Whenever I gave a test to the students of the High School Spanish class I taught, I always tried to prepare them thoroughly for the test because I wanted them to succeed. If they carefully followed my instructions they would do well, but if they ignored my advice, they would not do well on the test.
God wanted the believers in the young church at Jerusalem to survive the great trial that was coming upon that city so He told them very clearly what they must do. The Roman armies were marching through Palestine, headed toward Jerusalem, The farmers and herdsmen of the entire countryside gathered their families and fled to Jerusalem where they would enjoy the protection of the huge walls that surrounded the city, and the heavily armed Jewish army on the walls guarding the city. Besides, within the city was the temple of the Most High God, and certainly He would not permit the despised gentiles to touch His city and His temple. In the mind of the Jewish people, Jerusalem was definitely the place to be.
But about 40 years earlier Jesus had specifically told his followers to flee to the mountains when they saw the gentile armies came against Jerusalem. To flee looked like a foolish thing to do. People from the surrounding areas were flooding into Jerusalem to find safety and should the believers leave that place of protection? Those who heeded the warning of Jesus and fled, survived, but those who ignored the warning died in the terrible slaughter that followed, not only throughout the city, but even within the temple itself.
Our faithful God also wants us to survive the trials that come into our lives today so He has given us warnings in the Scriptures. He stresses three things of great importance:
DRAW NEAR TO GOD
The veil into the Holy of Holies had been torn open from top to bottom signifying that the way into the very presence of God is now open through the blood of Jesus. You don’t need a priest to go into God’s presence on your behalf but you yourself can now go boldly into the very presence of the Father in the name of the Son. Draw near to Him in faith and draw daily on His strength. Personal revival is the greatest protection against making foolish and disastrous decisions in times of grievous trials.
LAY HOLD ON THE WORD OF GOD
He is faithful to all of His promises and you can depend on every word He has said. We need to get into the Word of God and know what it says so we will not follow the crowd and head directly into the place of destruction. The way of the world seems so logical and so right that only a clear understanding of the Scriptures can help us reject the disaster of human solutions to serious problems. It requires reading the Bible daily, memorizing key verses of the Bible and meditating on what those verses are saying. It means reading the Bible and praying with your wife and children. It is like learning a foreign language – you have to saturate yourself until it becomes a very real part of you. There is no easy way.
STAY CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD
If you want to put out a campfire you just scatter the hot coals. If you want to stay warm spiritually, stay close to your brothers in Christ. Get to church, to Sunday School, to home fellowship Bible Studies, to prayer meetings. We need each other and need to exhort each other daily as we see difficult days approaching.