Dodge City, Kansas made the perfect background for many of the early westerns that hit the silver screen. Any title character was the game-changing lawman who took on the town that was historically and notoriously known for its gunslingers, reckless living, violence, and pretty much the hub for all things unabiding and uncouth. Dodge became the epitome of frontier lawlessness, and those who resided there were in a collective agreement: every man or woman for himself. What initially seemed like a good time, a get rich quick plan, or a temporary set of circumstances became a way of life for most those who stayed, and ironically for many, that is exactly what it cost them to stay in Dodge: their life. Those few that escaped the cruel fates of this city, these ethical outsiders who found themselves living inside its “walls”, could see the turn of the tide, and knew it was time to get the heck out of Dodge.
Dodge City is not alone for its notoriety as an evil city. Abraham’s nephew, Lot and his family hailed from Sodom and Gommah, cities God destroyed with sulfur and fire because of their wickedness. God also gave instructions to Joshua to destroy the seven nations that were descended from Canaan (who did equally despicable things including child sacrifice). Additionally, a once-blessed Babylon is handed over to Darius which would lead to an idiom in its own right, because God spoke through the “handwriting on the wall.” In each of these instances, God provides opportunities for the inhabitants of the places to get the heck out. (Angel’s warning and Lot’s escape (Genesis 19); Jericho’s march and Rahab’s salvation (Joshua 6); Jeremiah; Israelites spared (Daniel 5)
As we see in the prophecy delivered in Revelation, there is a new nation that is forming/formed that is not the Babylon of old, but a new one represented by an adulterous woman (Rev 12) There are definite similarities in the wickedness that is taking place in the future and that of Babylon’s past. This new Babylon is a place of great excess which results in every opportunity to do evil (including the destruction of God’s prophets), and possibly a physical location to the events that are taking place near New Jerusalem (although some think it may be a western civilization like the United States) soon to be established by Jesus. So what is the word given for those who reside in this place? That same warning delivered by Jeremiah 600 years prior: Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! (Jeremiah 51:6)
We do not need to be able to pinpoint on a map where this new Babylon is in order to make plans to run in the direction of God. He will deliver those who follow his perfect and pleasing will, making a way for those who choose Him. While the United States or the Western World may or may not be the Babylon spoken of here in this text, with some quick conjecture, there are striking similarities in the way our culture is rapidly shifting in the last half-century or so. The quest to be the source of knowledge is valued more than faith in God Almighty. Our wealth and standard of living continue to increase, but so do our distractions and devices. Lawful and unlawful wickedness occurs even to the point that lives of children are being destroyed. So, does this mean that we should flee to a new country? Probably not. And it isn’t our physical location that is the primary issue. It is the heart. We need to make distinctions about our citizenship – it is kingdom bound first. We are simply in this world, not living for it.
So where have you made your encampment? Just outside of Sodom? It won’t be long before you are inside the city walls (Genesis 13:12). Is your indulgence a constant? Then it is not a vacation home — it’s where you live. Run away from Sodom! Flee from Babylon! Get the heck out of Dodge! This is a cry to myself and to you. Keep yourself from getting tangled in the web of fulfilling your every whim, pursuing knowledge that gives you some sort of power or position, and desiring things that have nothing to do with God’s kingdom. Your diplomas, your clothing, your dwelling, and your status are the commodities of moths. Bridle your body so your hands and feet are available to do the work of God or physically move if you must (FLEE! 2 Timothy 2:22) Only then can we be saved from the fate of Babylon and live in the fullness of the new city worth taking up residence.
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Revelation 14-18
Tomorrow we finish the book and the year with Revelation 19-22.
Stay tuned for the big unveil – SeekGrowLove’s Bible Reading Plan for 2021!