Escape to the
Karen E. Pansler
Today Christ is calling you to leave the valley of folly and ascend the mountain of salvation.
Will it be an easy journey? No, of course not.
The path will be steep and rocky.
As most of you know, mountain climbing is strenuous work. Several years ago, my sister and I decided to hike a five mile mountain trail. A five mile trail isn’t too far, right? Well, when we got to about the third mile, the path became steep and rocky. It was a hot summer day and we were exhausted. We talked about turning back, but we were determined to climb to the top. The path became more rugged the higher we climbed, but we pressed onward and upward.
I will never forget how glad we were that we persisted. The view from the top of the mountain was so awe-inspiring that we lingered and lingered. How we regretted returning to the valley. Those of you who have climbed mountains know the awe-inspiring view from the mountaintop.
The hill or mountain occupies a prominent place in the Bible. Jesus preached His famous sermon on the mount. To the mountain He went to pray. When the people went to their own homes, Christ went to the Mount of Olives. On the hill of Golgotha He died. The mountain in Galilee was the meeting place with His apostles after the Resurrection. From the slope of Olivet He ascended to heaven.
Today Christ is calling some of you to climb the mount of salvation and leave Pleasure Valley. You hear Christ calling, “Come unto Me” and “Follow Me.” However, you reply, “Lord, I will follow Thee, but . . . I am young and there is plenty of time,” or, and this is the most foolish excuse, “But, Lord, I am too cool to follow You. Christians aren’t cool. I want to stay in Pleasure Valley where we are free to eat, drink, and be merry." And, so, you foolishly laugh believing Christians are oppressed and you are free.
But, my friends, Satan and his demons are laughing at you. For it is you who are in captivity. Christians are free from the bondage of sin. The truth sets Christians free to experience long-lasting joy, fellowship with God, peace, eternal life, and so much more.
On the other hand, falsehood fooled you into bondage. When you sold your soul to Satan to live in Pleasure Valley, he fooled you. Remember, Satan is the Father of Liars. Pleasure Valley is in reality the valley of folly – a fool’s paradise. You see, the pleasure in Pleasure Valley is short-lived. Oh, yes, there is pleasure for awhile, but sooner or later it is followed by misery, guilt, pain, suffering, and shame. Satan delights that he fooled you into buying land in the valley of folly for it is sinking sand. You are slowly sinking – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – and you are so foolishly caught up in sinful pleasure that you don’t even realize you’re sinking.
Today Christ is calling you to leave the valley of folly and ascend the mountain of salvation. Will it be an easy journey? No, of course not. The path will be steep and rocky. Sinful pleasures will have to be left behind. You may tire and think of turning back. But, if you persist, when you reach the holy mount where the air is always pure – the mount commanded by the heights of God’s presence – what an awe-inspiring view! You will never want to return to the valley!
Today flee the valley of folly and don’t look back. Don’t make the mistake of Lot’s wife of looking back and longing after the sinful surroundings you are trying to escape. Lot’s wife heard the call to escape, felt the danger, and fled. As she fled, she foolishly paused and turned back. That pause was death. She was turned into a pillar of salt. She failed to heed God when He warned them, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.”
Those of you living in the valley of folly, Christ is urgently calling you to flee to the mount of salvation today.
Let us pray:
You know those who have been fooled by Satan and are living in the valley of folly. Today may they hear Your voice calling them to arise and leave those sinful pleasures behind, and begin their ascent heavenward. May they heed Your call to repentance. Give them the strength and the courage to follow You.
Some material in this message is from The Pulpit Commentary.