Today I found myself reading in Genesis 19. We tend to focus on the towns of Sodom & Gomorrah & the evil that was rampant there & miss the sidebar that takes place within that story.
Let me share the story of Lot & his family….
Lot has a visit from two angels who come to tell him to get his wife, his daughters, his son-in-laws & any other family & get out of town. The Lord has had enough of the evil that has been going on & has sent these two angels to destroy it.
Lot rushes to tell his family that they have to get out of the city quickly. The son-in-laws think he is joking with them & they all stay put overnight.
The next morning, the angels return & this time when they see Lot’s hesitancy, they literally seize his hand & the hands of his wife & his two daughters & take them to safety outside of the city. There the angels order them, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Lot doesn’t want to go to the mountains & so begs them to go to a nearby village, which by the way is in the valley! The angels tell him, “OK” & they spare that village.
Now here’s the clincher:
But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.
Genesis 19:26 NLT
Lot’s wife, this poor unnamed woman, could not resist doing the thing she was told not to do. She looked back. And she is forever known for being turned into a pillar of salt.
The words “looked back” indicates a prolonged, intense gazing toward the world she loved, not a curious glance. Lot’s wife was too attached to Sodom to follow God’s call of grace.
NLT Study Bible, page 59
She was not looking back out of curiosity to see the fire. She was looking back, thinking about what she had left behind. She was looking back at the place she loved.
I cannot help but wonder, if at times in life, we aren’t all a little like Lot’s unnamed wife. Do we, too, find ourselves glancing back at:
- relationships we once had
- former jobs
- houses we have lived in
- cars we once owned
- bank accounts
- positions once held
You get the point. God brings about change in our lives. He moves us forward & yet we continue to “look back”. He tells us to keep moving forward & we keep our gaze, longingly, on the world we once loved.
Instead may we say:
“Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do His will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50:7 NLT).