Perhaps one of the most chilling admonitions in Scripture can be found in the words of Christ, “Remember Lot’s wife!” Speaking to His disciples, Christ foretells how His return to judge the world will be unexpected and that judgment will be as swift as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. The abiding truth “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Mt. 10:39) is a sobering warning for people in every age. Who was this woman who lived nearly 2,000 years before Christ and why does He want us to remember her?
Mrs. Lot’s name is never mentioned in Scripture nor do we know where she came from. She could have been among the Chaldean servants whom Abram, Sarai, and his nephew Lot brought with them from Ur (Gen. 12:1-5), or she may have been a native Canaanite.
As you recall, after settling in Canaan Lot and Abraham decided it best to part company and Lot pitched his tents near the wicked city of Sodom (Gen. 13). Later, when the LORD appeared to Abraham and sent two angels to obliterate Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham interceded and the LORD agreed to spare them if they could find even ten righteous people.
Arriving in Sodom, Lot welcomed the two celestial guests but "every man" in the city surrounded his home and demanded to have relations with the angels. (Gen. 19:4-5). When Lot’s pleas to silence the mob failed he tried offering them his two virgin daughters, which enraged them all the more. Threats of violence ensued and the angels pulled Lot to safety and then miraculously struck all the men with blindness. When the angels asked if there were other relatives not in the house Lot went out to warn his daughter’s fiancées, but they thought he was joking. The following morning the angels said,
“Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” When he lingered the men seized Lot, his wife and his two daughters by the hand and brought them outside of the city. ” Gen. 19:15-16
We don't know why Lot hesitated, but we know that when the angels snatched them to safety Lot and his daughters did not look back but his wife did.
“But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Gen. 10:26
The account of Lot's wife is a frightening reminder that one can have ample knowledge of the truth and experience the goodness of the Lord, and yet have an unregenerate heart anchored to the world. Peter tells us that she was married to a righteous man who was daily vexed by the evil in their city (2 Pet. 2:7-8). In order for Lot to have been declared righteous he would have had to believe the Gospel that was preached to Abraham in accordance to Galatians 3:8:
“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
It's likely this woman had also seen the godly examples of Sarah and Abraham and knew of their miraculous deliverance from Egypt. She had witnessed the violence in her city towards her guests, her husband, and potentially her daughters and experienced God’s divine intervention. She was mercifully brought to safety while the heavens rained fire and brimstone, and yet she looked back. This was no ordinary glance out of curiosity because the Hebrew word "wat·tab·bêṭ", which is only used 3 times in the Old Testament, implies that her heart was still tethered to Sodom.
"That look was a little thing, but it told of secret love of the world in Lot's wife. ... Her eye turned to the place where her treasure was — as the compass needle turns to the pole. And this was the crowning point of her sin. "The friendship of the world is enmity with God" (James 4:4). "If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15) …She was no murderess, no adulteress, no thief; but she was a professor of religion, and she looked back.” J.C. Ryle (1)
“Remember Lot's wife”. The Bible warns that Christ will return when we least expect it. And even if He doesn’t return in our lifetime, we could die before the day is over. (Luke 12:20). Lest we find ourselves among the self-deceived who are banking on our religiosity to save us, we must consider the gravity of Christ's words. We are commanded to examine ourselves to make sure our faith is genuine (2 Cor. 13:5). Do we secretly find our fulfillment in forbidden pleasures, riches, or the applause of this world instead of Christ who died for us? Can we say with Paul "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. "? (Gal. 2:20). Recently I posted 20 Surprising Ways a "Believer" Can Be Self-Deceived , which is a synopsis of the Puritan Matthew Meades’ challenging book The Almost Christian Discovered. This is one of those gems I believe every professing believer should have in their library.
Lot’s wife was found lacking but God's children can be encouraged by this account because it also powerfully demonstrates that God will preserve His elect. The Scriptures promise that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able but will provide a way of escape that we may endure it regardless of how wicked our culture is (1 Cor. 10:13),
“and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment” 2 Peter 2:7-8