Should You Flee or Stay?

The shrewd man saw trouble and took cover; the simple kept going and paid the penalty (Proverbs 22:3).

From my 2012 Journal. I’ve often thought about how the Psalmist David fled from King Saul; but the 3 young captives Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stayed put and refused to bow before an idol at the king’s mandate. Corrie ten Boom hid Jews in Holland during Hitler’s regime, while others refused to harbor fugitives. What’s the right thing to do? Flee from harm’s way or stand your ground and take the consequences? What about Mary and Joseph? God could have simply put a miraculous, sword-proof shield around the holy family or made them invisible to the soldiers’ eyes. But God chose to remove them from the situation. He told them to flee to Egypt.

What would have happened if David had stood his ground and confronted Saul instead of running? Or if the Jews hadn’t gone into hiding? Or if Shad, Mesh, and Abed had fled the country?

When the Israelites were besieged by the Babylonian army, God instructed them not to resist—just surrender and go into captivity. Instead, the leaders and the people fought back, tried to escape, and hid—and many lost their lives as a result. Later, God told the remnant to do the opposite: stay put and not flee to Egypt. The key, I think, is obedience to the Spirit of God who knows what’s best.

I can’t say I’ve ever been in this situation, so it’s hard to predict what I might do. But I think about it. Have you ever experienced this dilemma? How did you choose and why?

If you refrain from rescuing those taken off to death—those condemned to slaughter—If you say, “we knew nothing of it,” surely he who fathoms hearts will discern [the truth]. He who watches over your life will know it. And he will pay each man as he deserves (Proverbs 24:11).

2 thoughts on “Should You Flee or Stay?

  1. Thought-provoking, as usual. I’d have to reread S,M, and A’s story again, but weren’t they captives? I think they help positions somewhere, because why would anyone care about three young men who didn’t eat the king’s meat? I’m sure there were others who did the same, so as usual, there was more to the story than we know. However, the point is that they may not have had a choice to flee, so they took a stand. Corrie and her family took a stand, too, based on their beliefs. I’ve read her story several times, and she ended up forgiving her captors, but i think it must have been a process; she lost her entire family because of that decision; I wonder if she ever felt it wasn’t worth the cost?

    Your point that it’s obedience to the Lord’s commands is true. We live in uncertain/chaotic times, and I ponder much — and then give it to the Lord, because this is bigger than I am. I often think of Corey Ten Boom’s father’s wise advice to her about things that are bigger/heavier than us and her trust that her father was right. I like that i can trust the Lord to take care of things before they get here, or if they get here, that He’ll take care of me. And if He doesn’t, those were my days numbered and I’m going to Heaven. I win any way I look at it.


    • Yes, SMA were captives, but I suspect they had high positions at the time and perhaps could have bribed their way out of town. If they’d fled, however, I’m sure they wouldn’t have gotten far. Attempts to flee have been made in the direst of circumstances. I think it took great courage to take a stand.


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