ESV - 26 But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
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"Lot’s wife evidently was reluctant to tear herself away from the material things being left behind. So that we would not miss the point, Jesus included it in a warning... It was when cautioning against being overly concerned about material possessions that he tersely said: “Remember the wife of Lot.” (Genesis 19:12-26; Luke 17:31, 32)" (Some additional thoughts about "turning to the things behind", see http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012206.)
But why did Lot’s wife look back? Was she curious about what was happening? Did she turn back because of disbelief or lack of faith? Or, rather, was hers a longing gaze for all the things that she had left behind in Sodom? (Luke 17:31) Whatever the reason for her looking back, she paid for her disobedient act with her life. Just think of it! She died the same day as those perverted inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. No wonder Jesus said: “Remember the wife of Lot”! 3 We too are living at a time when it is vital that we do not look back in a figurative sense. Jesus emphasized this point when he answered a man who had asked if he could return to his family to say good-bye before becoming a disciple. Jesus said: “No man that has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind is well fitted for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Was Jesus being harsh or unreasonable in answering this way? No, for he knew that the man’s request was merely an excuse to evade responsibility. Jesus described such procrastination as looking at “the things behind.” Does it matter whether the person plowing looks momentarily at what is behind or actually puts down the plow and turns around? Either way he is distracted from what he should be doing, and his work may be affected negatively. 4 Rather than turning our attention to the past, we must keep our eyes focused on what is yet ahead. Notice how this is clearly expressed at Proverbs 4:25: “As for your eyes, straight ahead they should look, yes, your own beaming eyes should gaze straight in front of you.” 5 We have good reason not to look at the things behind. What is the reason? These are “the last days.” (2 Tim. 3:1) We now face, not just the wiping out of two wicked cities, but the destruction of an entire world system of things
A lot of us today have a problem with wanting to return to what familiar to us.God wants to take us to the next level and we want to stay in the past. He said he would show us things that we know not.
Each time God gives an instruction, it's for our safety and good. Disobedience is simply a function of unbelief. We are not of those that draw back to perdition....our main goal should always be to please our Commanding Officer and Master, Jesus; and in so doing walk in the purposes and paths He has ordained for us, thus live a fulfilling live. It's said of David that he served the entire purposes of God in his life and slept. It's therefore in this sense that we become an eternal excellency and a joy to many generations when and only when we serve His purposes.
Does Mrs Lot "looking back" mean that she wanted to go back to a city under destruction by fire and brimstone being rained down on it? If my town was burning or being bombed or destroyed some other way, would my looking back at the destruction of the place where I've been living mean that I'm thinking about how I'm going to miss the sin that the city has to offer? Maybe I have friends there that I'm thinking about. Was Lot's wife said to be involved with the sin that was so prevalent in Sodom? I don't see in scripture where she, Lot, or their daughters were involved in the sinful culture of the city. But... She and the family were told to "not look behind them" (Genesis 19:17). Why they were told this isn't explained. What harm could it cause to look back at a "train wreck?" Does looking back mean you're wanting to be in the train wreck? Jesus mentioned Lot's wife "looking back" in Luke 17. He was teaching on the coming of the kingdom of God. It would come without "signs to be observed" (Luke 17:20). He said the kingdom would arrive like lightning, "flashes out of one part of the sky, [and] shines to the other part of the sky." He reminds them of how normal the day was when the destruction began in the days of Noah and of Sodom and Gomorrah. Everybody was going about their normal daily routines. When judgment is upon us it's too late to "try to save yourself." That's His point. He says the person on the rooftop and the person working in the field should not try to go back to the house to get their goods. "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it" (Luke 17:33). What's He talking about? He says "remember Lot's wife." Does He mean you shouldn't try to preserve your life, that being cautious is not a good thing? The scriptures are often misunderstood to promote such carelessness. I think it was His way of saying that you can't save yourself, that the One passing judgment is the One you should listen to and obey if you want your life to be preserved. Only He can preserve your life. You must concede that you can't hold onto a life that is finite and receive a life that is eternal. (The bird in the hand isn't worth the one that is in the bush). I don't think Mrs Lot was lamenting leaving a sin-sick city. I think it was just the life she was accustomed to living. Her home was being destroyed and she, like many other people would be, was probably saddened by it. The church I grew up in taught that she was wanting to return to a sinful city, as if she had been involved in the sinful culture that was a hallmark of Sodom. I didn't buy it. That's only an accusation with no real proof. Lot was a just man (2 Pet 2:7). Was his wife living differently than he was? I don't think so. I think she was sorry to see the life she'd been living end, but I don't think that life was a life of wickedness that was prevalent in Sodom. Jesus was talking about the new life that is only available to those who will leave the old life behind. It matters not whether you live in a sinful city (on a rooftop) or a rural area (out in the field). You must be born again. If you try to keep the same life and clean it up, you lose the new life that is being offered. Mrs Lot's mistake was to not heed the warning. That is what happened to Noah's contemporaries. They didn't believe the gospel. What gospel? The "good news" of an ark being provided for salvation from the flood. They didn't believe the warning of the coming judgment, so they didn't think they needed an ark for salvation. That's still true for many today. But in accordance with [your] hardness and impenitent heart [you're] storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Rom 2:5). We still don't know why "looking back" would lead to being "turned into a pillar of salt." Disobedience is costly.
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