In the book of Genesis we are introduced to a man called Lot. We learn that after dwelling with his uncle Abraham for some time, conflict arose in their midst and the two men agreed to separate. Scripture makes it clear that Abraham gave Lot first right of refusal in choosing a new place to settle, and that Lot chooses what appears to be attractive…land that seemingly had the potential to be a wealthy place. His place of choice was a land near Sodom.
Genesis 13 then brings into focus the depravity that was a normal part of life in Sodom. We see how the people there were wicked and had become known for their repulsive sins against the Lord. By Genesis 19, we learn of God’s plan to destroy Sodom and Abraham interceding for Lot and his household to be spared. God then sends angels to Lot with instructions to leave Sodom immediately and not to look back or stand still in the process of doing so. While leaving the city however, Lot’s wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt as punishment.
What did she do wrong?
When people speak of what Lot’s wife did wrong, it’s usually within the context of her craving the sinful lifestyle of Sodom. This is usually followed by a direct or indirect suggestion that it was because she found pleasure in the sin and was looking back towards that sinful pleasure that she met her demise.
Recently, it was impressed upon me to reassess my understanding of what really happened with Lot’s wife. In doing so, I came to appreciate that her lack of faith was at the core of her wrongdoing. I’ve also come to understand that we could very well be looking back at things that are good, that are not in any way sinful (and quite possibly even things given to us by God Himself, for a season) and still be just as wrong as Lot’s wife was. I recognise that preferring comfort and being fearful of taking the steps God has called us to take are some of the very things that cause us to be…just like Lot’s wife. The error is more in the act of looking back and holding on to what we need to let go of…and not so much what it is that we are looking back at or holding on to.
A matter of Faith
Here are three key things I’d like to share from my recent gleanings:
1. Looking back is an act of faithlessness, one that implies that God cannot be trusted.
By looking back and holding on to the things/experiences of the past, we demonstrate that we do not trust God. It suggests that we doubt His ability to keep us, to preserve and protect us, and to reward our obedience to His instructions. It’s questioning God’s ability to restore what we are leaving behind and to give us better, as His Word has promised.
“…And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NASB)
2. The faith-walk is a personal walk, and the decision to move forward and not look back has to be personal also.
Lot’s wife was given access to the privileges set before her because of her association with her husband. As his wife, she was naturally expected to leave Sodom with him. No matter how intimate her affiliation, though, Lot could not believe God on her behalf. Your faith-walk requires you to believe God for yourself. Others can stand with you in prayerful support, but no one can ever believe God for you…that’s personal.
“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 NASB
3. Looking back suggests that we do not know God.
Knowing God is to fully know His character, without question. This intimate knowledge allows us to believe what He says, and to act on it in every instance. Our knowledge of God is daily perfected through our interaction with Him, so that at the time instructions are given, there is no preparation required on our part, we recognise that He has spoken and we just move.
“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]” John 10:14 (AMP)
If we are honest with ourselves, many of us would have to confess that there are still some situations where our response is as that of Lot’s wife. Where we’ve been given an instruction by God or He’s made a request which requires us to move forward in faith, and we’re still stuck. Sadly, the consequence for looking back on what God has instructed us to move on from, is still punishable by paralysis (physical and spiritual) and ultimately death (physical and spiritual).
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24 (NASB)
We hope this post encourages you to do some introspection. Join us next week for ‘Remember Lot’s Wife – Part Two’.