Open Your Bible
Genesis 19:12-29, Luke 17:28-33
The smoke is billowing out the windows, the embers are raining down, and your lungs are on fire with the fullness of hot air. Your home burned down to the ground around you. You’ve escaped, but barely. You managed to get out alive, and not only that, your family is safe, too.
What unimaginable mercy. You were scooped up out of the most dire circumstances and protected. You were saved. But, your pictures, your memories, your things—they are all still inside that blaze. You know you ought to be thankful you got out with your life. Yet, so much of your story is in those four walls, with those things.
You would never go back in, right? Not into a burning building, certainly. But, what if you stole just a quick glance? Here is a warning from Jesus about quick glances back to hopeless situations:
“Remember Lot’s wife.”
– Luke 17:32
Who was Lot’s wife?
In Genesis 19, we learn about Sodom. We are told a pair of immoral cities—Sodom and Gomorrah—are set to be destroyed because of their utter wickedness. A man named Lot, his two daughters, and his wife will be spared. They are able to quickly gather themselves and flee their home with two angels by their side. The angels make it clear that Lot’s family must hurry and that they are being spared a certain death.
“And as they brought them out, one (angel) said, ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away” (Genesis 19:17).
In a moment of worldliness or just plain humanness, Lot’s wife quickly steals a disobedient glance back at her homeland. We’re not sure if she was contemplating returning to her sinful past or if she was simply longing for her home, but what we do know is she wasn’t putting faith in what she’d been told from the Lord. Like Eve, she was given very specific instruction from God, and both women were asked to obey without having all the information.
Having been told by two angels of the Lord that she was being spared and what she was being spared from, she was to leave and not look back. But she looks anyway. And, because of that quick act of disobedience and distrust, she’s turned into a pillar of salt.
Such instant punishment for such a seemingly small abuse. But, she’d already been pardoned once. How many times do you and I find ourselves returning to the sin we’ve already been rescued from? How often do we doubt the goodness of God and His promises? How readily do we go back to our old ways of thinking and doing, certain we know what is good for us?
After cautioning His disciples to “Remember Lot’s wife,” Jesus goes on to say this:
“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
– Luke 17:33
Friends, we cannot add a single breath to our own lives. But as followers of Christ, we have been given the greatest mercy and spared a life of separation from God. Because the Gospel is true, you and I can choose to “live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Though it may sometimes be utterly difficult and painful, we must not look back to our former darkness but run into His saving light (Isaiah 43:18-19).
What God has saved you for is so much greater than what He’s saved you from. Let’s look toward His goodness today.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”