Please Read: Genesis 19:1-29 and Luke 17:26-33
Lot’s Wife. We don’t even know her name. We don’t know where she’s from. We have to piece together her story by looking at her husband and listening to Jesus.
A Whole Lot About Lot
- Haran (person) was Lot’s father. Haran died in Ur. Terah, Lot’s grandfather moved the family including Abram and Lot to Haran (place.) Slightly confusing, I know. No mention of Lot’s wife at this point – but she could’ve been Chaldean and come with them on this journey.
- Terah dies. Abram steps out in faith, obeys God and moves to Canaan. Lot goes with him. Still no mention of a wife.
- To escape a famine, Abram moves to Egypt. Lot goes with him. No wife mentioned but when they leave Egypt Genesis 13 says: “Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, also had flocks, herds, and tents.” Lot now has tents of his own. Did he acquire a wife in Egypt to live in those tents?
- Next, we find Lot’s herdsmen quarreling with Abe’s men. Abram and Lot are both very rich – they need some space. Abram allows Lot to choose where he’d like to live. Lot looks things over and selects Sodom because it “was well watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt.” He chose by appearance alone. He certainly didn’t pick it for the spiritual climate which is described like this: “Now the men of Sodom were evil, sinning greatly against the Lord.” Maybe he chose his wife the same way – for her appearance only.
- All the people of Sodom, including Lot (who was living in his tents outside Sodom) are kidnapped by foreign kings. Abram and his 318 trained men come to the rescue. Genesis says Abram “brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people.” Ah, women! Could one of the women be Lot’s wife? Could Lot have married a woman of Sodom?
- Abram entertains guests. They let him know that they are about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. By this time, Lot has moved from the suburbs into the city. Abram dares to bargain with the Lord for the lives of his nephew and family. Eventually, God agrees that if there are ten righteous souls in Sodom, He will save the whole city for ten obedient believers. Because the angels later mention sons and daughters when warning Lot, it is quite possible that Lot’s family was larger than just his wife and two daughters – maybe ten people.
The angels go to Sodom and tell Lot the city will be destroyed urging him to: get up, to get out, to flee, to run for their lives and not look back. Lot lingers. The whole family hesitates. The son-in-laws laugh. In the end the angels have to take their hands like little children and lead them out of the city. And then it happened:
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
If you go to the Holy Land today to visit the Dead Sea, your tour guide may show you “Lot’s Wife” standing at the edge of what used to be Sodom and Gomorrah – now a desolate wasteland. She’s been standing there a long time as: a monument of an unbelieving soul (Herbert Lockyer) and a permanent symbol of a woman who looks back and refuses to move forward (Edith Deen). Josephus wrote about Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt saying: “for I have seen it, and it remains at this day.” (Jewish Antiquities, Book 1, Chapter 11.4)
Why Look Back?
The Bible makes many references to Sodom – mostly as an an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly if they don’t repent – but, in our culture, Sodom has become almost synonymous with homosexuality. So, why would a heterosexual wife look back with longing on the city filled with men who wanted to rape her house guests? Ezekiel 16:49-50 spells out the real sins of Sodom – average American things like pride & self sufficiency, luxury & good food, comfort & security, idleness & apathy.
“Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters (outlying cities) had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and committed repulsive acts before Me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.”
Lot’s Wife didn’t want to give up her life of luxury. She lingered, she looked and she was lost. She did not allow God to save her because she had never surrendered herself to Him. Her feet may have been carrying her away from Sodom but her heart stayed with her true love – her home, her nice things, her place in society.
By moving in to the city of Sodom, Lot lost everything – his status, his wealth, his wife. The New Testament describes Lot as “greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard).” Why would he move into a city characterized by sin? Why would he stay with a rebellious, disobedient people if it tormented him day and night? Perhaps he stayed because, like so many other men, he loved his wife and would do anything to make her happy. Once again a woman of the Bible shows us the power for good or evil that a wife has in her husband’s life.
How is Jesus involved in Lot’s Wife’s Story?
Maybe we’re reading too much into Lot’s Wife’s motives. Maybe she just loved disaster flicks and wanted to see things burn up. Jesus gives us a little more insight into the heart of Lot’s Wife. In one of the shortest verses in the Bible He says:
“Remember Lot’s wife.”
Why are we supposed to remember Lot’s Wife? The Living Bible says it best: ” When I (Jesus) return the world will be as indifferent to the things of God as the people were in Noah’s day. They ate and drank and married—everything just as usual right up to the day when Noah went into the ark and the Flood came and destroyed them all.
And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot: people went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and brimstone rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the hour of my return.
Those away from home that day must not return to pack; those in the fields must not return to town— remember what happened to Lot’s wife! Whoever clings to his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall save it.” Luke 17:26-33
Questions to Ponder:
- Are you clinging to anything in this life other than God to fulfill you? Husband? Career? Children? Looks? Home? Fitness? Stuff? Our culture today is much like the culture of Sodom. Are you a person who lives for the things of this world? Do you find yourself guilty of any of the sins mentioned in Ezekiel 16:49-50? If so, why not take a moment to confess them?
- Do you live in the past? OR Are you always looking to the future, for things to get better so you’ll finally be happy? What would it take for you to live in faith and obey God, right here, right now, today?
- What would “losing your life,” surrendering completely to God look like in your life?
Oh, Lord. What does it benefit a woman if she gains the whole world but loses her own soul? Lord, take care of my soul. Help me to examine my emotions and the thoughts/intents of my heart. Show me my sins and help me repent, turn around and go a new way. Your way. Help me to walk away from sin, to make daily choices that reflect my commitment to you and not look back. Help me to remember Jesus’ words “Anyone who puts (her) hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” I want to be fit for service in your kingdom. Amen
The Bottom Line
Things I learned from Lot’s Wife: I need to keep from myself from idolizing the real sins of Sodom – comfort, luxury and self-indulgence