Read Isaiah 16
Focus on verse 3
When a nation is destroyed either by invasion or by civil war, the result is always the same – there are always people who choose to flee the carnage in an attempt to save their life and the lives of their children. In today’s context we call such people refugees. My grandparents were refugees who fled the civil war in southern Russia in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. When I was a child some forty-five years ago, my parents became involved with our church in sponsoring a Laotian family-seeking asylum in Canada after a civil war had put them at risk of being exterminated. The most recent refugee crisis going on is the people from the area in and around Syria looking for places to go to escape the brutality and destruction of ISIS in that part of the world.
While this refugee crisis is complicated by a potential threat of ISIS radicals posing as refugees in order to infiltrate other nations for the purpose of carrying out Jihadist activity in those nations, it does not make it any less a crisis that needs to be addressed.
In today’s reading we find an ongoing description of the destruction of the nation of Moab. In the midst of this, the word of the Lord to Israel is to grant shelter to those from Moab who are seeking asylum. I can imagine there may have been those in Israel who would have resisted granting these people refugee status because they had been national enemies to Israel just as some are saying here in America about the current refugee crisis.
As I consider the heart of God and His compassion for people, particularly those who are victimized by evil, it would seem that the right thing to do is always to attempt to resettle as many of the people who are seeking to escape annihilation as we are reasonably able to accommodate as quickly as possible, yet, in this case still using appropriate caution to screen out the wolves from among the sheep if possible.
In our battle against those whose ambition it is to dominate the world with radical Islam, it is important to remember that if we choose to hate our enemies – we are multiplying the hatred, which merely adds fuel to the fire. Only the love of God can truly overcome and eradicate the hatred that motivates humans to kill each other. By this I am not suggesting that we should allow the terrorists to have their way with us; there is a place for the use of force in defending our homes and families. What I am saying is that, as difficult as it may be, if our desire is to ultimately win the war on terror, we must guard against allowing the hate that motivates the enemy to attack us to gain control of our minds and hearts. I’m not certain exactly how this would be accomplished, but I suspect that a good place for us to begin would be in our own submission and obedience to God. From that point it is much more likely that we will be able to discern how to use His love to overcome the hatred.