Fred E. Dennis
Jesus said to those who were contemporaneous with him: “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). There must be reasons why we should remember that woman. Why single out Lot’s wife and tell us to remember her? In this sinful age in which we are living we do well when we remember Lot and his wife.
The Bible is full of danger signals. Lot’s wife is one of these. Abraham and Lot were agreeing nicely. Both were rich. Both had great flocks and herds. Finally the herdsmen fell out among themselves. Abraham learned about this, and sent for his nephew. The old patriarch said to Lot: “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren” (Gen. 13:8). Abraham was a man of peace. He seemed to think that the very fact that men were brethren ought to be enough to keep down strife between them. And so it ought.
He made a magnanimous offer to Lot, saying: “Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left” (v. 9). That was a big offer. It takes a big man to make a big offer. Abraham was older and wiser than Lot. How much better it would have been for Lot to have allowed Abraham to make the decision! But he had his eyes too much on the things of this world. In his anxiety to secure fine pastures for his flocks and herds, he all but forgot his girls. Girls and boys have souls to save. Flocks and herds do not. “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord” (v. 10). This appealed to Lot. He chose this plain of Jordan. But the book very significantly says: “And pitched his tent toward Sodom.” What a sad “pitch” that was! And how many others have done the same thing! How many have forgotten God in their mad rush after wealth, social prestige, political ambitions, educational attainments, etc.! Had Lot’s wife been as wise as a mother ought to be, she would have advised Lot to move as far from Sodom and Gomorrah as possible. It was a good place for cattle, but a poor place for girls.
Could poor Lot have seen a little way into the distance and could have seen how hard it would be to extricate himself from this wicked environment, never would he have made the choice he did. So it has been with millions of others. Our shortsightedness is pitiful.
“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (v. 13). And they got no better, but rather grew worse. Finally the Almighty decreed that these cities should be destroyed from the face of the earth. This sent faithful Abraham to his knees, pleading in behalf of these cities for the sake of Lot and his loved ones. What a spirit to manifest! In his petitions to God, Abraham said: “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?” (Gen. 18:23-24). God assured him that if there were fifty righteous within the city he would spare the city for their sake. Abraham knew the wickedness of the place. He kept pleading for the city until he had the promise of the Lord that if there were ten righteous within the city he would spare the city.
Ten righteous people would have been the physical salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah. But they were not to be found. Lot was warned by angels to flee from the city. But his wicked sons-in-law mocked him. Lot’s mistake had been made in coming into this wicked place, in the first place, with those girls of his. They had married the wicked Sodomites. What a mistake it is for a pure Christian girl or boy to marry a wicked and sinful person! Finally the angels laid hands on Lot, his wife, and their two daughters and brought them out of the city, commanding them: “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed” (Gen. 19:17).
“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (v. 26). And this is the last time that she ever disobeyed God! You know there will come a last time.
And Jesus told somebody to remember this woman. There are so many things that we ought to learn and remember from her. We ought to be able to see that the things this world has to offer do not compensate for the loss of a soul. We ought to put first things first. The salvation of our soul and the salvation of the souls of others ought to be our first consideration. Do not allow business, pleasure, or anything else to come before our duty to God. We should be able to see the danger of putting our children in wicked environments and under the influence of the ungodly. One of the most dangerous things is to marry outside of the family of God. Thanks be to God, it has worked out many times to the salvation of the one who was not a Christian. And while this is true, numberless are the times when it works the other way. And to think of the eternal consequences involved! Unborn generations will be influenced by these dangerous alliances.
And then we should learn from Lot’s wife that when we have been delivered from the pollutions of this world we must not look back. Lot, his wife, and the girls were on their way to safety, but she looked back. Christians have escaped the pollutions of this world and are on their way to heaven, but heaven will not be reached if we look back to the sinful things of this world. Jesus said: “No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Many are looking back, and some have gone back; and such are not fit for the kingdom of God.
“Remember Lot’s wife.”