Thursday, April 7, 2011

Remembering Lot's Wife

My husband was talking to me a couple of nights ago about a sermon he is working on.  Something he said really stuck with me.  Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to remember Abraham or Paul or Ruth or Jonah...but we are commanded to remember Lot's wife (Luke 17:32).  While his sermon went in one direction, my thoughts went in another.

I began to think about Lot's wife, surmising what her life may have been like.  Can I borrow your imagination?  (You can read the story in Genesis 13-19) Here is Lot's wife, Mrs. Lot, following her husband across the plains, living life wherever he decides to set up tent.  One day, her husband is given a choice. Which way do you want to go?  And her husband chooses the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.  We don't know what her reaction was to this.  Could it be that she begged her husband not to turn in towards that wicked city?  Might she have pleaded for him to consider his children and how that would affect them?  Perhaps. The Bible doesn't tell us.  All that we know for sure is that she followed where he led, which was her biblical obligation before God.

While in Sodom, Mrs. Lot set up house and raised her children. She married off her sons and embraced her daughters in law.  It's very likely she made friends. It's possible she could have had a home business, selling  goods from her home which was not uncommon in that day.  In essence, she planted herself where her husband had brought her; she put down roots.

One day her husband tells her that they must leave....immediately. God was going to destroy the city.  I'm sure there was fear over the impending doom but her heart must have been so torn. See, her husband had lived in such a way that when he went to his sons to share the news, they laughed at him and didn't believe him! (Genesis 19:14)  I'm not saying it's all Lot's fault.  We can also surmise that Mrs. Lot grew accustomed to the ways of Sodom and lived in exactly the same way as her husband, with all the comforts that city had to offer.  But the Bible tells us that they mocked at Lot, for he was the one that was supposed to lead his home.

Still borrowing your imagination, Mrs. Lot followed her husband out of the city, sort of. The Bible says that the angels of the Lord had to "hasten Lot" and his family.  They didn't willingly, whole-heartedly flee.  No doubt, their hearts were heavy.  Perhaps, Mrs. Lot's teenage girls had boyfriends in the city. Certainly they had friends.  It's quite possible they didn't want to leave; they may have even cried and had a little temper tantrum.  Whatever the case, they all got out.  Somewhere along their exodus, Mrs. Lot's heart grew heavy.  She may have been thinking about her sons and her daughters in law; perhaps even her grandchildren, being destroyed by the wrath of God. And in a moment of heart sickness and weakness, she looked back....and God turned her into a pillar of salt.

It's a tragic story really.  Mrs. Lot is often portrayed as this wicked woman who couldn't keep her eyes off the city. We look down our judgmental noses at her, saying that if she'd only obeyed she wouldn't have suffered the chastisement of God.    My heart actually goes out to Mrs. Lot.

First I see that while she was trying to follower her husband, he wasn't beside her, protecting his wife.  Lot was ahead of her. 

 But his wife looked back from behind him, ...Genesis 19:26

Surely Lot must have known that his wife was the weaker vessel (1Peter 3:7).  He had to have shared her heartache.  Why was he not beside his wife, helping her along, protecting her?  This tragedy may have never occurred had it not been for his oversight.   Thinking of this makes me think of Eve in the garden.  She gets the blame an awful lot.   Where was Adam when Eve was being tempted by Satan?  What about Job's wife?  We hear a lot about her "curse God and die"  comment.  I think we sometimes think we're so spiritual that we'd react like Job and not like his wife.  Really?  Have you ever buried 10 children in one day while losing every stitch of your earthly possessions?  Are we really so prideful as to think that we wouldn't  react in the way of Mrs. Job in a moment of grief and weakness?

Too often, we think that because we're saved, we're immune to reacting badly to situations.  It's important to remember that these people in the Bible that we read about and pick apart were real people with real, human emotions.  God placed them their for our examples, for our instruction. We should learn from them, yes, but to think we couldn't react like them is a gross error in judgment.

Going back to Mrs. Lot, I see a woman who lost her home, her friends, her children, perhaps her grandchildren, her livelihood, her security and all that was familiar to her in a split second.  There was nothing that she could do about it.  I imagine she was filled with regret and despair and sorrow.  And on top of it all, she didn't have a husband walking beside her, supporting her and telling her it would be ok.  She probably felt all alone.  And that is all it takes for Satan to get a find a provide a temptation.  Just look back...and she did.

Because God is just and holy, he saw her disobedience and turned her into a pillar of salt.  We know that God is long suffering and merciful so I cannot believe that this was the first time she had disobeyed him, but it was the last.  I see in this story God's faithfulness - for both blessing and cursing.  See, it didn't matter what she had lost or how she felt or how much of a load was on her shoulders.  God still expected her obedience.  And ultimately it was her disobedience (not the lack of her husband's care or her circumstances) that determined the outcome in her life.

Applying it to our lives:  We have so many Scriptures that promise us God's aid in time of trouble!

Hebrews 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Matthew 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Psalms 91:2  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Sometimes I feel a lot like Lot's wife.  I fight against the fact that I've lost two babies in a year.  I get tired of moving, even though I know my husband is following God's leading.  I grow weary of fighting Satan over my children and worrying that I'm failing in training them.  I get anxious over what lies ahead.  And there are times when I find myself daydreaming of something different.  However, my circumstances cannot dictate my reactions or my obedience, and neither can yours.  I'm learning this the hard way.  Some people fight things externally, I fight things internally.  Some days I feel like I'm wrestling with God, and like Job saying,

  Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
  Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
Job 23: 3, 8-9

And like Job, all I can do is just believe that God is there and he knows what is going on and that He cares!

But he knoweth the way that I take: 
when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Job 23:10

How will you come forth out of your trial?  How will I come forth?  The choice is ours to make.  We can either come forth as gold, as we by faith trust the Lord to order our steps and take care of us, OR we can look back in disobedience like Lot's wife, being turned into something that is useless for the work of the Lord.  Mrs. Lot's demise didn't just affect her.  Read the story.  Lot was left without a wife and had grandchildren born by incest through his daughters. The entire family fell apart and truly, each person played a role in the outcome.

Are you like Mrs. Lot - discouraged, overwhelmed or longing for something left in Sodom?  Are you Mr. Lot, denying your wife the love and support that she so desperately needs?  Or are you perhaps Lot's children - whining and fussing because your daddy is trying to do right in the sight of God by keeping you out of Sodom (the world)?    How will your story end?   What are you going to do about it?

Remember Lot's wife....

© Adorning Grace 2011

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