LUKE 17:32- “Remember Lot’s wife!”
Lot’s wife is one of the many unnamed characters of Scripture. We don’t know her background or how or where she and Lot met. We only know she was a mother of two daughters (see Gen 19:15) and that se lived with Lot in the notoriously wicked city of Sodom.
Lot, for the record, was the nephew of the great Abraham. Originally from Ur (a Chalden city near the Persian Gulf). Lot had moved west with his uncle and grandfather to Haran (see Gen 11:31-32). Later, when God told Abraham to journey south, promising to bless him and the world through him, Lot wisely tagged along.
They passed through Canaan. They spent time in Egypt. Pretty quickly the abundant material blessings God poured out on Abraham spilled over into Lot’s life. Suddenly the land could not sustain the huge herds of both men. Lot chose to move father east. He unwisely “set up his tent near Sodom”-despite the fact that city of Sodom had a notorious reputation for evil (Gen 13:12-13).
When we next see Lot, he’s conducting business at the Sodom city gate, and he’s living in a house (not a tent) in (not near) the city (see Gen 19:1-5). Sodom had obviously become home for Lot.
It’s possible this is when and where Lot met his wife. But even if she wasn’t from Sodom, we do know she didn’t want to leave there-no even when God announced judgment and warned Lot and his family to flee. Lot’s wife was reluctant to go even when two angels compassionately took her by the hand and led her and her family out of the city. “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop!” (Gen 19:17), an angel warned Lot and his family just before God unleashed his fury.
It was then, without actually saying anything, that Lot’s wife revealed everything about her heart and her character, about her values and priorities. As divine judgment rained down, Lot’s wife “looked back and became a pillar of salt” (Gen 19:26).
Late in his ministry, Jesus was talking with his disciples about his second coming, He told them the end times would be like “it was in the days of Noah” (Luke 17:26). You’ll recall that even while Noah built a massive ark, he fervently warned his neighbors of a catastrophic judgment to come. People yawned and went on with their lives as usual.
And then, just in case his followers weren’t fully grasping the gravity of his words, Jesus warned that in the last days (similar to “the days of Lo”‘ Luke 17:28), people will be so preoccupied wit all the stuff of this world-“eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building”-they will miss the signs. Or they will ignore them. Either way, they will not be prepared.
To illustrate his point, Jesus said those memorable words: “Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32). Remember the woman who married a successful man and probably enjoyed many of the finer things in life. Remember the woman who seemed to be oblivious to the evil around her. Remember the woman who resisted and ultimately spurned the compassionate mercy of God. Remember the woman who, when she was staring the eternal in the face, could think only of temporal things.
Lot’s wife serves as a cautionary tale about the deadliness of worldliness. That she relished living in an evil culture like Sodom’s was bad enough. That such a culture lived in her proved to be her undoing.
It’s easy to forget the danger of getting too chummy with a corrupt world. The process is almost imperceptible. It always happens to degree. A concession here, a decision there, and before we know it we’re a long way from where we ever intended to be. Our hearts are set on all the wrong things. Our values are warped, and we are treasuring possessions that not only will not last but many actually destroy us.
This is why we need the pithy warning of Jesus to “remember Lot’s wife.” We will never find the security we crave by fixing our hope on insecure things.
No one, of course, knows when Christ will return. But surely when that day comes, the things treasured most by our culture (financial wealth, physical beauty, fit bodies, designer clothing, elegant homes, career success, etc.) will be worthless.
Only a fool stares longingly at the temporal when facing the eternal.