It is sad to see people losing their lives for the sake of preserving material things in the recent bushfires in Australia. When God’s wrath is being poured out upon a place for the sins of the people, Jesus warns His children to flee. He specifically wants us to remember Lot’s wife. Those who seek to save their life which they built will lose their real life.
Life is more than the livelihood
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?Matt 6:24-25
Life is more than food and body more than clothing and we must not worry about our livelihood regarding what to eat drink or wear. This He said specifically to teach us that seeking after these means, we serve money and not God.
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matt 6:31-34
Jesus not only taught us not to worry about our livelihood but promises that God will take care of all our needs if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Matt 6:30
Therefore, if there is a disaster approaching us which could destroy our livelihood, we must never worry about it, but always have faith that God will take care of us.
Discern the signs of the times
He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.Matt 16:2-3
As Christians, Jesus expects us to discern the signs of the times. If we can’t Jesus calls us as hypocrites.
Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.
But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.Mark 13:33; Luke 21:34
Based on events mentioned by Jesus on His second coming, we can learn how to keep ourselves prepared and discern the signs of times. Jesus wants us not to be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life but watch and pray.
Flee and don’t turn back
Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.Luke 3:7-8
John questioned the multitude regarding who warned them to flee from the coming wrath and warned them to bear fruits worthy of repentance. Wrath of God will come exactly as He planned but He will warn us to flee only if we bear fruits worthy of repentance.
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.Luke 21:20-22
Jesus warned His disciples more than 40 years before the days of vengeance that happened in 70 AD and gave a clear escape plan on when and where to flee. Are we ready to leave everything behind, our livelihood and flee from His wrath if we are required to?
In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.Luke 17:31-33
When Jesus preached regarding His second coming, He taught us how to flee. He specifically mentioned Lot’s wife and taught us not to look back. “Looking back” by Lot’s wife is often lost in translations. Jesus explains it to show that Lot’s wife was trying to save her livelihood by turning back into Sodom.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?Luke 9:23-25
What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? Our life is more valuable than our livelihood.
Every city has a day of judgment
Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the LORD, the fire was quenched.Num 11:1-2
It is important to note that God can destroy the outskirts rather than the place itself if He is angry.
And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!Matt 10:14-15
We must also understand that every city has a day of judgment. If we listen to what Jesus taught, the severity of the punishment on the day of judgment for that city depends on the refusal to listen to His gospel by the people long before.
Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.Matt 11:20-24
Jesus rebuked the cities that did not repent in spite of His mighty works in those cities. None of the cities had any calamity or destruction immediately during the time of Jesus. But, Jesus declares that the severity of the punishment on the day of judgment for that city will be more than what happened to Sodom. We may be living in a location where the day of judgment for that place may be happening or about to happen.
What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? We must serve God and not money and be ready to throw away everything to save our lives on the day of His wrath. Our life is more important than our livelihood. Jesus expects us to discern the signs of the times, not to be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life but watch and pray. Every city has a day of judgment and the severity depends on unrepented people who lived long ago in that city and we may be living during the days of His judgment on that city. When God’s wrath is being poured out upon a place for the sins of the people, Jesus warns His children to flee and not to turn back to save our livelihood.