 2014 2:26 pm

    Great Article David, I was thinking about this same thing yesterday not only about ISIS but also about people in my own neighborhood, we have some drug addicts that live down the road and I had to confess to a friend how unrighteous I was in the fact I was hoping their house would burn down so they would have to move so they would stop breaking in and stealing stuff in our neighborhood.

    I know this is not the heart of Christ and your article just re-enforces that , God forgive me for my heart.

  4. September 11, 2014 2:11 pm

    Shane thanks for your honesty. I think we all have some miserable examples of humanity living around us….I minister in a poor trailer park in easter Canada. Let me tell you…some of the despicable sub-human ways people have been abused in that place… it makes me want to meet out some of my own justice on a few of these abusers(my fleshly moments). Child sexual abuse, stories of deep betrayals and violence…its horrifying. Yet…how much more would Christ be glorified if one of these despicable monsters of iniquity became like an apostle Paul? Oh God glorify your name in the darkest night.

  5. November 27, 2014 9:10 am

    Reblogged this on The Fellowship of a Burning Heart and commented:
    Dear Church,
    Islam is your Nineveh. Don’t pull a Jonah! The bigotry and hatred I hear from professing Christians is horrifying. True christianity is defined by going to our enemies. Or do we forget that Jesus came to us. While we were still enemies of God, He came to save monsters iniquity such as us. We killed him! Oh church you may try to run from Islam, but you’ll wind up getting “swallowed by a fish” until you repent.

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