Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32).
What happened to Lot’s wife?
Judgment was coming. The wickedness in the city had become so great that it had polluted the very land upon which it stood, and God had had enough. He had sent His missionary to the city, but instead of warning them about their sin, Lot had done his best to fit in with them. He and all his family had assimilated into the lifestyle of the people there. His older daughters married men of the city and started families of their own. His wife made friends with the other women. The two daughters who remained at home had their circle of friends too. And he, the man of the house, was well known and respected in the leadership of the city.
But judgment was coming. Lot was respected as a political leader, but not as a follower of Jehovah. When the angels came to warn him of the impending judgment, they told him to gather his family and get them out of the city. Immediately he ran to the homes of his married daughters and pled with his sons-in-law to come, but they thought he was joking. They could not take him seriously because it was so out of character for him to be concerned about their spiritual condition.
But judgment was still coming. The angels said, “Flee to the mountains with your wife and the two daughters here with you.” But they lingered still. In mercy the angels took all four of them by the hand and pulled them out of the city into safety.
The imminence of their danger had not set in. Lot said, “The mountains are so far away and so dangerous. Who knows what might happen to us there. Can’t we please just go into this small city over here?”
The angel agreed and promised to spare that city from judgment for his sake, then gave one final admonition. “Go now, hurry, and do not look back.”
As Lot, his wife, and his daughters entered the gate of the small city, the sky began to glow an eerie orange-red. The air turned warm as the smell of sulphur rolled over them. Distant screams and the crackling of fire pierced their ears and their hearts. Suddenly this dream became a nightmare, and the reality of what was happening began to sink in. Judgment had come. And everyone who remained inside the city would soon be dead. Their daughters. Their sons-in-law. Perhaps even grandchildren. Friends and neighbors. Coworkers. It was too much too lose—too much to bear. Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Why did she look back?
I do believe she looked back because of the family and friends she left behind, but that was not all she missed. The angels hadn’t given her time to pack. She had left the city with nothing but the clothes on her back, and she had been wealthy. Now all of that was gone. Every last bit of her earthly possessions was in flames. God had spared her life, and all she could think of what was what He had taken from her. How do I know this is what she was thinking? The admonition in Luke 17:32 is spoken in the context of impending judgment. Let’s look at it together with verse 31:
“In that day, he who shall be upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife.”
Could it be that she cared more about her possessions than she did about her own children? Wow!
What can we learn from Lot’s wife?
When I was little, we used to go to Grandma’s house for Christmas. One year in particular I well recall, as we returned home late in the night. Dad parked the station wagon outside our two-story home and carried us sleeping girls into the house one at a time. He carried me in last and tucked me into my bed. A few minutes later there was an explosion, and we could see flames directly outside the second-story window of my bedroom. Our station wagon was on fire. The vehicle and everything in it was lost. All our luggage, and all our brand new Christmas gifts were gone—but our lives were spared, and as far as I can remember, that was all that mattered. Other people too have lost everything in a fire or natural disaster. Things can be replaced, but you only get one life. What you do with this life, how you live it, is what matters in eternity.
Consider the words of Jesus from Matthew 6:25-34…
Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than food, and the body than clothing? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take you thought for clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Therefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, How shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought of the things for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Jesus does not ask us to do without. That’s not my point at all. But He asks us to let Him be our Provider. If I trust God to meet my needs for food, clothing, and shelter, then I will not worry what will happen to me if I lose them. My life is in His hands. He knows what I need, and He is not going to give the flowers of the field and the birds in the trees more care than what He gives to me. How comforting!
Add some shoe leather to the learning
Okay, we see that things have only temporal value, whereas life has eternal value. So let’s apply this. Shoes come in pairs, and my challenge has two parts as well.
- Today is the first day of spring, and I would like to challenge you to do some spring cleaning in your house and let go of things that are cluttering your space. Let’s have a yard sale! You can declutter and make a little money at the same time. Win, win! I’m going to set an example by having a yard sale this coming Saturday.
- Determine that you will make a difference in someone else’s life before the week is over. Tell them about Christ. Tell them what He has done for you. Tell them what He can do for them. Don’t continue to let people walk by or leave your presence without knowing of the love of God for them. Why? Because judgment is coming.
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Next week: Delilah
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