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And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords.19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!”21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. – Genesis 19:17-22 [ESV]
“A snake! A snake! Run for your life!” My sister Barbara and I were crawling through the bushes around our grandmother’s house out in the country. A black snake had crawled up into those bushes for reasons of which we may only speculate. When Barbara saw it, she sounded the alarm…and we ran for our lives.
On the way home from school, in another time and different location, we would cross through a barn yard to get to our home. Living in the country for a few months while we were in transition to a new house, presented new experiences. And boy did we have one that day. Momma sow saw us coming and must have thought that we were a threat to her piglets. She took out after us on the run. Do you know how fast pigs can run? I’ll tell you: fast! We jumped the fence to get to safety.
When threats are immanent we don’t even realize adrenaline is pumping. We simply run faster, jump higher, or fight harder than we would otherwise. We may whistle past the graveyard but if we do, all our senses are heightened, and we ready ourselves for action at a moment’s notice.
How many times, however, have we heard a very clear call to run for our lives and ignored it? I’m not thinking of COVID-19 alarms or hurricane warnings. I’m thinking of warnings from God.
- Flee from immorality! (1 Corinthians 6:18,2 Timothy 2:22)
- Beware of greed.(Luke 12:15)
- Watch your tongue. (James 3)
- Repent or perish! (Luke 13:3, 5)
- Watch, for your don’t know the hour. (Matthew 25:13)
How easy it is for us to dismiss the urgent call to repent, reorder our lives, abandon evil pursuits, or escape judgment or destruction! Lot almost falls prey to the lure of waiting and ignoring the imminent danger that will soon befall Sodom and Gomorrah. Had the angels not compelled him – taken him by the hand – he likely would have perished.
I suspect there are some lessons for me here. There may be a sin to confess, a promise to claim, a warning to heed, a hope to embrace, a vice to abandon that I need to act on more urgently. Perhaps you do too. While it is day, there is time to do so. But we who really do need to recalibrate must not be lulled into a false sense of security in our laxness toward God just because The End has not yet come.
God’s gracious desire is always for our rescue, redemption, and salvation. Will we listen to his voice and heed his call? It is far better that we do!
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.[f]Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.15 Remember what it says:
“Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled.” – Hebrews 3:12-15