Pastor David Wilkerson’s “Urgent Message” mentioned the possibility of fleeing the coming firestorm—the disaster that he had written about. For himself, he cited Psalm 11:1, which encouraged him to stay put, to minister in place.
To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain. . .”
This psalm is said by some to be composed by King David when pursued by King Saul. Barne’s Notes states that “Venema supposes that it was composed when David was in the wilderness of Ziph, and when, betrayed by the inhabitants of the wilderness, and pursued by Saul, his friends began to advise him to seek a place of safety by flight, 1Sa_23:14-23 [and] All that is apparent in the psalm itself is, that it was when the author was in danger, and when some of his friends advised him to seek safety by flight, Psa_11:1. Instead of doing this, David determined to remain where he was, and to put his trust in God, with the belief that he would interpose and deliver him.”
This sentiment of trust in G-d’s providence, and Pastor Wilkerson’s determination to be with his congregation, prompted him to want to remain in New York City despite his vision of impending doom.
There are at least three types of fleeing: One is directed by G-d; one is out of necessity to save one’s life that one might fight another day; one is to run and hide to die in peace.
The last type is shown in 1 Kings 19:3, when Elijah “went for his life” into the wilderness where he lay down to die. Elijah had been very naughty, upsetting Queen Jezebel by killing all her false priests. She sent a message to him that she’d be coming to get him. A woman scorned, and all that. . . So Elijah heads for the hills.
Then there’s Abraham.
The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s home, and go to a land that I am going to show you.”
This had to have been hard. He took his immediate family, left his place, his people, his land. He didn’t fully know to where he was going. He didn’t know what it would be like. But G-d called, so he surrendered all, packed up, and left. Abraham wasn’t necessarily fleeing from, but fleeing to a place to which he’d been called. I suppose he knew there was no going back.
Now Jacob fled the Promised Land, to avoid the draught that swept Israel. He did so knowing he’d return, even if only his bones. The people of Israel would return, though it took 430 years to do so. I wonder if Jacob had known how long, would he as readily have fled. And yet he did; G-d knew it to be best for him, and for G-d’s people.
So, then, if we believe we’ve heard the prophetic words of warning, do we stay or do we flee?
We are in the ministry of reconciliation—offering to those to whom we’ve been called eternal life in Messiah Y’shuaJesus. So whether called to another place, or into the highways, or to stay put and minister in place, from the mouth of our Savior Y’shuaJesus, we are to:
“Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .