Lot’s Wife

“But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”  (Genesis 19:26)

I feel that before we move out of Chapter 19 of Genesis and leave behind the incident of God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, we should take a moment to consider the fate of Lot’s wife. Only four people from the entire city of Sodom were led to safety, and only three of those actually made it to safety. Lot’s wife made it out of the city, but she did not make it to the safety of Zoar where her husband and two daughters entered (Genesis 19:23).

We are only told two facts in Genesis 19 about Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt: 1.) The angels sent by God instructed the family “do not look behind you” as they fled from Sodom (v.17) and, 2.) Lot’s wife looked behind her (v. 26). I suppose the very first thing that can be surmised from this is that the instructions of God are to be obeyed implicitly, regardless of how extraneous the details may seem to us. Lot’s wife may have very well wondered what harm could really come from peeking over her shoulder to “watch the fireworks.” But when we consider the Lord Jesus Christ’s own reference to this event, we see something else going on:

“Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” (Luke 17:32-33 KJV)

Jesus is speaking in this passage about His Second Coming. He states that His coming in judgment will be as in the day that Lot and his family fled from Sodom (Luke 17:28-30). People will be going about their lives as if there were no God in Heaven and as if the world will go on forever just as it is. But our Lord warns: “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.” (v. 31 KJV). God’s judgment, though delayed, will come swiftly in the day that God has allotted. His judgment will come so swiftly that there would be no time for hesitation if it were indeed possible to escape it (2 Peter 2:9).

Lot’s wife’s sin was not curiosity, it was unbelief. She wasn’t really interested in leaving Sodom, even as it was being engulfed in flames! As William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad write:

“Although Lot’s wife was taken almost by force out of Sodom, her heart remained in the city. This was indicated by the fact that she turned back. She was out of Sodom, but Sodom was not out of her. As a result, God destroyed her by turning her into a pillar of salt.” (1)

“Whosoever shall seek to save his life” is referring to those whose interests are vested in the things of this world. They have no interest in the things of God, for they have rejected Him. Sure, the faith of their loved ones might get them to come to church, or join a Bible study group, or even become a deacon. But they have no real interest in the things of God. Like Lot’s wife, they might be moving forward toward safety, but their hearts are still firmly rooted in the world. Lot’s wife followed her husband, but his faith in God could only bring her so far. The time comes for everyone when they themselves must make a decision whether they will believe God or not. Lot’s wife decided that she would not.

One final thing for us all to consider is this: The day will come when we shall be called to leave this world, will we be ready? Is our own heart in the place where our precious Savior is taking us to be with Him?  Or have we laid up so much treasure here on Earth that we will be as reluctant as Lot’s wife to leave it all behind (Matt. 6:21)? The day will come for all of us to leave this Earth, will we hesitate so that we may cast a final look at all that we had here, or will we rejoice and count it as no loss at all; our own eyes set firmly on nothing but what lay before us in Christ?

 

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 27,  2010]

(1) MacDonald, William; Farstad, Arthur: Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Lk 17:32

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Lot Was “Sent Out Of The Midst Of The Overthrow”

“Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived. (Genesis 19:29)

Genesis 19:29 summarizes what God has just done in judging Sodom and Gomorrah and what He has done for Lot. God “sent Lot out from the midst of Sodom” before He judged it. What profound truths are carried in that statement! “God sent Lot…” It is God Who is in complete control of this entire process of judging the cities and rescuing Lot. Abraham participated in Lot’s rescue from the armies of Chedorlaomer back in Chapter 14, though God strengthened him and enabled him to do so, this time, Lot is saved entirely by the movement of God alone.

“God sent Lot… ” Life and death is ultimately in the hand of God Almighty, whether we live or die, and it is by His mercy that Lot is spared. God literally cast him out of Sodom and put him in a place of safety. Verses 22-24 make it clear that Lot was completely out of Sodom before judgment began. “God sent Lot out of the midst…” Lot was not living on the outskirts of Sodom, but right in the midst of it, among all of the others. God did not just push him a little to the side so that he could be safe during the judgment, nor did God decide to leave him there during the judgment in order to “test” him. It is worth noticing that God also did not begin to pour out some judgment on the city and then decide that Lot had had enough, taking him to safety after it had begun. Finally, “God sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow.” This was not an ordinary natural disaster that occurred, this was the direct judgment of God upon a sinful people.

I have taken the time to briefly break down the elements of what is said here in Verse 29 because I personally believe that Lot’s rescue from Sodom before its judgment is a picture of the believer’s rescue from this Earth before the Great Tribulation. I do not see this passage as being a conclusive “argument”, so to speak, proving a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the True Church. But I do see the implications as being quite intriguing, to say the least. Obviously, there are some definite distinctions between the judgment on Sodom and God’s final judgments on an unrepentant world, as described in the Book of Revelation. However, they are both judgments directly from the hand of God. They are both instances of God’s wrath being poured out on mankind which has rejected Him. Those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ are not appointed to receive His wrath (e.g., Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:10). So what will happen to those trusting in Christ when the time of His wrath is upon the world?

“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”  (Revelation 3:10)

He will keep us from the very hour (season, time-frame) of the Great Tribulation. The only conceivable way that the Lord Jesus Christ could do this is to remove those who belong to Him before He pours out His judgment. We simply cannot be kept from something if we are still around in the midst of it, can we? The Lord Jesus did say that we would face trials and tribulations in this world (John 16:33), but those are trials and tribulations that come as a result of living in a fallen world. Those trials He shall not keep us from, nor has He ever promised to. But the purpose of His wrath being poured out is to judge those who have rejected Him and, as in the case of the Great Tribulation, to extend mercy to those who will receive Him during that time. There is no purpose in pouring out His wrath on those who have not rejected Him, and we have His promise that He shall not do so. As Lot was, I firmly believe that God will send us out from the midst of this world before He pours out His judgment upon it.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 25, 2010]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Taking Lot By The Hand

“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. (Genesis 19:16)

There really is not much that we can find comforting or encouraging in Genesis 19, but Verse 16 is quite reassuring. Lot is commanded by the two angels to depart from the city of Sodom and warned that if he does not, he too shall be consumed. I like to think that, had I been in Lot’s shoes, those two angels would have had a hard time keeping up with me as I sprinted full-speed for the hills. But, looking back on my own track record, it is just as likely that I would have responded the same way Lot did.

The angels could not have made the urgency of the situation any clearer to Lot and his family. Yet what did Lot do? He hesitated. Lot’s co-operation with those trying to save him was not very impressive. How often do we do the same thing when we receive instructions from the Lord? We delay, we procrastinate, we make excuses. He tells us, “Go now” and we answer, “Just a minute.” There were things in Sodom that Lot really had no desire to leave behind. We know that he believed God, but he definitely had one eye on Heaven and one on Earth.

What I find so comforting about this particular verse is the response that the two angels, acting on God’s behalf, give to Lot’s hesitation. Did they tell him that he was out of luck because he did not act quickly enough? Did they stand there and reason with him, argue with him, or continue to try to persuade him? No, there just was not time enough for that. Did they walk away, shaking their heads, telling him that they were sorry but he had forfeited his salvation from Sodom because of his hesitation? No. They laid hold on his hand and brought him forth!

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)

The Lord Jesus is our Shepherd, leading us by His voice. We are His sheep and are guided by His Word. But what happens when we fall behind, when we ourselves linger and become too far away to hear the sound of His voice? He leaves the other sheep to search us out until He has found us (Luke 15:4). He comes back to us, calling out to us all the while. And when He does find us, He carries us upon His own shoulders and brings us to safety (Luke 15:5-6). We see in John 10:27-29 that we hear His voice, He knows us, and we follow Him. But we also see that He is holding us in His own hand.

Lot was saved from the destruction that came upon Sodom (God’s  judgment) because he believed God. Lot was not told by the angels: “OK, here’s what’s gonna happen. Good luck and we’ll see you on the other side!” They led him every step of the way, and when he started to fall behind, they took him out by the hand. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we may lose our way from time to time. We may linger and hesitate to keep in step with where He is taking us, but our Salvation is not contingent on our own efforts any more than Lot’s was. Once we have put our faith in Him, once we have become a part of His flock, He will bring us to safety, even if He must take us by the hand and carry us.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 22, 2010]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]