Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

Walking with God – Day 4

Walking with God and looking back brings destruction: Lot’s wife

Bible text(s)

31“On that day someone who is on the roof of his house must not go down into the house to get any belongings; in the same way anyone who is out in the field must not go back to the house. 32Remember Lot's wife!

Luke 17:31-32GNBOpen in Bible reader

Amazingly, Jesus speaks about Lot’s wife, but his words about her are a warning to his listeners. In the next verse, he continues, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” This statement may puzzle us until we see it demonstrated in the fate of Lot’s wife, who, in looking back, lost her life.

In the Genesis account, Lot’s wife is first mentioned when the angels are urging Lot to leave the doomed city with her and their two daughters, before it is too late. Incredibly, she is plainly not hurrying, despite having heard the angels’ instructions and witnessing the dire situation when Lot had offered their daughters to appease the depraved mob; she had also seen the angels save Lot by pulling him inside and striking the mob with blindness; and she knew that Lot had gone to warn their future sons-in-law to escape with them.

In spite of all this evidence and the clear warning of God’s impending judgement, she disregarded the orders of the angels in, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:17). But Lot’s wife turned back to look at the destruction and was turned into a pillar of salt, as the debris rained down on her. She had had a clear opportunity to escape the destruction of the city – the choice was hers – but, like Lot, she was loath to leave her comfort, luxury and prestige. Even though she may not have really accepted Lot’s beliefs and was on the periphery, as a citizen of Sodom, God’s mercy was extended to her, Lot and their family because of His relationship with Abram.

God always does what he says he will do, but here we see his judgement tempered with mercy. He shows amazing patience to save fewer than ten righteous people in a wicked city; ultimately, however, he does not save the one who does not want to be saved. So, we return to Jesus’ warning: “Remember Lot’s wife!”

 

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