“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).
“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).
I have always found the story of Lot a bit curious. We know that this nephew of Abraham accompanied his uncle from Haran to Canaan (Genesis 12). Both men must have been wealthy, for eventually the land could not sustain both Abraham’s and Lot’s flocks and herds. The two men had to separate, and Abraham gave Lot first choice on where to go.
“And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar” (Genesis 13:10, NKJV).
Lot chose well. Or did he?
As we continue reading through Genesis, we learn of Sodom and Gomorrah’s great wickedness and God’s impending judgment. Although God did not spare the cities, in His mercy He sent angels to lead Lot and his family to safety. Only Lot’s wife and two daughters agreed to flee with him, and that may well have been reluctantly. Second Peter 2:8 calls Lot a righteous man who was vexed by the wickedness around him. Yet he did not leave. That puzzles me. Why not?
As the angels literally pulled Lot and his family from the city, they were instructed to escape for their lives and not to look behind them. Lot’s wife could not resist; she looked back. I’ve often wondered why. What was so valuable behind her to risk her life. Was it family? Possessions? A wealthy lifestyle? Influential friends? We will never know why she took that one last glance. We do know Jesus warned us in Luke 17 to remember her decision for it was a fatal one. We cannot value things more than our eternal safety.
Running Forward, Looking Back
Have you tried running forward while looking back over your shoulder? It’s not easy. You can trip or crash into something. Philippians 3:13 reminds us that we must forget the things behind us and reach out toward the things ahead. Looking back distracts us. We lose focus and do not have our eyes on the goal.
Is there something causing you to look back to former things? Is it worth the risk? Jesus clearly states in Luke 9:62:
“No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Prayer: Lord, nothing is more important in my life than You and the work You have given me to do. Help me to keep my eyes focused forward and on the goal. Don’t let the things from my past pull me back or distract me. I want to press toward the mark and achieve my eternal prize.