I met Lam in a dining facility at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. As we were chatting I asked him when he came to the United States. Lam escaped from Viet Nam at the age of eleven with an uncle and his older brother. His parents were afraid that when he turned thirteen he would be forced to serve in the military and potentially die or come back maimed as so many of their countrymen who were forced as children to fight the Cambodians.
Lam left Ho Chi Minh City crossing through Cambodia (Kampuchea) into Thailand where he remained as a refugee until an uncle in the United States claimed him and paid for him to travel to Chicago. He nearly starved to death in that camp waiting for three hours daily in line to get a bowl of soup. Now serving at the age of 44 as a Captain in the U.S. Army, he is filled with gratitude for his freedom and God’s hand of protection on his life.
Judges 20:46,47; 21:13,14--All the Benjaminites who died that day were 25,000 armed men; all were warriors. But 600 men escaped into the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon and stayed there four months . . . The whole congregation sent a message of peace to the Benjaminites who were at the rock of Rimmon. Benjamin returned at that time, and Israel gave them the women they had kept alive from Jabesh-gilead. But there were not enough for them.
Behind the action of escaping is a palpable sense of fear. Six hundred Benjaminites felt the terror of battling countrymen outraged at the conduct of Gibeah (see Judges 19). As thousands were cut down by spears, arrows, and swords, they managed to flee to Rimmon. Imagine what emotions cascaded through their minds as they foraged for food and water for four months just to survive. It was a dark time in Israel. While the outcome for those traumatized soldiers was the provision of women to marry, they would never forget the cost of a city’s sin and the consequence of fighting for an immoral cause.
We are surrounded by people escaping. Some are distant like Lam and flee from oppression. Some like the warriors of Benjamin flee punishment as a consequence of their own ill-fated decisions. But the most tragic flight is those whose hearts are closed to the reality of God and the salvation He extends through His Son, Jesus. “For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent of life leading to life. And who is competent for this?”(2 Corinthians 1:15,16)
They run—while we escaping their escape—pursue our own paths. But are we as calloused as a farmer’s hands to their plight? Paul wrote Timothy, “Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25b,26). The irony is that people want to escape from a God that loves them while they remain trapped by a devil that hates them! Let us ensure that we are not like Jonah, fleeing because we do not want to obey God’s call to share His message to a lost world running.
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)