Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Salt by any other name (Lot's wife)

When we paused our study, we were spectators while a mob was beating on Lot's door, and he had amazed his wife by offering the mob their two daughters, in place of the two strangers that had come to their house . . .

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

In the midst of this story of mercy (bringing Lot, his wife, and his two daughters out of Sodom before it was destroyed) we have a couple of heart-wrenching scenes.

Imagine, if you will, Lot's impassioned plea to his future sons-in-law, trying to convince them to leave Sodom with him. They thought he was joking. Why didn't they take him seriously? Perhaps this was the first time Lot had spoken to them about God, and about sin. Maybe he hadn't mentioned his faith in God to them before. Perhaps his family and his future sons-in-law were not accustomed to hearing him talk about sin and debauchery, and about staying away from those things.

Imagine, too, the angels urging Lot to "hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters..." and Lot hesitated? Why? In spite of the horrific events of the night before, was he still thinking of the posh, affluent life of Sodom? Was he thinking wistfully of the leadership role he had assumed in the city? Was he reluctant to go back to the simple, nomadic life in tents that he had lived before becoming a resident of Sodom?

The angels had to take Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand to make them leave!! Remember when we studied Proverbs? We learned that it is truly important who we "hang around" with; it's important whom we choose as friends. Personally, I have to think that the friends of Lot, his wife, and his daughters must not have been good influences, right? Maybe they had to be dragged out of Sodom by the hands because years of living amongst worldly people had weakened their faith. Or, maybe they just couldn't believe what was happening.

And then, the saddest of all . . . Lot's wife disobeyed the angel's words, and looked back. No matter how simple a command from God may seem, we need to take it seriously! God said don't. But she did. If we were to look at other translations, we would see that the words mean that Lot's wife wasn't right by his side. It appears she was lagging behind. Dragging her feet. She was some distance behind the others, and then it happened. She turned to look.

Maybe she was worried about the friends she was leaving behind. Or maybe she was thinking of her spacious home that would be destroyed, or some belongings that were her "treasures." Perhaps her heart was really in Sodom, and she was dreading leaving, and returning to the life of tents and herds.

Whatever the reason, she disobeyed.
We'll conclude our study tomorrow by seeing what each of us can learn from Lot's wife.


Marla's Crafts said...

Sometimes we keep our faith to ourselves so it is hard for other people to see the real person inside. That chapter makes a lot of sense when you explain it that way. Thanks.

Lisa said...

Agree with Marla too, though I do hope by the 'way' I live and choices I make, other people might see the light of God through my actions. Maybe I should be more vocal though. The fact that Lot's wife looked back..... that she was the one who disobeyed.... is always interesting to me. Thank you!

Austin Towers said...

A lot (no pun intended!) of food for thought here! Thanks Jacque! There is so in the story there to be gleaned!