After preaching my sermon yesterday, my wife pointed out to me how Lot desired to go to Zoar rather than flee into the mountains as told. They were allowed, and had been commanded not to look back. It was only after getting to this little city, that Lot’s wife turned back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Katie’s point: had they escaped into the hills as first instructed she may never have looked back, but because of Lot’s “easy way out” idea, she did and was destroyed. I think she has a rather good point. It’s one that we all need to heed. Our sins and our “roads of least resistance” plans can harm others. We do not live unto ourselves. We are always, by actions and by words, affecting others.
That being said… have you ever noticed that Abraham looked at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Lot and his family were not allowed, but Abraham was given no instruction to turn away. One could only speculate, and so we can’t make this into dogma, but here are my thoughts anyway:
- Lot and his family were “too close” to the situation. They had experienced Sodom first-hand. There was a part of them that must have loved Sodom. Remember that Peter stated that Lot was tormented in his righteous soul. He was tortured upon seeing and hearing the people of Sodom. He lingered after being warned twice of impending doom. They were simply too close.
- Abraham was separated from Sodom. He was allowed to look upon the cities’ destruction as an objective observer. He understood God’s righteousness and the people’s wickedness. He had not been influenced by what he’d seen and heard.
- For Lot and his family to look back would mean that they were still tied to the city. Rather than be grateful for their rescue, turning back would show that they longed to be with the people. They did not see the destruction of a wicked city, but the burning of their home and all they’d known.
Again, I think this is a lesson for us all. There are sins in our lives that we escape from, but we must never even give a hint of looking back to those sins. Let them stay dead. Let them be destroyed. If one has lived “porn-free” for five or even twenty-five years, he must not think that one viewing of a movie or a quick peek on the internet will not do any harm. Let it stay dead. If one has conquered his lying tongue so that he speaks the truth in love, he must not turn back for a moment even if it is “a little white lie.”
Abraham saw these things being destroyed and could see it for what it was. There was no part, not even a hint, that desired something other than what God was doing. He was content with God’s destruction, but longed for his family to be safe. Sadly, it would seem that not all whom Abraham thought believed actually did. But some were safe, and Sodom was not. Lot and his family had been so engrained in Sodom that some part of their hearts would remember the place fondly. For that reason, they could not look back.
Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God,” (Luke 9:62, ESV). Once we begin our journey, we must not look back and long for the things of our former kingdom. God has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son; there is no looking back.
Watch yesterday’s sermon “Linger” (Genesis 19:15-16) for greater understanding of sin and God’s mercy.