Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lot’s Wife—a Woman to Be Remembered

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·bê",  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
* This edited article was originally posted on my blog for the Women in Scripture  series  (2013)  which most of us here at OOTO contributed to.   

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