“Flee from the midst of Babylon [representing sin], and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity” (Jer. 51:6)
Our society seems to tell us that running away from something is cowardice, or maybe the act of a victim—that it’s better to face things head-on. And while that might be true for some things, the bible tells a different story when it comes to how we must react in the fact of temptation. That, we’re told, we must flee.
What comes to mind when you think of the word “flee”? It’s a word that isn’t used as often in today’s world, but shows up pretty frequently in the bible. The main word translated “flee” in the New Testament is pheugo, which means to run away or escape—pretty straightforward. But its underlying meaning has a greater urgency, a “run for your life to avoid getting caught” aspect that’s critical to understanding the command. This isn’t just “run”. I run because I’m in a hurry, for health, sometimes even for fun. Instead, this is a dead sprint because you are under attack, and you might not survive.
It’s interesting to look at what we’re told to flee in the bible, and more importantly, why God commands this. But God gives us something to move toward, beyond just running away, and that’s just as important to understand.