Most of us, if we are honest, if we have to be remembered would like to be remembered for something good and positive. Our contemplation today is about a woman who is remembered for the wrong reasons and whose memory should teach us, sinner and saint alike, many valuable lessons. Jesus, when speaking to his disciples in Luke 17:32 said "Remember Lot's wife." This was a discourse about the Kingdom of God and end times and in the Scripture it is found in Genesis 19: 1-26 where we see the calamitous situation giving rise to Jesus' quotation.
As we proceed with this meditation it is useful to keep in mind some important things:
Lot's wife represents a certain type of churchgoer.
She was blessed and privileged in many ways.
The abundance of blessings and benefits surrounding her profited her nothing.
She died as she lived godless.
Let us now turn to the substance of the matter by looking at why we should remember this woman and we will do so under the following headings:
We should recall her many blessings
She was blessed in her relationships
Her husband Lot was a righteous, godly man and so noted by Peter, "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)" (2Peter 2:7-8). Good men are hard to find, and good, righteous, godly men are RARE indeed. Many women in the church, looking for good, suitable partners, know exactly what I mean.
Her husband's uncle, Abraham the Faithful, was a great man of God as attested to by many scriptures as here, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11: 8-13)
She was blessed with privileged information
She, along with Lot and his household, knew about the pending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (She knew God's secret) "For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it (Genesis 19:13)
She knew the ways of God, knew who he was and she knew the power and the standards of Almighty God. She knew, most likely, God's dealings with Abraham for Lot would surely have told her about him and the reasons for their leaving their country and kindred to journey towards some foreign destination. Today people are so much more aware of the benefits of having restricted information and regard themselves as special in such circumstances.
She was blessed with opportunities
Many people will never be in illustrious company and only a special few will be company to Bible patriarchs. This woman had accompanied Abraham and Lot since they set out from Haran, "Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came." (Gen 12:4-5)
She saw the battles and the victories against impossible odds and over many years she was witness to many supernatural events along the way.
She had many opportunities to believe and be converted. When you witness the awesome works of God close up, when you see things that you know are supernatural, when God shows you real goodness then those are opportunities for repentance, "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Romans 2 - 4)
We should recall her many blotches and blunders
In my article "Messed up economics; Messed up people; Messed up world" that can be accessed here http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=147719 I pointed out how messed up we really are and this woman in spite of her many opportunities and blessings is a good example of this.
She messed up: with her faith
She did not believe God would do what he said he would do; she forgot the lesson of the flood. This is a familiar refrain from today's generation who delude themselves that "God would not put people in hell". Never mind that God says, "The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17)
She had neither trust nor respect for God's word. If she only understood the infallibility of God's word things might have turned out differently, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35), "Being born by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever" (1Peter 1:23)
Even nature submits to God's word as we saw with the fig tree. (Mark 11:13- 22)
She messed up her hope
Hope is never in the past but the future, it's always forward not backwards and Lot's wife did not appreciate that, "But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt" (Genesis 19: 26). Her looking back was not just physical but emotional and mental for she looked longingly, wistfully in the wrong direction.
Like so many today in church who are doing the same thing.
She coveted the past rather than craved the future.
Her love of the old life curtailed her aspirations.
She became frozen in a futile past fearing an unknown future.
She messed up her salvation
She forfeited her chance to be saved. Who could have believed that a simple act like looking back could be so costly? God sent supernatural messengers to conduct this chosen family to safety, he could have given them dreams to follow or a visiting prophet with instructions but he gave them the best; angels. She tired, fell behind, forsook the right path and ended up with her final disobedient act, "And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." (Genesis 19: 17). She looked back, she said no to God for the final time; the Spirit of God took flight and she was consumed.
We should recall her bad end
She was instantly terminated
God's punishment can be swift and without warning. This is something we will never understand fully this side of eternity for some people will be given many opportunities and others very few.
God owes a duty to no one as regards the timing and manner of their demise for the Sovereign Lord can do as he pleases, "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure " (Isaiah 46:10)
A timely reminder that our life is entirely in God's hand, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44) and what is required to be done we need to do now while we have time.
She was instantly transformed
Hers was not a gradual descent that you could see coming for she quickly perished and became a pillar of salt "and she became a pillar of salt." (Genesis19:26b) Having disobeyed God multiple times this woman was in the wrong place and was visited with the might of the destruction meant for Sodom, it scorched her with fire, it engulfed her with sulphurous vapour and encrusted her effigy with salt as a memorial of horror to future generations.
Compare this with blessed memorials like The Passover and The Lord's Supper.
She was instantly transported to hell
No delays or appeals, or pardon and no second chance. It is true according to God's word that the only chance of salvation is in this world here and now for in the grave the doors of mercy are closed forever, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27).
A timely reminder to us all not to trifle with our eternity
Jesus when speaking to his disciples in Luke 17:32 urged them to "Remember Lot's wife" and following their example we have done just that. The Bible is crammed full with people of outstanding merit, people who have distinguished themselves with superhuman endeavour or shown such enormous character under trial and stress that their names jump at us as we open the pages of this good book. Who amongst us cannot but be impressed with the likes of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb to name a few in just one book of the Bible, i.e. Genesis. But Jesus did not refer to any of these but rather to "Remember Lot's wife". So we remembered this unfortunate woman, this woman who had so much for so long with so little to show for it in the end.
What lessons are we to learn from this episode in the life of this nomadic woman? I will humbly suggest the following.
We should understand, appreciate and give thanks to God for the many blessings, in whatever form, he has bestowed upon us.
We should realize that opportunities, however abundant, will be of no consequence if we fail to make use of them.
We need to be mindful of the fact that being surrounded by godly people or being in church regularly or having Christian parents or relatives will not save us. Only by accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour and having faith in his redeeming work on the cross of Calvary will guarantee our salvation.
We should remember that rebellion can have awful consequences and the Bible compares it to the sin of witchcraft.(1 Samuel 15:23)
We should take serious note that time belongs to God, and so too does our life, and when He is ready he will call time on us. (Luke 12:20)
May God help us never to forget this unfortunate woman who in the end turned out to be a woman well worth remembering.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013