At any given time I am probably reading several books in addition to the Bible. I'm usually working my way through a theological book of some sort, a "practical" book and a fiction book. In the theological category, I've been reading The Mission of God by Christopher J.H. Wright. I came across this line and thought it was applicable to our recent looks at the life of Abraham.
"There is a certain irony in the biblical narrative that records Abraham being called out of the land of Babel, not into some heavenly paradise but into the land of Sodom. Whatever else the story of redemption will be, it is not a story of escapism."
Don't mistake my calls for heavenly-mindedness to be calls for mental or physical escape from the pains and cries of a world without hope and without God. As Christian Hedonists, we must make it our supreme goal of life to love our neighbors as ourselves. This love for our neighbors is the flip-side of our love for God. One cannot exist without the other in the same way you can't have a coin without heads and tails.
When God calls us out of the darkness and into his marvelous light, he is creating lovers of others. When we are born naturally, we are born haters. Haters of God and haters of others. Romans 3:9-18 makes this clear. When we are born again through the Spirit of God, we are born lovers. Lovers of God and lovers of others.
We, like Abraham, are not called out of Babel directly into heaven. We are called out of Babel and sent into Sodom. That is uncomfortable and burdensome. But that is a Christian's call. It look like this:
Born once without God in Babel ---- Born again and sent to cry to God for the redemption of Sodom ---- Carried home to be with God in Heaven when he decides our mission is completed.
Please do not try to bypass Sodom - the sinful, oppressed, hopeless world around you - and go directly from Babel to heaven. Don't escape the sinful pain of the this world by locking yourself away in your house, or closing your ears to their cries. It's just not the way God has planned his mission. God's mission began with Jesus before the world was created. It has continued through Adam, Noah, Moses, David, Solomon, Elijah, the Gospel and YOU.