#82 "Is Your Heart Still In Sodom?"
February 6, 2007
"Remember Lot's wife!" (Luke 17: 32)
"But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." (Genesis 19: 26)
We don't even know her name. She's Lot's wife. That's all we know. Her end is commonly treated as one of the difficulties of the Bible. There can be the tendency to read Genesis 19: 26 and keep on reading. But later in Luke 17: 32, Jesus Himself says, "Remember Lot's wife!" Her story was important enough for Jesus to mention her name and tell us to remember her and the lesson contained in her short appearance in the Old Testament. So...if Jesus said it, that is what we need to do.
Sodom was about to be destroyed because of its' sinful inhabitants. God sent messengers to Lot to warn him of the impending destruction and to command him to take his family and to get out. The Bible says that Lot hesitated. Early in the morning the messengers literally had to drag Lot from the city. One of my commentaries asks the question, "Why do some of God's people fall in with the corrupt world rather than willingly flee a society destined for destruction?" Why, indeed?
Mrs. Lot was married to an upright citizen. He was hospitable and generous as seen in verses 2 and 3, where he offered hospitality to strangers. He was a community leader. Actually he was a judge, for he "was sitting in the gateway of the city" (v. 1). Lot had prominence in this wicked city, so I imagine that Mrs. Lot enjoyed being married to such an important man. Lot was also prosperous. Genesis 13: 5 tells us that he had many tents, flocks and herds. Mrs. Lot had money. She was the wife of a successful man. She probably had a very nice home on a spacious piece of property. For Mrs. Lot, Sodom held prominence, security, wealth and notoriety. They were most likely leaving daughters and grandchildren behind. (see Genesis 19:14) Knowing this, we get a bird's eye view on why the Lots didn't really want to say goodbye to Sodom. She was more concerned with her stuff than with her soul and her very life.
Mrs. Lot made some effort to escape the disaster but she let her curiosity and her love for the things of Sodom cause her to disobey orders and look back. The Bible says that she even had the angels grasp her by the hands and lead her out of the city. For goodness sake! They warned her...they led her...and still she didn't listen. And it was fatal! Her love of her possessions turned a movement into a monument. She became fixed to the very spot where she looked back, becoming a pillar of salt, covered and encrusted with deposits from the raining brimstone. And there she remained for many years, a dreadful warning against disobedience to the specific commands of God. Someone has said, "She stood, a silent sentinel to sordid selfishness." But she was not forgotten. Jesus commands his followers and you today..."Remember Lot's wife!"
It is that last thing that we are unwilling to give up that brings destruction to our souls. One more look at the world turned Lot's wife into a sack of salt. One more grip on the world turned Saul's soul into a cavern of despair, and dulled the heavens until God would not hear his cry. One more bag of silver caused Judas to betray Christ and to lose his soul. What are you unwilling to give up for Christ?
Mrs. Lot knew the danger but she still looked back. We know the dangers. God has not left us alone to make our way in this world. He warns us through His Word and the Holy Spirit about the things that we are to avoid and run from. He commands us to flee from evil. He commands us that "no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Following Christ requires... no... demands, that we leave the old life...the old sins...the old habits and our obsession with earthly things. We think that we can linger a little longer...play a little more. But right after Jesus tells us to remember Lot's wife, He says, "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." We have to live in this world, but the world must not live in us. The warning is clear...get out and don't look back! Remember Lot's wife...remember how she perished. She died in unbelief...disobedient to God's Word.
What is so good back there anyway? Why do we insist on looking back? Did our sin give us the abundant life? Did we find lasting happiness and contentment following the god of this world? When we look back, we often have the tendency to focus on the good times, the fun times and the pleasant memories. But really look closely at your past life before Christ. Remember the ugliness, the sin, the hurt, the disappointment. Do you really want to go back there? Do you really think that this world has more to offer you than Christ? The apostle Paul even asked the Galatians why they would want to go back to life the way it was before they were in the Spirit of God.
There is a day coming when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will be revealed for all to see. And Jesus warns us that on that day, we are to go back for NOTHING! That's where He says to "Remember Lot's wife!" We have to learn this lesson right now, today. We have to break our attachments to this world now, before it's too late. We need to get attached to Jesus and Jesus alone. Not our possessions. Not our family. Not our friends. Not our sin. Any delay could be fatal. If we don't make the break now...we will just become more and more attached to this world and grow further and further away from Christ. Jesus reminded His followers that people should not be attached to their material things at the time of the coming of the kingdom for they, like Lot's wife, will be judged accordingly.
A Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jimmy interrupted. "My Mom looked back once while she was DRIVING," he announced triumphantly, "and she turned into a telephone pole!" Looking back is always disastrous.
Search your heart. Is it still in Sodom? Remember Lot's wife.
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