Saturday, January 23, 2016

Remember Lot’s Wife

Dear God seekers,

I want to compare and contrast the wives of Lot and Noah. There were both similarities and differences between them.

Lot’s Wife
Let’s begin with the words of our Lord Jesus, who said, "Remember Lot's wife.” (Luk 17:32). This is one of the shortest verses in the Bible, and yet has very profound meaning.

In the context, Jesus was giving instructions for those of us who are living in these last days when He returns. He told us that if we are in the field at that time, we must not turn back to get anything in the house. And if we are on the rooftop, we should not go back down to retrieve any goods inside. He reminded us of Lot’s wife as a warning to us if we do turn back. And He explicitly said, "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luk 17:33). Therefore, His admonition to remember Lot’s wife is a very important one, since she lost her life when she sought to keep it. These things happened to her as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come, as a warning to keep us from doing what she did and coming under the same judgment (1 Co 10:11).

It would be useful for us at this point to review the account of what happened to Lot’s wife in its proper context, in order to fully apprehend the lesson we are supposed to learn from it.

When Abraham (then called Abram) moved to Canaan from Haran with his wife Sarah (then called Sarai) and his nephew Lot, God promised to give him the land of Canaan (Gen 12:5). Both Abraham and Lot had flocks and herds and the land could not sustain them, so strife erupted between their herdsmen. Then Abraham proposed a way to resolve the strife by separating from each other. He offered Lot to go any place he wished in the land, and Lot chose to settle in the beautiful, well-watered valley of the Jordan, which was like the garden of the Lord. So he journeyed eastward and eventually settled in Sodom, while Abraham settled in Canaan, so this is how they separated.

“Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD. The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.’” (Gen 13:13-15)

A few years later, the Lord appeared to Abraham at his tent by the oaks of Mamre. And the LORD said, "The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know." (Gen 18:20-21). So Abraham proceeded to negotiate with the Lord to spare the righteous, rather than destroy them with the wicked who lived in that place. Because of Abraham’s intercession, the Lord sent two angels to Lot in Sodom, in order to rescue him and his family before they destroyed the city.

“Then the two men said to Lot, ‘Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.’" (Gen 19:12-13)

For Lot’s sake, the Lord would have spared anyone who belonged to his household. But as it was, neither of his sons-in-law believed Lot when he tried to warn them. So the only family members that escaped with Lot were his wife and two daughters.

“When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.’ But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. When they had brought them outside, one said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.’" (Gen 19:15-17)

Lot's Wife pillar, Mount Sodom, Israel
Lot was the only righteous person in his family, but his wife and daughters were spared for his sake. They were strictly warned not to look behind them, and not to stay in the valley, but to run for their lives and escape to the mountains. Lot negotiated with the angel to escape to the nearby town of Zoar, rather than the mountains, which they did with the angel’s permission. However, on the way, Lot’s wife looked back.

“By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Gen 19:23-26, NIV)

It is very likely that the angel of the Lord was leading them as they escaped to Zoar, followed by Lot’s wife and daughters, with Lot in the rear to make sure everybody made it safely. When Lot’s wife looked back, she may have been in front of Lot in the group, so that he saw her at the moment she turned around and became a pillar of salt. If she had been behind him, as the NASB version states, he would not have seen this happen, since he was forbidden to look behind him. However, the NIV version agrees with the Hebrew text of Scripture, which does not indicate that Lot’s wife was behind him, but that she looked behind her.

Based on this account, we may conclude that Lot’s wife was a worldly woman, who loved the city of Sodom and its unprincipled men, and who was not oppressed by their sensual conduct as righteous Lot was, nor was she tormented as he was in his soul day after day by their lawless deeds (2Pe 2:7-8). All she had to do was obey the angel’s orders to escape and not look back. But she ignored the Lord's command and looked back, because she loved this world and the life she had in Sodom. That is why she came under judgment with that city and lost her life. She had been shown grace by being given the chance to escape destruction, but she resisted the grace of God, because of her worldliness.

It did not matter that she was related to a righteous man by marriage. You can be the wife of a godly preacher, but still perish. You can be the son or daughter of righteous parents and still perish.

The fact that Lot's wife perished when she looked back is a warning not only against loving our lives in this world, but also against worldliness. James warned, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jas 4:4). And John said, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jn 2:15).

Noah’s Wife
Now let’s look at the wife of Noah to see the similarities and differences she had with Lot’s wife.

God decided to destroy the earth because of the wickedness of men.

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen 6:5-8)

The reason why Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord and why the Lord decided to spare Noah was that He was a righteous and blameless man who walked with God. It says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”(Gen 6:9b)

The reason the Lord spared his family was not that they were righteous, but for Noah’s sake and to repopulate the earth. The apostle Peter said God, “preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (2Pe 2:5). Peter emphasized that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and the seven others were spared with him.

He preached righteousness to a wicked generation, while he built the ark, but nobody took heed to what he said. Noah himself did not come up with the pattern for the ark or its dimensions and specifications. God gave him the instructions with all the specifications, and Noah obediently followed them by building the ark accordingly. “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” (Gen 6:22)

Before the flood came, God commanded Noah to enter the ark with his family. “Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.’” (Gen 7:1). Again, the Lord emphasized that he saw Noah alone as righteous before Him in that time.

Entering the ark was the condition the Lord gave Noah for salvation. If Noah, along with his wife and household, were to be rescued from destruction, all they needed to do was enter the ark and remain in it. Once they entered, there was no going outside for fresh air while they waited for the rain to begin. Noah’s wife obeyed and stayed in the ark. That’s a key difference between her and Lot’s wife, who disobeyed. Noah’s wife did not love the world as Lot’s wife did.

The ark is a type of Christ, according to Peter (1 Pe 3:20-21). If you don’t stay in Christ, who is the ark, you cannot be saved. It’s not a guaranteed salvation, which is certain to happen, no matter what you choose to do. You have to remain in Christ. You must obey Him.

Jesus taught us to abide in Him when He said, "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Joh 15:6-7)

Jesus also taught us to obey Him when He said, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. (Joh 15:10)

The apostle John taught us to abide in Him. “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”  (1Jn 3:24)

Putting it All Together
In summary, Lot’s wife was a bad example of what not to do, and Noah’s wife was a godly example for us to follow. Both women were married to righteous men at a time when God was sending destruction upon the wicked people of the earth. While neither woman was named in Scripture, God extended grace to both of them, and gave them some simple commands to follow.

Noah’s wife received the grace of God unto salvation, but Lot’s wife received God’s grace in vain. Noah’s wife believed and obeyed the Lord’s command, but Lot’s wife did not believe and disobeyed. Noah’s wife cared not for this world, and had no problem separating from it, but Lot’s wife loved this world. Noah’s wife lost her life and in doing so preserved it, but Lot’s wife sought to keep her life and in doing so lost it. Noah’s wife escaped destruction, but Lot’s wife did not.

Remember Lot’s wife. Don’t look back. Jesus said, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luk 9:62). Rather than love this world or the things of this world, separate from it. Escape for your life! If you don’t, you will be swept away. Flee from the coming wrath. Save yourselves from this corrupt generation (Ac 2:40)! If you don’t know the Lord, then repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins. If you do know Him, then remain in Christ and obey His commands.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. The photo of the Lot's Wife salt pillar is a geological formation on Mount Sodom, overlooking the Dead Sea (from Wikimedia Commons). Wikipedia states: "The site of the present Dead Sea Works, a large operation for the extraction of Dead Sea minerals, is called 'Sdom' (סדום) according to its traditional Arab name, Khirbet as-sudūm. Nearby is unique Mount Sodom (הר סדום in Hebrew) consisting mainly of salt. In the Plain of Sdom (מישור סדום) to the south there are a few springs and two small agricultural villages."

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Separation from the World, Don't Look Back, Come Out of Her, Garments of Godliness, Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy, Keeping Sundays Holy, Faith Works!, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Two Divine Revelations, Zipporah Mushala’s Third Testimony of Hell, The Straight and Narrow Path, and Ask for the Ancient Paths. I highly recommend reading, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, Conditions of the New Covenant, and Holy Fire Baptism. You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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