My wife was sharing a scripture with me that has been on her mind for the last couple of days. So, I was thinking about it, and I want to share my thoughts on the scripture verse that she share with me. She shared the following verse with me:
32 Remember Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:32 KJV)
It made me go back to the actual verses in Genesis. The story of Lot and his situation is covered in Genesis 11-14 & 19. However, I only want to focus on the scene where they were told to leave Sodom, and head for the hills! The verses we will focus on are:
15 At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. “Hurry,” they said to Lot. “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!” 16 When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful. 17 When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” 24 Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19: 15-17 & 24-26 NLT)
In the situation with Lot and his family, they were living in an evil city whose inhabitants refuse to repent from their wicked, immoral lifestyles. It had reached to the point where their hearts were so hardened and unrepentant, that is, unwilling to change, that God had to execute a just punishment of destruction. Some people may argue that everyone has the right to live the way they want. However, would anyone rightly argue that people have to right to violate the rights of others? Rape and unrestrained lust was common in Sodom, and this was as a result of people’s refusal to accept God’s laws as a means of living a just life, one that loves God and others fellow human beings. The important thing to note was that Lot and his family was living among them.
God’s action to warn Lot was of particular importance, because it shows just how different God is from us. As humans, we have this concept that we can sacrifice the few for the many. We think of the few just one as casualty of war. However, God doesn’t see us as that. Although God had judged the destruction of Sodom, He gave Lot the chance to get out, and to save his family, even his (betrothed) sons-in-law, who didn’t take him seriously. When we are in a terrible environment, and God tells us to move on, He is doing it for a purpose to save us from the pain of suffering along with the guilty, and also to give us the chance to get something better (verse 15).
Notice that Lot hesitated. We often do that, in our fear and anxiety, not knowing what will happen next. This reminds me of Matthew 26:41, which says,
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
However, in spite of Lot’s weakness, God was merciful in forcing Lot and his family to leave. Most of us would have just said, Well, whatever! If you want to stay it’s your business. I can’t be bothered with you.” But, God is different, His love demands the best for us. Oftentimes, we confuse this very point that love ensures the best for us. Even as parents, some parents think that if you love the child you allow them to do what they want. I have to disagree with that. Children don’t always know what is best for them. And if we truly love them, we won’t allow them to go down the wrong road, as long as we are responsible for them. This is exemplified in God’s reaction to Lot’s hesitation.
Nonetheless, the most important lesson to be learnt in the story is that when God tells you don’t look back, He means it! The act of leaving is not enough. We have to change out mind and our heart! We can’t pretend to follow God’s law by appearing to leave something behind but still thinking about that very thing. From examining my own self, I believe that the only thing that would make Lot’s wife want to look back at Sodom is that the desire to stay there was still in her heart. I don’t believe it was just curiosity. She totally disregarded a direct warning from the angels (verse 17) and deliberately looked back. As a result of that, she was turned into a pillar of salt.
It is interesting to consider that she was turned into a pillar of salt. The idea of pillar refers to that of a statue, and the idea of salt refers to a fossil. These meanings are very significant. A statue is something that doesn’t move or change. It is fixed in time, and unable to develop any further. A fossil is something is that useless, obsolete, and has no value in current environments. When we keep our hearts and minds focussed on anything that God has told us to ‘let go’ or ‘leave behind’, we become just like a pillar of salt, stuck and obsolete.
‘Don’t look back!’ This is the message of this post. When we look back, we are unable to look and move forward. When God tells you to stop and move on, just do it, and focus on what is ahead. If you don’t, the only person who will get hurt is you. If you stay you will be stunting your own growth, and your own opportunities. It can be heard when the road ahead is unclear, and nothing is surely defined. However, when God gives a command, the only way to respond to it is in faith. After all, without faith it is impossible to please God. Go where your faith in God leads you. God won’t leave you nor forsake you. Just trust Him, and wherever you go, “Don’t look back!”