This is an article from the January-February 1991 issue: The State of the World

The State of the Gulf of Islam

The State of the Gulf of Islam

Tonight, as we are two days into armed hostilities in the Persian Gulf, we seek to understand what the Lord is doing. Mr. Bush is not in charge in the Gulf. Mr. Hussein is not in charge of the Gulf. Our glorious God is in charge in the Gulf, and everywhere else. He is bringing to pass His purposes, and I pray that we will be examples to the Church of being Christians first and Americans second. What is God doing there? Think about the fact that while we were so focused on the Communist world and the fact there was no freedom there we have been almost unaware that there is no freedom in the Muslim world either. Islamic states are totalitarian regimes and they have every bit as little freedom as Communist states have had.God is interested in liberating these people like the Iraqis who have not had a missionary since the last Presbyterian worker left in l959. We have not been able to identify anywhere a resident Arabic-speaking disciple-maker in Baghdad working with the 90% who are Muslim. David Barrett says that Baghdad is going to be the l3th largest city in the world by the year 2000. (That was before this flood of soldiers into the army. If they aren't killed, you know they aren't all going to go back to the villages; they are going to end up in the city. So it may become even a larger city faster than Barrett considered.) In the terrible Iran-Iraq War of l980-88, the Iranians and Iraqis were sending each other into a Christless eternity, and nothing was being done for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I personally took it as a rebuke that last night we could watch American reporters in Baghdad, reporting the play-by-play of the war while most of the Lord's servants were getting out of those countries as fast as possible. You wonder who has the deeper dedication and which role, what is really important--whether the story of sin is really a life-and-death operation. Of course, we have to have empathy for those with children who are getting out. But the ranks of Western missionaries and tent-makers are probably 25% less tonight than they were three days ago across the Muslim world.

God, I believe, still wants us to cry out to Him in the light of 1 Corinthians l6:9, that He would hold open "effectual open doors" in these lands where Satan is making a counter-attack to slam them shut, especially against Americans. Let us pray, "Lord, keep them open. Make them open more so that when the dust settles there could be all kinds of relief teams going into Iraq."

I don't know if you saw on television an American doctor describing how there are very few hospitals and little medicine in that area. When the bombs hit the sewage pipes, there will be mixing with the water pipes. There are going to be all kinds of diseases there and opportunity for us to go in--if not those with American passports, then those with Swiss, Mexican or Korean passports. Thousands of Christians will have opportunity to go in and serve these people.

Kuwait, the richest people in the world per capita, had only a handful of Arabic speaking disciples and tent-makers in the last 25 years, probably none before that. These people were just going into a Christless eternity day after day. That wasn't God's will. I don't believe there is a church in Saudi Arabia today, despite the rumors-- no one worshiping the Lord Jesus within that land. I hope I am wrong, but I would like to see it validated if I am. The Saudis have been the least open. So pray that what God is doing is not ever to let the movie go backward.

Now that all these Christians are on Saudi soil, I believe God is going to do what He did after World War II. Hundreds if not thousands went to Japan after the war because they got a burden while serving there. The same thing happened in Europe and in the Pacific Islands. God is going to put these places--Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Abu Dabi, Dubai, and cities that still don't have disciple- makers among the Arabic speaking peoples--on the hearts of His people who are there and those who are watching on TV, who have seen these maps that they have never seen before.

I believe God is going to work in our hearts to send Christians in to take at least 25%, I hope, of the thousands of jobs that have been left open. In the last year non-Christians and probably a lot of Christians too have fled from those jobs, leaving them wide open for those of us who want to grab them up as soon as it settles down a bit.

So God is making His move in the Arab Gulf. He is intending that no longer should these people live in total darkness. Some say they are closed countries, but we are going to find ways to get in, stay in and become significant, trusted people from whom these people can take truth. Because of disillusionment in Islam we are going to find hungry people, seekers who want reality with God.


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