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)

Along with doing what God says, another thing to remember is that our lifestyle can influence our children and our grandchildren. It doesn't tell us in the Bible passage we read, how Lot and his wife lived their life together. The commentaries all seem to give them the benefit of the doubt -- that they were not actually participating in the immorality of the city. But by living there, they were subtly condoning what went on around them.  They were living in a Godless environment, with immorality all around them. Remember what David said in Psalms 1?

                  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!


Lisa said...

Looking forward! Thank you Jacque!

Cathy said...

I find that this is part of that "taking every thought captive" thing. I do spend too much time looking back, regretting decisions, beating myself up over past actions. I can say some pretty nasty things to myself inside my head, and sometimes even out loud. And it seems like once begun, those types of thoughts are very hard to stop. They seem to circle around and feed off each other. Why is that, I wonder? Why do we look back at actions and sins that have been forgiven by our Father, and tossed into the depths of the ocean by our Father, and continue to fish them up and beat ourselves over the head with them? So yes, looking forward...... not back. Straining forward, like taking a hike over rocks and boulders, to find the gorgeous view at the end of the trail.

Belinda said...

This has been a great study Jacque!! I too sometimes look back at the boneheaded things I've done and feel bad about them. I believe that is the devil trying to hurt me and so I try to push it from my mind.

And I think that Lot's wife might have simply been as most of us would probably be....curious as to what was happening. The old saying Curiosity killed the cat, in this case, turned her to a pillar of salt.