It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 (NLT)
in reality, it is a simple question. How do we decide what to do and where to live? Depending upon our circumstances, we have the freedom to move. As a child of God, what factors should we be considering as to whether we stay where we are or move someplace else?
How much consideration should we give to convenience or affordability? Should we seek to live where the values and morality reflect what we value? Alternatively, do we stay where we are because of familiarity and ease when we could thrive or be more useful somewhere else?
The key phrase in our text is “God called him to leave home and go…” I have lived in California most of my life. The decision to come to California was not my own, but what about the decision to stay? Many things have changed in the last 57 years. Three years after we arrived, Ronald Reagan was elected governor, but today, Gavin Newsom is the governor at the other end of the political spectrum.
We hear the news that there is a great exodus from California. Typical reasons include the high cost of living, the hectic pace of life, and a hostile political environment for people of faith. They are all legitimate concerns, but are Christ-followers overlooking something in their decision process concerning where they reside?
Compassion or judgment?
The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3 (NLT)
We may have one thousand legitimate reasons for wanting to leave a place where we no longer believe that we are welcome, yet there could be one reason for staying that overrides all other considerations. Where does God want me to be? I have written and preached on the importance of having our heart aligned with God’s in recent months.
In Psalm 11, after David asks the question, “what can the righteous do,” he goes on to proclaim, But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. Psalm 11:4 (NLT). There may be a time when fleeing is appropriate, but there is also a time for standing in the gap, letting our light shine brightly, and intercession.
I find it interesting that whereas God came to Abraham decreeing destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah, that Abraham was trying to find a way to save those cities. As you remember, he began by asking God if he would spare them if 50 righteous people were living there. Not being confident that God could find 50 righteous people, Abraham worked his way all the way down to 10 people.
Here is the point: do we have hearts that are inclined to see the destruction of communities, states, or even nations that are far from God, or will we weep and have compassion. Are we more interested in looking out for our own self-interests than we are in the interests of those who are lost?
A Correct Perspective
Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left…” 1 Kings 18:22 (NIV)
The pressure of the moment can cause even the most spiritual among us to have a distorted view of our present circumstances. Elijah, facing the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, may have thought that he was all alone. Later, he would find out that 7000 others were remaining true and faithful to God.
Around 40 million people live in California. Those who are faithful to God are without a doubt a minority, but, So, what does all this mean? If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us? Romans 8:31 (TPT)
If the objective of our lives is to remain comfortable and out of harm’s way, then we should seek to flee to places that are more hospitable and comfortable. However, if we believe that there is still hope for redemption and that God is gracious and merciful, we must take a stand.
Here are some words of wisdom and a prayer for us. “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes…” 2 Kings 6:16–17 (NLT)
Many people are walking around today, unable to see things as they really are. This world and the evil one have blinded them. It may seem to us as an impossible mission, but with God, all things are possible.
Should We Go or Should We Stay?
For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:7–8 (NLT)
The bottom line for the child of God should never be about ease or convenience. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (NIV). Being in the center of the battle is brutal. It can be tiring and make us weary. At times, victory seems distant. Not everyone will be an intercessor or be willing to stand in the gap.
The answer to the question “where should I be,” is not easy to answer. God may call us away for a season of rest in preparation. He may be strategically placing us in a position for his purposes. There are many kinds of battles. In any case, let us “put on the whole armor of God” and stand firmly, securely, knowing that he has promised to always be with us.