By: Paul E. Lowenberg
Jesus had ways to get the attention of His audiences. On several occasions He dropped verbal bombshells.
In Luke 17:22-37 Jesus talked to the crowd about His second coming. He used lightning to illustrate its suddenness and spectacularity. He continued by reminding them that the days of Noah would be repeated before He came again. People would be busy in fleshly pursuits. Warnings would be ignored. Horrible destruction would fall upon the human family.
He then brought one of Sodom’s illustrious citizens into the picture. In Lot’s day the people of Sodom and Gomorrah pursued the carnal and licentious and gave themselves to immorality and sordid pleasures. When the cup of iniquity was full and the patience of God was exhausted, fire and brimstone fell from heaven and obliterated both the city and its citizens.
Then He warned those who may be resting on the housetops at the hour of His coming, or in the field working, not to return to their homes for their cherished treasures, lest they be swept away in the flood of judgment. As if to reinforce these awe-inspiring words, He added, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).
Lot’s wife? Why remember her? Why would Jesus recall this tragic figure for His audience? Who was this unnamed, anonymous victim of self-imposed tragedy? We know only that as she and her family fled from doomed Sodom, she looked back and became a pillar of salt.
But our Lord used her as an example to all who gamble with their soul’s welfare and act as if the Lord’s warnings are not to be taken seriously or literally. What can we learn from this enigmatic woman who is Exhibit 1 of the deceitfulness of sin and the perils of neglecting so great salvation? (See Hebrews 2:3.)
LOT’S WIFE WAS AN OBJECT OF ABRAHAM’S INTERCESSION.
She was his niece by marriage and probably associated closely with that patriarch and his wife Sarah. Abraham has manifested such concern for his nephew Lot that when the angel of the Lord told him he would destroy Sodom, he immediately interceded for the few he felt might be righteous in that city. This was surely not the first time Abraham prayed for Lot and his family.
LOT’S WIFE HAD BEEN MERCIFULLY WARNED TO FLEE THE CITY.
God in His love dispatched two angels to Lot’s house, who said to him, “Up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city” (Genesis 19:14). Then notice, “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his
hand, and upon the hand of his wife . . . the Lord being merciful unto him” (v. 16). What more could God do to persuade this reluctant family that His warnings were serious?
This is typical of many today. While the floods of judgment thunder toward them, they linger. Instead of hurrying, Lot’s wife lingered. LOT’S WIFE MADE A START.
It took persuasion to convince her she needed to leave the city. Reluctantly she allowed the angel to lead her.
Angels are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). God had only her interest at heart. It was for her benefit these heavenly messengers were sent by Him to preserve her from destruction.
But Lot’s wife had no appreciation for this manifestation of grace. Her worldly heart was cold. Her steps were slow and leaden. Suddenly she stopped. All she had was in Sodom–her friends, her pleasures, her
interests, her home. She would go no farther. This was too much to leave. God was asking too much. She looked back.
LOT’S WIFE CAME OUT OF SODOM, BUT SODOM DID NOT COME OUT OF HER.
Her life was possessed and obsessed by what she had in that wicked city. Her sense of values was warped. She was a captive of the very thing that was destroying her. She was committing both moral and spiritual suicide. The pull was too strong. The chains around her heart were fastened in Sodom. The world would not let her go. She had no other interests. She looked back.
LOT’S WIFE WAS ALMOST SAVED, BUT ALTOGETHER LOST.
Did a doubt cross her mind? Would God really destroy her beautiful city? After all the time of being around Abraham, she was convinced that God was a God of love.
She looked at Lot who was walking in front of her. She sensed his struggle. He too was reluctant to leave. There was no alacrity in his steps. He was waging the battle of his life. She could not resist. She must–she must look back to where her heart still was. She looked–she lost. Her body turned to a pillar of salt. (See Genesis 19:26.)
She was lost within sight of safety. Lost even though God in His mercy had sent angels to rescue her. Lost even though God had spoken plainly. “Remember Lot’s wife,” the Savior said.
You who are so attracted to the world that heaven has no interest for you, remember Lot’s wife.
You who have made a start for heaven but the pull of the old life has been too strong, remember Lot’s wife.
You who have a godly family while you indulge your passions in the world, remember Lot’s wife.
You to whom the message has come again and again, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near . . . return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will
abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6,7); remember Lot’s wife.
(The above material appeared is the May 17, 1992 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.)
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