The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 170 of 210
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Running Away.
"But Jonah rose up to flee ..." (Jonah 1: 3).
pp. 110 - 113
In 1870-1880 voluntary organizations were set up to deal with the problem of children
"on the streets". One society, now known as The Children's Society, set out to help the
"waifs and strays". The basic problem remains today, for hundreds of children run away
from their homes. It is not our object to discuss this enormous problem, but to recognize
that in the Bible we find many examples of those who flee or run away. If a complete
study were to be made, more than 200 references would have to be consulted.
The prodigal son left home by arrangement, but it seems he made no effort to keep in
touch with his family so long as he had money in his pocket. It was only when he began
to be in want that he thought of his home. Then he realized his error and repented. He
returned to his father in a humble spirit and was accepted.
Onesimus was a runaway slave and Paul wrote a heart-stirring letter to Philemon, his
former master, pleading for his acceptance, not only as a slave, but as a brother in the
Lord. Paul admits that he was unprofitable, but now, says Paul, he is profitable to both
Philemon and Paul. Evidently, Onesimus was converted and became a "brother". So
both the prodigal son and Onesimus became changed men after they had run away and
both returned to their respective homes.
One of the earliest examples of a person running away from home is found in
Genesis 16: 4-9. Sarai, the wife of Abram, had no children and it was agreed that Sarai
should give her handmaid to Abram so that children should be obtained for the family.
The handmaid was Hagar, an Egyptian. But when it became obvious that Hagar was to
produce a child, there was jealousy and ill-feeling between the two women. Sarai treated
Hagar harshly, and in the end she could stand the persecution no longer, and she ran
away. Hagar fled from the face of Sarai, we are told (6). An angel appeared to Hagar
and told her to return home and to be obedient to her mistress (9). Hagar did as she had
been instructed. The angel told her that she should have a son and his name would be
Ishmael. He would be the first among a nation that was too large to be counted. Hagar
was not to be blamed for running away, but she was advised the correct way was to go
back home and do her duty.
David became popular with the people of Israel, so much so that Saul was jealous.
Indeed, Saul hated David and he gave instructions to his servants to kill him
(I.Sam.xix.1). Saul tried to kill him by throwing a javelin at him but David was unhurt
and escaped; he slipped out of Saul's presence and fled. He returned to his house and his
wife Michal, but Saul sent messengers to watch outside the house, and kill David when
he came out next morning. Michal was aware of the plot and let down David from a
window, so David escaped (19: 12). Was David wrong to "run away"? He had been
anointed king of Israel. His life was in danger. Surely it was right that David should take
reasonable steps to preserve his life in view of his duty to follow Saul as king of Israel.