As a child growing up, I remember hearing the story of Lot’s Wife, who was told to flee Sodom and Gomorrah and not to look back. Unfortunately, for some reason or another she did look back, and fire and brimstone rained upon her as a lesson to us as to why we should always obey God’s instruction. Why did this woman look back and become a pillar of salt? I believe the scriptures give us clues as to why she did this.
In Genesis 19:1 we find Lot sitting at the gates of Sodom, where he sees two men whom he greatly pressed to stay with him instead of the streets that night. In searching to find out about the “gates,” I found it was an area where commerce was done, and leaders of the city would judge and do their business. Proverbs 31:23 states, “Her husband is known in the gates, where he sits among the elders of the land.” In this verse, I find a possible clue that Lot is a well-respected member of the community.
Lot seems to know there is something special about these men and tries to protect them. It doesn’t say that he recognizes them as angels but he treats them as honored guests. When the evil men of the city come to seek those men, he goes out of his home to try to talk them into leaving them alone. The fact that those men listen to him at all before they hear his answer of “no” seems to denote that he is respected in the community. Then, the men begin to deal physically with Lot, and the angels must save him.
Lot and his wife live in a large, wealthy city, and even though there is much evil there, their lives are not terrible. They may have grown used to this way of life slowly, and they have raised their family there. In Genesis 19:12-13, “And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? Son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 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.”
So, Lot and his wife have several children. It doesn’t say how many married daughters he has, but at least two. There is also a question concerning his sons in the above scripture. “And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one mocked unto his sons in law.” Gen 19:14. The married children aren’t going to leave the city. Lot and his wife cannot bring themselves to leave them.
In Genesis 18, the Lord speaks with Abraham and tells him he will destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleads with the Lord that he would not destroy Sodom for the sake of Lot’s family. The Lord assures Abraham that if there are 10 righteous, he would not destroy the city. This leads me to believe that Lot’s family has 10 members, or at least close to it. Although it doesn’t say it in this chapter, Abraham’s pleading is for Him to save his nephew Lot and family. Morning comes to Sodom in Chapter 19 of Genesis, and Lot and his wife cannot make the move themselves to leave the city without their children, and possibly grandchildren.
“And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” The angels brought them physically outside of the city and told them to flee to the mountain, and not to look back. Lot was afraid to go the mountains, and asked to go to Zoar, and once they made it to Zoar, the LORD rained brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah.
At this point, I have to wonder how horrible it must have been for Lot’s wife to leave her children, and then to have the sky rain fire and brimstone, more than likely from a volcano, upon them. The shock of it must have been too great. I suppose it’s one thing to have two men tell you that the city is going to be destroyed, and another thing to actually see it being destroyed. So, she looked back, forgetting God’s warning and was turned into a pillar of salt.
Why does Jesus tell his disciples to “Remember Lot’s wife” in Luke 17:32? I believe we all will have some difficult trials at some point in our lives. Lot’s wife was living a seemingly normal, happy life one day and then the next was devastated by losing most of her family. She didn’t see this coming and wasn’t prepared at all. The Bible tells us about “Just Lot”, giving us an idea that he was a follower of God. Lot’s wife was probably a good woman and put her heart and soul into her family. Jesus uses Lot’s wife as an example to us, that we don’t get so caught up in life that we forget why we were put here on earth. We need to focus on our soul’s salvation daily, so that even though we won’t be totally prepared for what may overtake us, we will know to follow the voice of our Lord.
Jesus is warning us to focus on Him, and not worry so much about our physical lives. This is not an easy task for us, as our physical lives are most tangible. We have all been in quarantine to “save our lives.” It’s important to be prudent and wise, but we also need to focus on our spiritual lives. Get prepared to meet God, and realize that nothing is going to go our way, that we have no control. We raise our children to follow God, but it isn’t our choice to make for them. It’s devastating to think that the ones we love may not choose the way of the Lord. Our parents, spouses, and good friends may choose to do things that break our hearts. Don’t let the devastation bring about our demise as well. May God bless you in your walk with Christ.