Turn on the news and you will immediately hear about the militant Jihadist group called ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Lavent), and the brutal impact they are having in Syria and Iraq.
They are setting new standards for crimes against humanity, ruthlessly killing men, women, and children who do not hold to their radical Islamic views. They claim to be the authority over all Muslims and are committed to establishing a militant Jihadist state that practices Sharia law.
As a result, they have been systematically ravaging towns and killing anyone in their way. Recently, it has been reported they are even beheading Christian children, resulting in an international outcry. Oh, yeah, they are doing this all in the name of God (i.e. Allah).
What does God think about ISIS? Are they doing anything different than the brutal battles we read about in the Bible? Some are saying they are just using ancient methods to accomplish modern goals?
Let’s review a couple of important principals before we start equating ISIS to a biblical model.
1. God Allows Nations to Defend Themselves
Numbers 31:14-17 – Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.“Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them.“They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man.
It is important to understand when we read about brutal battles in the Old Testament it is a discussion involving national conflict. Israel was a nation of people with a government (theocracy), laws, and a judicial system. It was not a renegade militant group ravaging villages on a quest for world domination. Israel’s battles were defensive in nature, defending itself against threatening enemies. God does not condemn countries for protecting their citizens.
In the case of ISIS, they are the threatening enemy whose primary goal is the destruction of others. So even though their tactics may seem similar to an ancient warfare model, their approach is distinctly different.
2. God Condemns Gang Violence
Exodus 20:13 – You shall not murder.
The sixth commandment highlights how God condemns anyone who kills another outside the confines of a judicial system or national warfare. When it comes to ISIS, it is important to make it crystal clear, it is not a nation with a government or judicial system regardless what they claim.
ISIS is essentially a gang of men who are killing others in order to expand their territory of influence. Their approach is no different than a gang in Los Angeles or New York killing people in a neighborhood in order to expand their territory of influence. ISIS is a gang of criminals (terrorists) who have gained world stage exposure based on murdering people with evil intent. This is not a biblical model for warfare and they must be stopped. God condemns every part of their behavior.
3. God Wants Christians to Pray!
Matthew 5: 44 – But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
Although we can continue to discuss the ISIS atrocities, the real difference we can make is to pray for this tragic situation. Prayer is the most valuable tool a Christian has when it comes to conflict and dealing with enemies. Jesus said, pray for those who persecute you. This means we need to pray for ISIS!
We need to pray they will be stopped. We need to pray for the protection of innocent men, women, and children who are trying to escape for their lives. We also need to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria who are facing this life-threatening situation.
The crisis in the Middle East is complicated, with many political trappings and things we don’t know about. But God specializes in these situations and He is the one who can make a difference. Let’s pray together!
 CBC News, June 24, 2014
 Christian Reporter, August 10, 2014
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