Most of my readers know I wear many hats. In addition to writing this blog, I also work as a reporter for the newspaper in the small town where I live.In that capacity I generally cover nothing more fascinating than small town news and rarely do I come across anything earthshattering to the world beyond our mountain valley.
Last week, however, I heard there were several families in our hamlet who had been contacted by the FBI and told their names had appeared on the ISIS Hit List. This greater list of several thousand names has been reported upon in the National media mostly because it was discovered that the list was known to authorities for many months without informing those of the list of the potential danger. Many on the list are Christians. ISIS has previously published a list of military family targets, but not being persnickety in whom they hate or target, this list includes Jewish folks, as well.
Rather astounded that our tiny town had more than one on the list, I thought this would be an incredible news story, grabbed my notebook and began running down the rumors. I wanted to give these locals an opportunity to give their testimony to a secular audience in a secular newspaper. These are weird and goofy times and this, in my mind, is a stellar opportunity to report on your life and how you may have earned such dramatic mention. I thought Christian believers finding themselves in this situation might be eager to announce that the only thing a person should fear is NOT knowing Jesus. It’s a powerful story to consider especially on a weekend where bombs have gone off in New York and New Jersey.
I was ultimately stonewalled on the story. All those involved confirmed the validity of the news, yet none would be interviewed (even anonymously) even for the blog. The subjects had been told by the FBI not to talk to the media in an effort not to “spread the fear” which was, obviously, the ISIS goal.
I don’t wish to convey any criticism, whatsoever, of those who find themselves on the ISIS Hit List. It must be as shocking to have the FBI knock on ones’ front door as it is to discover one has been named on such a list. I can appreciate not giving publicity to bullies and terrorists. I have reluctantly, let the matter drop as the topic for a news article. It does however spark my interest as a jumping off point for a Feverseason post.
It has crossed my mind and perhaps yours as well, that all this governmental secrecy may be only reluctance to have more anti-Islamic press circulating weeks before a presidential election. Having done some due diligence on the matter I am curious to know how these disparate folks arrived on said list. How the authorities are convinced it is indeed an ISIS generated list and not some high school nerd with a weird sense of humor. If indeed terrorist generated- why did my neighbors make the hit parade when other more outspoken persons and pastors who often speak against Islam are not. Let us set my jaded suspicions aside and give the authorities the benefit of the doubt in this instance. This ISIS Hit List has reminded me of a few things more important and weighty than a newsy headline.
First, The list is out there. It has been circulated, allegedly by ISIS. The deed is done. Supposedly, if you are on the list the FBI would have informed you by now. The “fear” work is already done–especially for those having that dubious distinction of inclusion. Second, are Americans so jittery mere discussion of the existence of an ISIS List will send them into a swoon? Would not an open and honest airing of the topic result in a unified public ANGER at being threatened in such a way followed by action? Third, is silence on the issue less a fear of public panic or of public outrage at lax border and immigration policies by leaders of both parties which now reap the realization we don’t know who may be in our country willing and able to commit these or other heinous acts?
Finally, is our “correctness” and fear of offending some minority group or faction so entrenched that Americans and/or the Body of Christ won’t rise up in outrage at ISIS- this violent, pagan entity threatening peaceful people in our own backyard? I get that we don’t want to give them free advertising–But, where is our outrage? Where is our big stick of days gone by? Where is a viable leadership plan? Laying low, practicing our Lamaze breathing while trying not to spread panic is not a plan- it is what you do when there is no plan!
Recall, if you will , a similarly terrifying situation with a young shepherd, David. Sometime after his anointing by Samuel to become the next King of Israel, David stayed busy tending the family sheep while his older brothers are called to fight in Saul’s army.
His folks send him to take snacks to his brothers and find out how things are going. David arrives at the Israeli camp to find that the entire army literally paralyzed in fear. The Philistines are all lined up across the battlefield behind their champion, Goliath. He’s a giant, he is big, mean and scary. He comes out every day and says dreadful things about the God of the Israel, their king and the caliber of their army. Goliath asks for one warrior to come fight him to settle the conflict- In essence, this battle would determine not only the fate of two nations but would show everyone who really was the preeminent god. It was perceived as a serious challenge and it scared the army and the Israeli King to death.
David arrives on scene, hears the smack talk coming from Goliath. Strangely, the teenager isn’t terrorized, he isn’t shaking in his little sandals. He gets mad! And he has trouble understanding why others aren’t equally outraged. Look it up and read the whole story in I Samuel 17. It’s a doozy!.
What is the difference between this young shepherd, his brothers, a professional army and the King of Israel? Just off the top of my head:
1) David had an anointing
2) David had the experience of that anointing in action, He had killed a lion and a bear with his own hands, while guarding his flock.
3) He was accustomed to acting on his own in solitary situations and wasn’t hindered overmuch by what others thought.
4) He had a personal knowledge and trust in the POWER of who His God was. He had spent his spare time meditating on the Word of the Lord.
5) He knew that he was the anointed of this selfsame God.
6) Please note that David wasn’t surprised to see the Nephilim. Giants according to Genesis 6 were the demonic offspring of fallen angels and easy earth girls. They keep popping up throughout Hebrew History and were known to have superhuman abilities. Know your enemy!
We all know the story. He picks up 5 stones – Goliath has 4 brothers, after all. David kills the Giant, then proceeds to chop off the giant’s head with Goliath’s own sword the entire Philistine army runs for the hills , now chased by the newly empowered and freshly motivated, Israeli Army. David had seen the exact same giant as the rest of the crowd. What was the difference?
His life and actions were in agreement with who GOD’s Word said that HE was. Today’s American Christians need to remember that. The Army , David’s older brothers and Saul had all come into complete agreement with what Goliath was saying. David, heard the same words from the same giant, but he was in agreement and empowered by who God said he was. David was no longer the dopey kid brother, the useless delivery boy. He was God’s anointed. A slayer of lion’s and bears. His reputation and testimony empowered an army, defeated the giant and set the enemy running. It also changed David’s life when he stepped into his God-given destiny.
I can’t do anything about American leadership- other than vote in November- which I plan to do. I can’t do anything about people who won’t talk to me about a news story. Nor, can I force the FBI to answer my questions. It is fruitless for me to stew about motives involved- good or bad. That is not my job. My job is to be bold and to use my words to God’s purpose:
Don’t be afraid of terroristic words, deeds or lists. Don’t be ‘fraidy cats who are fearful of speaking out against bad policies, bad people, un-Godly legislation, horrible situations, political corruption OR a compromising church that looks more like the folks they are called by God to change.
Bible stories are not fictional tales to entertain kids in Sunday School. They are true and intended to infuse young and old with a vision of actionable faith in a living, loving GOD. Like young David, we are supposed to know who our Father God, hopefully long before we hit a battlefield. We are to understand our anointing and move IN IT every day- right now- as we live out that inheritance. We are supposed to know who we serve, not to stand idly by and let Philistines or Giants threaten us, or make us feel foolish or powerless. We are called to keep our armor on and be on that battlefield swinging that sword and send the enemy running!
If we don’t have a bold, comprehensive understanding that Christianity is an action word than we have a fundamental identity crisis. I follow Jesus. It is not supposed to be easy, or comfortable. Christianity requires faith and heart. It could cost you friends or family, careers and at some point American lives may well be in jeopardy. Jesus told us PERILOUS times are coming! I believe him. Tough, ugly times inevitably will come to America. The enemy won’t always be easily identifiable as ISIS members wearing black masks We need to know who we are, and what our function is in the world. If I encounter any sort of giant hurling threats at me and mine- I have been given authority and training over the demonic and can take care of that problem.
Remember, you may not be on this latest ISIS Hit List- but are you active and threatening enough to be on Satan’s Hit List? Sooner or later, if you are doing this Christianity thing right, there will be a giant or two or three on the field in front of you and you had best know what to do. The world may be scared of black hooded terrorists like ISIS and their paper lists; but we serve the Lord of Hosts and we know what to do to big-mouthed giants.
1 Sam. 16 and 17; Genesis 6:1-6; Ephesians 6:10-18; Matt. 24:8-13; Luke 21:12-19; Numbers 13:33; Exodus 23:20-33