O you children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the middle of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa…
That spirit-stirring call of the text, so needful to arouse the Chaldeans on their march to the ancient, is as needful for us on our pilgrimage to the new, Jerusalem.
1. In other passages, the early years of childhood and youth are pointed out as the special time for God's service. While the heart is warm and pliant. Ere the hardening influence of a selfish world, having closed it to the Saviour's call, has swept and garnished it for tenantry of evil.
2. "Arise, and let us go up at noon." It is midday with you, to whom the text is speaking. It is the period for active endeavour. Now the calls of the world are dinned most loudly into your ears. In the earlier hours, and at the close of your passing day, you were and will be alike incapable of prolonged toil. Now the requirement is made of you, and to what behests does it bid you attend? Make the most of your time. Are you poor? Strive for independence. Are you rich? Strive for place and power. Are you intellectual? Seek a sphere for display, a stage for self-glorification. Thus speaks the world, and were some of its directions pursued in moderation, pursued subordinate to higher and nobler motive, there might be wisdom in our chastened regards. But, alas! how many go to extreme in these observances, and become the slaves of time and sense. Apply those misdirected energies to a nobler cause. The rewards of time are not worth such care as this. In themselves, they are of scarce more value than the withered leaves which crowned the victor in the ancient games. Arise, and go up at noon to seek the incorruptible crown. Ye are soldiers engaged in warfare. The sword is drawn. The banner is spread. Its emblem is the Cross. Your weapons are not carnal. The din of military music shall not spur you to the dangerous assault; but strains of sweetest melody shall speak to you of peace, peace on earth, goodwill to men; peace which the world can neither give nor take away.
3. But have you passed that period of activity, and in your retrospect of its busy hours do you feel how prodigally your energies have been wasted? Have ungodly habits become so confirmed, that now at your journey's end, being dead to the enticements of the present, you are not alive to the requirements of the future? Shall an appeal, which might impress a heart yet warm and flexible, fall coldly on the worn and weary conscience of the aged? The gracious and long-suffering Master has still this call to summon you, "Arise, and let us go by night." Ye have heard and disregarded the call throughout the day, and therefore may not be as those who, having never been hired earlier, received every man a penny, but whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. Go by prayer and penitence, by sought and found spiritual guidance, or soon the light of life will be extinguished in outer darkness.
4. But ye have been watchful and faithful. Ye arose, and went up at noon. It is not woeful to you that the day goeth away. It is no cause of regret that the shadows of evening are stretched out. "Behold! I come quickly," the Saviour says to you; and joyfully ready is your reply, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." All things are yours: love and reverence from all without, peace unspeakable from all within. Ye shall arise and go. The shadows stretched before you shall be dispelled forever, and the brightness of that noon which shall fade no more shall rest upon you.
Parallel VersesKJV: O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.
WEB: "Flee for safety, you children of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise up a signal on Beth Haccherem; for evil looks forth from the north, and a great destruction.