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What the Bible says about Fleeing
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 19:26

Lot's wife did not merely look back—she dragged her heels from Sodom to Zoar, dawdling and wasting time. By conducting herself in this way, she gave unmistakable evidence that her heart did not believe what the angel had said to her—God would not really destroy all of their possessions. So she reluctantly left Sodom because she loved the world, not having the faith.

This has two direct applications to our lives. In Luke 17:32, Jesus said, "Remember Lot's wife." He says that she sought to save her life but lost it. The first lesson is that when the time comes to flee, flee! Do not look back. This is corroborated by Matthew 24:17 and Mark 13:15, in Jesus' Olivet prophecy. He said, “Let him who is on the housetop not come down.” Jesus meant, “Get out of the city. Flee. Do not look back. Do not get any of your possessions. Leave!”

This is not to minimize the gut-wrenching choices that this requires of us. Scripture implies that when this occurs, our family might be spread all over the city, county, state, nation, or globe. Will we have the faith to leave the city, not just without our material possessions, but without our children? Are we going to trust God that He will protect them and get them out, too? Though this is not easy, the word of our Lord says, “Remember Lot's wife.”

The second lesson is that saving one's life also pertains to one's way of life and manner of living. It includes one's hopes, dreams, aspirations, traditions, attitudes, and relationships. All of these have come from this world, which forms and makes us what we are, often in opposition to God (Romans 8:7). This is why John warns in I John 2:15 to “love not the world.” The world is cosmos, a system apart from God, being organized and regulated upon false principles and false values. It has made us what we are before God calls us, requiring our repentance and conversion.

Like science, conversion tells us there cannot be a vacuum in life. When we are swept clean by God's forgiveness and His Holy Spirit, something must be done to keep it clean, holy, and separated from the world. No man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and therefore, loyalty cannot be given with neutrality. It will either be God or the world.

The way to God was open to Lot's wife because of her husband's conversion (I Corinthians 7:13-14). The problem was that she failed to take advantage of all the privileges that were given to her. She dropped the ball. The lesson is to whom much is given, much is required.

We must remember Lot's wife, for never has so much opportunity been given to really know God through His Word than has been given to the end-time church. Yet, when Christ asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). The question requires each of us to answer individually. Will He find faith in us?

He will find faith if we take seriously His admonition to remember Lot's wife, who was totally unprepared because she had no faith. We need to be working diligently to build our faith in God by yielding to Him in loyalty in every opportunity life presents.

Remember Lot's wife.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part Four)

Matthew 2:13-14

Notice, the message for them to flee came from God! Does God expect us to flee, or does He expect us to stay put and let Him put an invisible shield around us so that we are impervious to what is happening around us? No, God Himself sent a message by an angel to Joseph, and he fled immediately by night.The implication of those two scriptures is that he hopped up out of bed, gathered Mary, Jesus, and their things, and took off for Egypt while it was yet dark. Apparently, he did not even wait until morning to leave. Joseph, hand-picked by God to be the surrogate father (or stepfather) to His own Son, had enough spiritual know-now to flee. There is nothing cowardly about fleeing.

Why would God want us to flee? Obviously, there are things to be learned from fleeing that cannot be learned if God is always protecting us from the damage that we may sometimes bring on ourselves.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 2)

Matthew 10:22-23

Though God is capable of the kind of physical salvation or deliverance that He indicates He will give to His people in Psalm 91, His general advice to His people is to "flee, get out, get away from the trouble." Even though God could protect one in the midst of trouble, He still gives this general advice. David authored Psalm 3 (where he said he felt safe surrounded by ten thousand people) while fleeing. So this in no way denigrates God, and it in no way makes for a "cowardly Christian" when he flees persecution and possibly certain death. We have to understand that God places responsibilities on us. As we take His advice—to flee—He will "open up the mountain" before us, so we can follow the path that He makes clear for us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 1)

Matthew 24:15-22

How will the days be shortened? Is God going to lessen time than would normally come? That is a part of the explanation. The implication, though, within the context, is that God will stop short what is occurring lest everybody be killed. If He allowed the events that were taking place to continue, everyone would die. When He stops the event, time in a sense stops—at least as far as this event is concerned.

To whom are the pronouns referring here? Verse 15, "Therefore when you." Verse 16, "Then let those." Verse 17, "Let him."Verse 18, "Let him." Verse 19, "But woe to you." These pronouns refer to those who understand the prophecies and are alive at the time these things are taking place. How many people are involved? It is unspecified.

One thing is clear. There is no doubt that, in this prophecy, deliverance involves flight (at least to those who are around Jerusalem during this unprecedented distress). In this case, to flee in no way implies flying. The verb here is phuego, and it means to flee, to escape danger. It indicates nothing other than escaping by running—shoe-leather express.

The context of the chapter is "literal and physical." It is not "figurative and spiritual." It involves physical survival worldwide, though the prophecy itself focuses on Jerusalem. It is worldwide because verses 21-22 make it clear "that no one would be saved alive." He means no one on earth, not just that no one around Jerusalem would be saved alive. This time is so bad that even the elect would die, except for God's intervention. Notice that God, through His servant Jesus Christ, says, "Don't stay in the midst of the trouble—get out."

Considering the timeframe, Psalm 91 would have to be modified to apply it directly to us, because our understanding from other portions of God's Word is that He expects us to get out, to flee to some designated place called "your chamber" or "her place." It involves segregating ourselves away from something. We can also understand that we will have help from God in segregating ourselves, as I Corinthians 10:13 indicates. He makes a way of escape that His people can take, just as He did for Israel. He opened up the Red Sea so that they could escape. They walked to safety, fleeing from the Egyptian army. Nevertheless, God intervened.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 1)

Luke 4:28-30

When Jesus was faced with violence, He fled the area. His work had to go on, so God intervened. Psalm 91 came into play here, in that Jesus was the victim of something He could not foresee. He was not tempting God in any way. He was doing His job, and persecution quickly arose against Him, so God protected Him from the immediate danger. Jesus fled to another area, to Capernaum.

God is not illogical, nor does He defy His own laws. He expects His people to use both faith and wisdom—maybe we could say, common sense.

Because of faith, God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves—as He did for Jesus in protecting His life, miraculously enabling Him to pass right through a very angry crowd. But Jesus' wisdom is also clearly shown in this case. God wants us to do something physical to remove ourselves from the danger, as Jesus did in leaving the area. There is a faith factor as well as wisdom. The wisdom is a fruit of one's faith.

In addition, there is a third factor. God is deeply involved in working in us. He knows how far along in the process of His work He is. So we have our faith in God, we have wisdom or common sense, and we also have God working with us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 2)

Luke 21:21-23

If we are in Judea at this time, we should flee and not expect God to protect us there. Wisdom dictates that we follow God's instruction and get out. God's purpose in our lives will be worked out somewhere else. He also warns that, if we are outside the city, do not go into it—more wisdom. Why? "These are the days of vengeance."

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 2)


 




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