Women of the Bible – Rachel

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Rachel – “Ewe or Little Female Lamb”

Please Read: Genesis 29-31; Genesis 33:1-7; Genesis 35:16-26; Genesis 48:7; Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18

My first child – a precious baby girl – was resting in a portable crib just outside the door of my hospital room. I heard some shuffling steps coming down the hallway. Hurry, nurse, hurry. I want to hold my baby! But it was a doctor; a tired, gray obstetrician who’d seen many babies come and go from this hospital. He stopped, peered into my daughter’s little bed and sighed, “That one’s a beauty.”

Beauty is what defines Rachel.

Leah was plain, but Rachel was beautiful. She had a nice figure. – Genesis 29:17 (NIRV)

Just as God arranged for the unnamed servant to arrive at just the right well to find Rebekah, Jacob arrives at just the right well, at just the right time, to meet the beautiful Rachel. Rebekah watered the servant’s camels but Jacob waters Rachel’s sheep and instantly falls head over heels in love.

Beautiful and Blessed

Yes, Rachel was blessed with great outer beauty – scripture emphasizes a beautiful face AND a beautiful body. She was also blessed with the deep, abiding, lifelong love of a hard-working man. It was truly “love at first sight” for Jacob. Shortly after meeting her at the well, he willingly offered to work seven years for her father in order to marry her. The years seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

But beauty does not guarantee happiness. The painting above by William Dyce shows an enthusiastic Jacob and a hesitant Rachel. The Bible never tells us how Rachel felt about Jacob. In spite of all her outer beauty and the blessings God gave her, the only emotions we have recorded for Rachel are all-consuming jealousy and a spirit of competition with her sister.

Commentaries are really hard on Rachel – calling her greedy, a thief, an idolator, a schemer with beauty that’s only skin deep. The same commentaries are usually very gentle with “poor” Leah. Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. Rachel does seem to treat Jacob’s love in a matter of fact way – the sort of entitled way that beautiful women have about them. His whole life, Jacob loves Rachel more than anyone, yet she isn’t ever happy, only grasping for more.

My question: Does she have a reason? Not an excuse. There’s no excuse for how she behaves in her relationships but there may be some reasons she chooses to spend the rest of her life unhappily competing with her sister.

Beautiful and Bitter

Rachel waited seven years. She planned the perfect wedding. Every detail had been arranged: her gown, the decorations, the food. The ceremony goes perfectly. The guests are having a great time. Just as she was slipping away to the honeymoon suite and her wedding night with her eager groom, her father pulls her aside and sends her sister, Leah, to her new husband’s bed.

Angry, yes! Bitter, no doubt!

Jacob had tricked his brother, Esau, out of his birthright and his blessing. He may have won that wrestling match but now his wives would be locked in combat for the rest of their days. Laban, a master manipulator himself, had deceived the deceiver.

“When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Wasn’t it for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me?”

The wedding ruined.  A permanent, inescapable love triangle formed. Rachel finds herself cheated out of first wife status, relegated to second wife even though she’s first place in her husband’s heart. And to top it off, her husband is enslaved for seven more years to her scheming, greedy father who names his daughters after livestock. But wait, there’s more.

Beautiful and Barren

Rachel. can’t. have. children.

And her sister Leah can. Lots and lots of children.

In Rachel’s world, barren women were considered cursed by God. So what does this beautiful, wealthy, spoiled woman with a husband who dotes on her choose to do? Hint: she doesn’t take it to the Lord in prayer. She gets a bad case of the gimmes.

  • She shouts at Jacob: “Gimme sons or I will die.”
  • Then she schemes: “Gimme children through my maid.”
  • Next she says to God: “Gimme victory in this wrestling match with my sister.”
  • To her sister: “Gimme that love potion and you can have a night with our husband.”
  • When God finally gives her a child, Joseph, she basically names him, “Gimme another one.”

Even when she has children, her life is barren. She is completely focused on the thing she doesn’t have. The thing she grasps for – having children, winning this competition with her sister – is what kills her in the end. God does give her another one, and giving birth to him takes her life.

Rachel had many reasons to be angry and bitter. When Rebekah left to go to Isaac, Laban consulted with her to see if she was willing. We don’t see him consulting with his daughters on this wedding night switch.  The one thing they both agree on in the end is this: they owe their father nothing. The two them are more than willing to hit the road with Jacob when he decides to head back to the Promised Land.

Rachel was a product of poor choices; her own and other people’s. I didn’t want my beautiful daughter to have the same barren kind of life as her. The thing about beauty is this – you didn’t do anything to deserve it, it is a gift from God. It is not a weapon you wield to get what you want out of life, to get your own way. I sat my beautiful daughter down and shared this with her and – by the grace of God – choice by godly choice she grew up to be beautiful on both the inside and the outside.

How is Jesus involved in Rachel’s Story?

In Life Principles from the Women of the Bible Book Two it says: “Every time in scripture when a woman was barren and then later was blessed with a child, that child grew up to be especially significant to the plan of God. Sarah was barren before giving birth to Isaac. Rebekah was barren before giving birth to Jacob. Rachel was barren before giving birth to Joseph.”

In spite of his bitter mother, Rachel’s Joseph ends up being a very special man – a type of Christ in the Old Testament.. Like Jesus: Joseph was beloved of his father; sent to his brothers who rejected him and sold him out; he was unjustly accused and condemned; “buried” in prison; resurrected from prison and exalted to sit on a throne; was a dispenser of bread to starving Egypt (Jesus is the “Bread of Life” for a starving world) and finally  Joseph got a Gentile bride just as Jesus will get a Gentile Bride – the Church.

Rachel is also mentioned in the New Testament – still weeping and lamenting for her children. When she died having her second child, Jacob set up a pillar and buried her by the northern entrance of Bethlehem. This what  Jeremiah 31:15 (NIV) prophesied and Matthew 2:18 said after Herod killed the children of Bethlehem, hoping to kill the baby Jesus:

“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Do you spend more time mourning and complaining about what you don’t have or praising and thanking God for what you do have? Quickly list ten things you are thankful for. If you can’t think of anything, keep practicing until you can. Thanks-giving requires practice.
  2. Have you spent your life longing for the one thing you do not have? What would you do to get it? Have you ever considered placing this thing in God’s hands and trusting Him with it no matter what?
  3. How much time do you spend every day making your outside beautiful?  How much time do you spend every day making your inside beautiful? Have you talked to your daughters about the latter?

Prayer:

Lord, help me to be content with the things that I have because You have said You will never leave me nor forsake me. Amen

The Bottom Line

Things I learned from Rachel: Beauty does not guarantee happiness. Contentment is a choice I make.

originally published February 23, 2016


Women of the Bible – Leah

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Leah – “Wild Cow” or “Wearied”

Please Read: Genesis 29-30; Genesis 49:31; Ruth 4:11

I have to admit, I’ve always related more to Leah than Rachel (even though her parents named her after a wild cow!) I’ve been a bespectacled geek since the second grade. Some scholars think Leah’s “weak eyes” were due to nearsightedness. I can’t imagine Leah functioning in ancient times with myopia and no glasses.

But no one knows what “weak eyes” really meant. It could’ve been a backhanded compliment – as in “her eyes were her only redeeming feature.” The bottom line, however, was Rachel was attractive and Leah wasn’t. And they were both married to the same man. This is not a formula for a happy marriage.

(Jacob) loved Rachel more than Leah. – Genesis 29:30

Blameless?

Commentaries often say Leah was more “spiritually sensitive than her shallow minded sister.” I don’t buy it. Read the text. Really read the text. As I dug deep, I began to see that Leah had flaws of her own. Not the same flaws as Rachel but serious flaws nonetheless.

Imagine Jacob’s shock when he woke up to find Leah in his bed the night after his wedding. She betrayed Jacob just as much as her father did. By participating in Laban’s scheme, she tricked both Jacob and Rachel. Why didn’t she protest going in to take her sister’s place on the wedding night? She could’ve said NO! to her dad or warned Jacob that night. Was she that desperate to get a husband?  Did she despise her sister that much? She was part of the cause of the horrible love triangle she was now caught in.

The “Who Can Have the Most Children Competition”

Leah spends the rest of her life locked in combat with her sister. What do they compete with? Children, specifically sons. “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord.” (Psalm 127:3)  He gives them. We receive them. They are not pawns in a game.

What do Rachel and Leah compete for?  Jacob’s love and affection – at least at first. We see that Leah genuinely wanted Jacob to love her by the names she gives her children.

  • Leah’s Son #1 – Reuben means “Behold a Son!” Leah says: “The Lord has seen my affliction, surely my husband will love me now.” Score: Leah 1, Rachel 0.
  • Leah’s Son #2 – Simeon means “hearing.” Leah says: “God has heard me. The Lord heard that I am unloved and has given me this son also.” At least she is praying to God about her unhappiness. Score: Leah 2, Rachel 0.
  • Leah’s Son # 3 – Levi means “joined or attached.”  Leah says: “At last my husband will become attached to me because I have borne three sons  for him.” He didn’t become attached to her. Ever. Score: Leah 3, Rachel 0.
  • Leah’s Son #4 – Judah means “Praise.” Leah says: “This time I will praise the Lord.” Commentaries often say this shows that she was more godly than her sister, Rachel; that she turned to God in her pain. But her actions that follow would seem to refute this notion.  Score: Leah 4, Rachel 0.

Then Leah stopped having children. By this time Rachel is beside herself with jealousy so she sends her maid into Jacob’s bed so she can claim to have children by her.

  • Rachel’s maid Bilhah child #1 – Dan means Judge.  Rachel says: “God has vindicated me. He has heard me and given me a son.” So, Rachel is praying, too. Not praying with a good motive, but praying. Score:  Leah 4, Rachel 1
  • Rachel’s maid Bilhah child #2 – Naphtali means “wrestling with strife.” Rachel says: “I have wrestled with my sister and won.” Rachel must have been having a blonde moment because it’s now Leah 4, Rachel 2. Honey, this is not winning.

Something seems to change after this statement by Rachel. Leah begins to comprehend that Jacob is never going to return her love. His heart will always be for Rachel. So Leah turns her attention to the “Who Can Have the Most Children Competition” that Rachel started years ago. Instead of vying for her husband’s love, Leah now seems to want to beat her sister at all costs. Leah enters her concubine in the race. The names she gives these boys make no mention of God.

  • Leah’s maid Zilpah child # 1  – Gad means “What good fortune! or troop. Leah does have quite the army of kids now. Score: Leah 5, Rachel 2.
  • Leah’s maid Zilpah child # 2 – Asher means happy. Leah says: “I am happy that the women call me happy.” Does it matter what other women think? What about what God thinks? Score: Leah 6, Rachel 2.

Now’s where it gets really sad. Leah’s son Reuben finds some mandrakes (believed to be an aphrodisiac and to aid fertility.) Rachel wants them. It’s obvious she has control of who sleeps in Jacob’s bed because she allows Leah a night with Jacob in exchange for the mandrakes. Leah complains to Rachel you’ve taken “my husband.” Hadn’t she stolen Jacob from Rachel first? Then she humiliates herself by waiting outside the tent and telling Jacob she bought a night with him.

  • Leah’s Son #5 – Isaachar means “there is reward or recompense” or  “what good fortune.” Leah says: “God had rewarded me for giving my slave to my husband.” No. No. No. This is not good theology. God never condoned polygamy. His plan was always one man, one woman. Leah is way off track here. Score: Leah 7, Rachel 2.
  • Leah’s Son #6 – Zebulun means “exalted, honored” Leah says: “This time my husband will honor me because I have borne six sons for him.” Honor me. No longer is she seeking for his love. She wants him to honor her, to recognize her. Score: Leah 8, Rachel 2.

Then God remembered Rachel. He listened to her.

  • Rachel’s Son #1 – Joseph means “God will add another.”  She’s not satisfied even when God answers her prayers but this is also a bit prophetic as she would have another son. Score: Leah 8, Rachel 3.
  • Rachel’s Son #2 – Benjamin means “Son of my right hand.” Rachel named him Benoni meaning son of my sorrow but Jacob renames the poor tike. She died trying to beat her sister. The thing she wanted most, children, kills her.

Contest over – Final Score: Leah 8, Rachel 4.

How is Jesus involved in Leah’s Story?

Grace. When the Lord saw Leah was unloved, He opened her womb. He didn’t care that her exterior wasn’t lovely – God does not look upon the outward appearance. Just as He saw Hagar’s plight, He saw Leah’s misery. Used by her father, unloved by her husband, and resented by her sister, God heard Leah crying out. He never overlooks the cry of the unloved. God knows and God cares.

Rachel may have been Jacob’s choice but Leah was God’s choice and God’s will always prevails. Leah ends up first wife, last wife and is buried alongside Jacob in the tomb of the patriarchs. Insecure Rachel was buried alone. Jacob may have loved Rachel more but it is Leah whose son, Judah, ends up in the lineage of Christ. Our redemption and salvation come through Leah’s line, not Rachel’s.

In spite of all her flaws, Ruth 4:11 says Leah and Rachel together built the house of Israel. Leah contributed six sons – half of the twelve tribes of Israel. “A tremendous heritage would come through Leah, the woman with the unhappy marriage,” says author Gien Karssen. Which just goes to show you that there is a reward for perseverance in the face of rejection.

Questions to Ponder

  1. Do you tend to compare yourself to other women and feel like you come up short?
  2. Do you judge others merely by their outer appearance?
  3. Take a moment to look in the mirror and do what the young lady in this You Tube video does – Appreciate what God has given you. When do we lose our ability to do this? When do we start comparing and seeing all our flaws instead of our beauties?

Prayer:

from Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda:

Lord, I don’t want to be critical of how you’ve put me together, relying on what others think of me for my sense of well-being.  Make me a woman who is confident that I am loved, not because of any outward beauty but because you have loved me from the moment you called me into being. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Bottom Line

Things I learned from Leah: Rachel had her faults but so did Leah. We all have different faults.

originally published February 28, 2016


Women of the Bible – Rebekah

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Rebekah – “Captivating”

Please Read: Genesis 22:23; Genesis 24-27 (the main story); Genesis 28:1-5; Genesis 29:12; Genesis 35:8 (Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, is buried); Genesis 49:31 (Rebekah’s burial site); and Romans 9:6-16

Rebekah. A woman who began well but ended poorly. One of her progeny, Solomon, had yet to pen Ecclesiastes 7:8 which says “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.” Her story may have ended better if she’d understood this little bit of wisdom.

The Unnamed Servant

We are introduced to Rebekah when Abraham sends his servant to look for a bride for Isaac. The name of this trusted servant is not given in Genesis chapter 24. Scholars love to insist it was Eliezer, the man who would’ve inherited Abraham’s estate if Isaac hadn’t been born.

But there is another explanation. The servant is not named for a reason. He could be a “type” of the Holy Spirit. (Eliezer’s name, by the way, means God’s Helper.)

The Blue Letter Bible says that “OLD” things are the “TYPES” of the Old Testament, and the NEW things what they stand for in the New Testament. The New Testament is “enfolded” in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is “unfolded” in the New. Or as St. Augustine puts it:

“The New is in the Old contained; The Old is by the New explained.”

Isaac, whose father offered him up as a sacrifice, could be a “type of Christ.” Rebekah could be seen as “the church,” the bride of Christ and the unnamed servant (sent out to bring back the bride) a portrait of the Holy Spirit. The picture works well here because Isaac doesn’t take a handmaid, concubine or second wife. Rebekah remains his one and only wife, his true love.

If the unnamed servant is a picture of the Holy Spirit, he is an excellent role model of the right way to live. I want to be like him.

  • I want to be obedient, doing my Master’s business, knowing and walking in the will of God, trusting Him to guide me, leaving the outcome of my faithfulness to Him.
  • I want to live with breathless anticipation, expecting God to act on my behalf, believing He sends his angels before me to accomplish His will, and that He can use me to bring Him glory.
  • I want to be a woman of adventurous, daring prayer, asking for success and believing my God can and will deliver even before I stop praying.
  • I want to be always on the lookout for how God will miraculously show up in the circumstances of my life, that He has put all the pieces in place even before I ask for His help.
  • I want to worship and praise the Lord the moment I see His Hand moving in my life.
  • I want to be a faithful witness telling other about all that God has done.

Rebekah starts well. She’s beautiful, pure and hardworking. She’s adventurous. Willing to to risk all, she up and leaves her home and family, not knowing where she is going. Kind of like Abraham. But like Abraham’s wife, Sarah, she ends up not trusting God’s word to her and takes matters into her own hands. And like Sarah, she causes an irreparable break in her own family and creates enmity between two people groups.

The Deception

Commentators call the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah one of the most romantic stories in the Bible. I don’t agree. My personal favorite is Ruth and Boaz. I hesitate on Isaac and Rebekah because it says in Genesis 24:67 that…”Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death.” The verse says he loved Rebekah but it never says she loved him back. It might’ve been hard for Rebekah to love a melancholic, contemplative mama’s boy twenty years her senior.

Twenty years later, we see the deep divide between them when they finally have some children. Again, like Sarah, Rebekah was barren for a long time. Isaac prays for her and she conceives. Her pregnancy was so troubled that she inquires of the Lord – what is wrong? what is happening to me? Hagar was the first woman in the Bible that God talked to, but Rebekah is the first woman on record who talks to God.

He answers her telling her she’ll be having twins and that the younger son will rule over the older. The boys turn out to be polar opposites. Isaac prefers Esau the outdoorsman and Rebekah prefers Jacob, the indoorsman. Favoritism destroys Isaac and Rebekah’s family.

But if you show favoritism, you commit sin.
James 2:9

Every time I watch “White Christmas” I find myself shouting at Judy Haynes, “Just talk to him!” Every year she believes the gossip and goes away without talking to the man she loves. Instead of just talking to Isaac, gently reminding him of what the Lord has promised regarding Jacob, Rebekah deceives him. She tricks and betrays her Old. Blind. Husband. What is a good wife supposed to do? Scripture says she does her husband good and not evil ALL the days of his life.

Rebekah prayed over her troubled pregnancy but “she neglected to consult God with her plan even though He had given her distinct predictions about the future. The woman who once had sufficient faith to trust God for and an unknown future now felt that she had to help Him out a bit.” (Gien Karssen)

I always have wondered what God would’ve done if Rebekah had stepped aside and let Him work all things together for good?

As a result of her manipulations, Rebekah’s precious son, Jacob, is sent away and she will never see him again. She says go for “a few days” but he stays away 20 years. She will die before he returns.

How is Jesus involved in Rebekah’s Story?

It’s a sad ending to Rebekah’s story but we know that God will include her child, Jacob, in the line of Christ. He redeems all things. We’ve already seen that Isaac and Rebekah’s story can be a portrait of Christ coming for his bride but there’s one more connection to Jesus.

Esau, Rebekah’s other son, marries foreign wives, breaking his parents’ hearts and causing them grief. He becomes the father of the people of Edom, another one of Israel’s enemies. Herod the Great, an Edomite, would murder all the children in Bethlehem trying to kill Jesus. And his son, Herod Antipas, would be the man who ridiculed Jesus at the trial before He was hung on the cross.

Rebekah was a woman full of faith and full of flaws. A woman like you. A woman like me. Her story shows us the tragic consequences of having a proud spirit not a patient spirit; of showing favoritism and meddling with God’s promises.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Do you think you know what’s best for your family and demand your will, your way?
  2. Do you act before praying and asking God what is the best thing to do?
  3. Do you have any regrets in the way you’ve handled family relationships? Is there anyone you need to reconcile with?

Prayer:

Prayer from Life Principles from the Women of the Bible Book Two by Wayne Barber, Eddie Rasnake, and Richard Shepherd (with some additions from me.)

Lord, I grieve with Rebekah as I see the consequences of her partiality (and manipulations.) I grieve for her husband, her sons, and for her. I see myself in her mistakes and I want to change. Show me where (I need to change.) Convict me (when I play favorites) in my life. Give me the grace to turn from them and the courage to make wrongs right. Thank you that You are not partial. Make me more like you. Amen

The Bottom Line

Things I learned from Rebekah: Let God carry out His Plan. He doesn’t need my “help.”

Originally published February 12, 2016


Women of the Bible – Lot’s Wife

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Lot’s Wife

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.

lots wife saltThe 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.
Genesis 19:26

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.”
Matthew 17:32

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. What would “losing your life,” surrendering completely to God look like in your life?

Prayer:

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

First published February 6, 2016.