Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Remember Lot's Wife

"Remember Lot's wife." Luke 17:32

This is one of the shortest verses in the Bible, but clearly Jesus felt that it had meaning for those in the end times. What was Jesus telling us here and how does it relate to His second coming?

In Genesis Chapter 18, three Heavenly messengers (whom Abraham collectively calls Lord) speak of the evils occurring in Sodom and Gomorrah. We have discussed previously how the wickedness at that time is reflected in man's nature at the end of time, with men being lovers of their own selves.

While certainly a literal historical event, in a lot of ways the story of Sodom and Gomorrah can also be seen as a symbolic illustration of the salvation experience itself.

In such an illustration, Sodom and Gommorah represents the world. It is described as a place whose sin was so grievous, it required a visitation from the Lord.

The angelic messengers represent the presentation of the Gospel. It gives light to those with eyes to see and points to the way of salvation, away from destruction. Yet, the very same results in blindness for those who are unrepentant (II Corinthians 4:1-4; Hebrews 3:7-8).

"And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door." Genesis 9:11

This blindness is so profound, that those who are unrepentant cannot even find the door, which is Christ Himself (John 10:7-9). Even those who receive the message still have no ability in and of themselves to affect their own salvation.

"And while he [Lot] lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city." Genesis 19:16

Lot recognized the messengers as Godly and had received them unto himself.  Yet, although they repeatedly told them to flee, he still lingered. The angels had to physically take hold of Lot and his family and compel them out of Sodom.

Man is a slave to sin and has no power to separate himself from sin. If God does not intervene and bring man out by His own power, man would be ever lost. Receiving the truth of the Gospel is not an act of man deciding to save himself; it is man acknowledging the one thing that reveals to us the door (Christ) whereby we might be saved. It is then God's mercy alone which brings us through that door unto salvation. In doing so, God sets us outside of the contaminations of the world and sin.

Notice, however, that being saved from Sodom was not the end of their journey.

"And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." Genesis 19:17

Once freed from the boundaries of the world/sin, they are then instructed not to stay where they are or even to look behind them, but to run to higher ground (Psalm 61:2; Isaiah 55:8-9; Philippians 3:14). This wasn't just a nice thing to do, but was necessary that they still not be consumed by the coming destruction (Isaiah 52:11; Jeremiah 51:6, 45, 50; Matthew 24:16; II Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:4)! They are told to escape for their lives to the mountain, which in Scripture is often a figure for God (Numbers 16:24-33; Psalm 2:6; Psalm 36:6; Psalm 125:2; Isaiah 2:2-3; Revelation 21:10).

Once we are separated from the world by God, we too must then run the race which takes us ever closer to God (Luke 16:16; Philippians 3:13-14; Hebrews 6:1; II Timothy 4:7). We cannot stand still in the Lord and we must not look back. The result of not heeding this warning is visible in Lot's wife.

"Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." Genesis 19:24-26

Now we see the importance of the angels' commands that they run to the mountain.  The cities, the inhabitants of the cities, the plains surrounding the cities, and all that grew upon the ground around the cities were destroyed.  When judgment comes, the only safe place to be found is in Christ.

Scripture does not say why Lot's wife looked back.  It could have been a longing for family, friends, possessions, or anything from that former life which was being left behind.  Per the angels' warning, she was indeed "consumed".

Perhaps this is why Jesus' very next warning to us after this is:

"Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." Luke 17:33

We cannot go forward into new life in Christ while looking backwards.  Attempting to do so merely compromises our walk with the Lord (Proverbs 14:14; Hebrews 10:38). We are called by God to be the salt of the earth, but when we nurture within us a longing for the things in the world, we become unusable. Instead of being salt poured out to preserve the way of the Lord in the earth, we become stoic and fortified within ourselves.  The direction of our focus shows us to still be lovers of our own selves and our own lives.

In the last days, when speaking of His imminent return, Jesus tells us to remember Lot's wife. Let us really consider these words and redeem the times.  Set your face like a flint to draw nearer to God and not be entangled in the affairs of this worldly life.

"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62


  1. I have a conjecture about why Lot's wife looked back (there might be plenty of other reasons, but this is one of mine). It might have been because she doubted that God would really destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. If you think about it, if fire and brimstone are raining down out of heaven -- the first instinct is to look and see what's really happening. But I think that the fact that Lot's wife entertained such doubtful thoughts shows that she did not fully trust and believe in God. God simply cannot use a doubting, unbelieving person. You're either a fully fledged follower of Christ or you are not.

    If you really believe God and his promises and warnings, you will heed them. You will stand and take action and not question what God is telling you.

    Romans 14:23: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

  2. HI Emily,

    Interesting points. I certainly agree that faith is essential, for as the Scriptures say:

    But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

    Your comments about the "first instinct" also stood out to me. The first instinct of the flesh is to doubt, to fear, to look at what we think we lose...or as Jesus says, to seek to save our lives.

    Consider even the story of Jesus and the disciples in the ship during the storm. The first instinct of the disciples was to fear, believing they were perishing. Yet, Jesus said, "Where is your faith?"

    In Christ, we can be changed from a natural man to a spiritual man, leaving behind that old man along with his fleshly ways and walking in newness of life by God's Spirit.

    I think all of this is encompassed in Jesus' command to "Remember Lot's wife." NOW is the time for us to examine ourselves and prepare ourselves for our Bridegroom's return (Revelation 19:7).

    If we are not feeding on His word and being perfected by His Spirit, then under times of pressure, we will find ourselves as foolish virgins without oil. We will find ourselves like Peter, verbally professing that we are ready to die for Christ, but later denying Him because we have not been prepared to stand.

    When faced with destruction or persecution, we cannot stand by simple will power. The flesh must be crucified so that we can truly be led of the Spirit.

    And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:24-25

    As you say, if we believe, we WILL heed Him in all things.

  3. I just love your comment...and I do agree and thanks for the insight.
    But answer this for me ...why would Lot offer his daughter to the men
    of Sodom to do whatever they wanted to,to them? Knowing these men were
    wicked and sinful.What was Lots' thinking. He knew the strangers were (angels)and could take care of them selfs. Maybe because they asked for the men,they would not want the girls? Is that it...?

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      That is actually a question I have mulled over myself before and I cannot say that I have any answers.

      One thing that sticks in my mind is that, at the end of the matter, God calls Lot righteous (II Peter 2:8). Yet when I consider what Lot had done - offering his daughters to the mob, getting drunk, allowing himself to have relations with his daughters... - none of these seem to be the acts of a righteous man.

      Some say that it was Lot's influences from Sodom which are to blame. But to be honest, there were flaws in Lot's character before he even set foot in that city. When Abraham allowed Lot to choose first the land where he would settle, Lot chose what appeared to be the more fertile & desirable land (Gen. 13:9-11). Not only was this selfish, but it was a huge sign of disrespect towards his uncle who was older and who had been called by God to make the journey in the first place. Second, Scripture records that Sodom & Gomorrah were exceedingly wicked, yet Lot pitches his tent towards Sodom and before we know it, he is dwelling in that city. There was something in him that was enticed by the wickedness of that city (Gen. 13:12, 14:12). These are the actions of a righteous man?

      When I consider my own life and my own evil deeds, I can tell you that such would be barely fit for writing. My sins & failures - while not the same as Lot's - could give him a run for the money in terms of selfishness, perversion, rebellion... Yet, Jesus says that I too am righteous (as are all His Bride). As then and as now, the righteousness we have is not based upon the soundness of our deeds as if we have earned such a distinction, but is received by faith (Rom. 4:3-13; Phil. 3:8-9). The righteousness of Jesus is imputed to us who believe so that His righteousness can then be imparted to us, making us what He is as we are conformed to His image.

      So in spite of Lot's shortcoming's, there still must have been something in him that believed God. When God commanded Abram to leave the land of his kin and go to Canaan, Lot was not even mentioned. Yet Lot went with Abraham (Gen. 12:4). Why did he do this? No other family members did. We are told what a big leap of faith it was for Abraham to obey God in this matter (Heb. 11:8-10). Well consider Lot who - for all we know based on what is in Scripture - did not have any such direct revelation from God. He had to believe without seeing, without hearing. And he continued to follow Abram into the unknown and even in perilous situations (Gen. 13:1). Further, while he did choose to live in Sodom, the evil of their doings did vex his soul (II Pet. 2:7-8). So there was something in him that could not join himself completely to that wickedness. There must have been some modicum of faith (even the size of a mustard seed) whereby Lot recognized and believed God. And that belief was enough to have his sin covered and for him to be declared righteous before God - as it is with us.

      So the only answer I can come up with as to why Lot offered his daughters in that horrible way is because he was a sinner. He was ruled by a fallen sin nature which he could not change. It is not a decision that I believe we can make sense of because the ways of a carnal mind are against God's ways. Thank God though that through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we can be born again to become partakers of the divine nature (II Pet. 1:4); we can have our minds renewed (Eph. 4:23). We don't have to stay enslaved to sin, but can be given the victory over it in Christ.

      As I said, no concrete answers here, but such are my thoughts in the matter.

      God Bless!


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