With the horrible acts of terrorism lately, I decided I better get out an article I wrote and re-read it. God’s given us a powerful way to affect better results in our world.
ISIS AND JONAH’S NINEVEH 2800 YEARS AGO
I was studying Jonah when the Lord jolted me with two instructions. The first was to look up the location of Jonah’s Nineveh and see if it is the same as where ISIS is murdering people today. It is. And the demons are just as vicious now as they were over 2800 years ago in Jonah’s time.
I read the following in Holman’s Bible Dictionary about the people of Nineveh in Jonah’s time: “They fought with the Israelites continually, their brutality renowned. They impaled their enemies on stakes in front of their towns, hung their heads from trees and covered city walls with the skins of their victims. And when they took prisoners they tortured them—men, women and children—by hacking off body parts, gouging out their eyes or tearing off their lips or hands.” Horrendous inhumane deeds, then and now: same evil brought about by the same demons.
Now I see why Jonah ran the other way when God told him to go to Nineveh. And that brings me to the second instruction God gave me: “Pray for the soldiers of ISIS. Some of them will turn.” I sure wasn’t expecting that!
Right after I got both instructions, I looked at the news on the computer and saw a video of an ISIS defector. It was God’s assurance to me and I know there will be more.
Jonah didn’t want God to do anything good for any of those murderers. And I wasn’t all that thrilled about praying for any of them either. But we have to remember who our God is. He “has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God.” He says, “wherefore turn yourselves, and live” (Ezek. 18:32). We can pray that some will turn. The defectors are doing just that.
Another scripture we can pray is Isaiah 55:7: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” I pray some will see and witness firsthand the greatness of our God and change allegiance.
But some will need a heftier impetus and motivation to change. Some will need to be brought to their knees and stripped of their power before they would even think of changing. God has put scriptures in the Bible for that too.
We know that people committing such horrendous crimes against humanity serve Satan, even if they don’t call it that. And Satan protects them, often pays them well and gives them a false sense of security.
But then we can pray verses like the following: “their bows shall be broken” (Ps. 37:15), “his violent dealing shall come down upon his own head” (Ps. 7:16), “let the creditor seize all that he has and let strangers plunder his labor; let there be none to extend mercy to him” (Ps. 109:6-13), “let their eyes be darkened so that they do not see; and make their loins shake continually” (Ps. 69:23).
Some other very powerful verses are: “Let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery” (Ps. 35:4-6). From the New Testament, we can pray to let envy and strife be among them, “for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16).My best friend, Jane, and I have prayed this especially before holidays where we’ve heard terrorist activity is expected and I know it’s been effective.
Praying these scriptures is powerful. God’s mighty angels, who “excel in strength, do his commandments and hearken to voice of his word” (Ps. 103:20), will attack the demons who are protecting ISIS and working in them. God’s wonderful mighty angels will wreak havoc and destruction upon the plans and devices of the enemy, stripping them of their demon protectors and bringing them to their knees—putting them in the best place possible for switching allegiance.
God’s will has always been to save even the vilest of men. Have we forgotten how rotten the Apostle Paul was before his conversion?
He was a murderer of Christians just like ISIS followers and soldiers. Acts 9:1 says he was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord.” He was in charge, the leader who called for many to be murdered. Paul was one of those who Jesus called “children of hell” (Matt. 23:15) and one of the generation of vipers: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt. 23:33).
The Christians in the first century church were powerful in prayer. I believe Jesus taught his disciples to pray for their enemies the way David did, the way I’ve shown you here. Paul’s miraculous change of allegiance is an indication of this.
His conversion was astonishing. It didn’t come about by the Christians praying nice things for him or being extra kind to him. It came about by him being struck suddenly blind, thrown down from his horse and having a volatile encounter with Jesus Himself!
Once Paul turned, the Christians in the area had peace. And that’s certainly what we want for the current-day areas where ISIS is working.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). I don’t think we’ve fully understood this verse. In situations where someone is committed to doing the devil’s work, the only good we can do for is pray for confrontation just like the Apostle Paul got, or that they be stripped of their power and see that the power of our God is greater.
I believe that if some of us will take these scriptures and pray them over the ISIS soldiers and followers, we will see more turn from their evil actions.
I will pray for defection and astounding conversion, but I don’t stop there. I also pray strongly that if they don’t turn or are not going to turn, then I pray Psalm 139:19: “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God.” I pray, “Destroy their plans and allow strife among their members and let them even kill each other and be killed, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Jonah went to Nineveh and they changed their ways. Jesus confronted Paul and he changed. Some of you will confront the evil in these ISIS soldiers with the scriptures I’ve shared. God bless you for that. You are making the world a better place through scriptural prayer and obedience.
QUESTIONS AND EASY CHALLENGES
- Cite a couple scriptural references that we can use to pray for those who are like the sold out believers in ISIS.
- Who is on our side to wreak havoc on the plans and devices of our enemies? (Ps. 103:20)
- Who in the New Testament was a murderer of Christians? Cite the scriptures where he was miraculously changed.
- Do you believe God, through His son Jesus Christ, can change the heart of any man? Give a couple Biblical references.