Thursday, December 1, 2011

Looking Back on Lot's Wife

Why did Lot's wife look back on Sodom and Gomorrah? Why was that so bad that she was turned into a pillar of salt? We'd like to suggest the reason.

To review, when Abraham couldn't find even ten righteous people in the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, his nephew Lot was told to gather his family and leave because the Lord was going to have the whole place destroyed. He was told not to look back. Lot obeyed and took his wife and daughters. On the way out of town, Lot's wife did something that can give us some important insight into our own hearts. But first let's use our imaginations a little and set the stage, assuming she was not among the very wicked.

Sodom was where Lot's wife lived. It was her home, where she was raising her family. She probably went to some sort of church, belonged to ladies' groups, had friends she loved and regular activities she participated in. Sure, there was a lot of wickedness going on, but her friends didn't seem to think it was wicked at all and she had learned to look the other way. It was just the way things were. You got used to it.

Then the Lord said they had to leave. We assume Lot's wife knew why. It was pretty bad. People were totally ignoring God and His laws according to Abraham and all the ancient teachings and prophets, and spreading bad ideas and acting up in all sorts of lawless ways. Of course she had to go with her husband and family, especially since the place was going to be destroyed.

On the way out of town, Lot's wife turned back for one last look at everything she had called home going up in smoke. And in that moment of hesitation, we are told she was turned into a pillar of salt. Why did she look back and why did she seem to self-destruct, to lose her soul?

Maybe at the last moment something pulled on Lot's wife's heartstrings. Perhaps it suddenly hit her what she was leaving behind and how her friends were dying. Sure, there was some wickedness, but this was her home, her church, these were her good friends, this was her life. Was it really so bad as that? It was a moment of weakness, but apparently a character-defining one, one that revealed what kind of person she really was. Perhaps she was a bit too comfortable living in Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe she cherished it as her real home. Maybe she was sorry to leave it, deep down. Maybe she realized she would rather have stayed there than have to start all over again in a new place with new friends. Maybe she didn't mind the wicked environment, so long as she had her life and her comforts, so long as her own family was righteous. Maybe she was sorry for all the wrong reasons.

Now, what if you and I lived in Sodom and Gomorrah? Oh, wait, we do. We've been told the world is even more wicked now than it was then. Would we be sorry if the Lord told us we had to leave? Would our thoughts betray us? As in . . .

Sure, there's some goofy stuff going on, but there's a lot of good stuff mixed in. Why should we miss out? Besides, we do pretty well looking the other way. Maybe the destruction thing is only a bluff. Surely the Lord wouldn't destroy all our friends. Emphasize the positive, overlook the negative, we always say!

Do we tend to tidy up the reality of the wickedness occurring so we can go on with our daily routines, enjoy our entertainments and activities, keep all our friends and associations, advance in our standing and positions?

Well, we prefer to call that being non-judgmental.
We take a lot of pride in being non-judgmental. Isn't that what Jesus was all about, just loving everybody and being tolerant and respectful of all beliefs and ideas? Just live and let live? Maybe the bad ideas and behaviors will go away if we ignore them.

Would we be reluctant to leave it all behind if the Lord commanded us to, even though we knew it was wicked beyond repair?

Well, why not? It isn't so bad once you've gotten used to it!

If we did decide to obey, would we look back in a moment of weakness and regret?

How could we resist? It would be so unfeeling seeing as how it was the home we loved and was about to be destroyed!

It seems we mustn't get too comfortable with the ways of the world. In fact, we'd best forsake Sodom and Gomorrah now, deep down in our hearts. Our hearts need changing, if they haven't been, and then they need continual turning back to God. Imperfect and in need of a Savior as we all are, we can still be certain where our real treasure lies and where our true loyalties are. On important unchanging issues we can know what is right and what is wrong. Come what may, we can be firm in our beliefs. We can practice loving God more than any earthly thing, feel His love, and never look back.

No comments: