Thursday, June 18, 2015
Salt by any other name (Lot's wife)
Have you been thinking, as I have, about why Lot's wife would have been drawn to look back at the city of Sodom? The angel had given them a very clear warning. Was her heart still longing for everything that she had left behind in the city? Was she sad to leave a life of pleasure, of comfort, and ease? Were they leaving some relatives or long-time servants behind?
Perhaps it was one or more of these things that caused her feet to slow; then she dropped behind Lot and their daughters, and finally she turned back to look. By her own choice, her own volition, she chose judgment instead of mercy that was offered to her.
Remember what Jesus said? "Remember Lot's wife." In Luke 17, He tells us how it will be when He returns. These words are meant to pull us away from the sin and wickedness that is in our world, and lead us to God's arms of mercy.
What should we remember? Well, the most obvious thing is that she didn't do what God said! We need to take God seriously, to take Him at His word. He has given us specific instructions on many things: how we are to live, and what we should and should not do.
Let's look at some of those instructions:
God is serious about prayer: Pray continually. (I Thess. 5:17)
He also cares about our priorities: But seek first his kingdom and his
righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt. 6:33)
He's instructed us on belief: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
He is serious about evangelism, too: He said to them, “Go into all the world
and preach the gospel to all creation. (Mark 16:15)
God's serious about our behavior: Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue
righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord
out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid
arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s
servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to
teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope
that God will grant them repentance... (II Tim. 2:22-25a)
He's serious about repentance: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized,
every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your
sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in
the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose
delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and
night. (Psalm 1:1-2)
The third thing to remember is that God's mercy is always available. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, in the hardest of times, He is there, holding out His hand of mercy to us:
Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy,
and will have compassion on you. (Deuteronomy 13:17)
‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,
declares the Lord,‘I will not be angry forever. (Jeremiah 3:12)
One last thing . . . do we spend too much of our time looking back? Do we regret decisions made? Do we mourn for lost opportunities? Are we yearning for ended relationships? Let's strive to do as Paul did, for he had a past that he would rather forget!
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of
it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward
what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Let's look forward, not back!