A Devotion for 12 November 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
32 Remember Lot’s wife. Luke 17:32
17 ¶ And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. * 22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. * 23 ¶ The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. * 24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 ¶ But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:17-26
The Scriptures constantly call upon us to REMEMBER the counsel of God in His Word. Repetition of this reminder enhances our memory of past events as well as future promise. The dementia of the world is constantly filling our minds with things contrary to the wonder and beauty of God’s Creation and His Word. When we really desire to remember something, we fix our minds on it and never banish the memory from our minds. The Christian who has devoured, digested and internalized the Word of God is that one whose heart if stayed upon Christ. “3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3-4
God holds back nothing of consequence from His chosen people. He reveals the sins and character flaws of His own just as well as those who have rejected Him. Abraham lied about his wife, David committed adultery and murder, and Paul (Saul) persecuted the Church prior to being struck down on the Damascus Road. These are included for our counsel and enlightenment. When I have doubts that God could ever forgive my sins of the past, my memory goes back to David. If God forgave David, He will certainly forgive me if I have repented in sorrow.
The past is just as important as our hopes for the future. If we have forgotten from whence we came, we certainly will not know to hence we are going.
There is an old illustration I read that is based on a true account of a former stock market tycoon (Marcus Henley) of the early 1900’s. He amassed a great fortune by wisely investing in the market. One day, an old friend and rival saw Henley at the corner of Wall Street and Broad in the process of shining the shoes of any passerby who happened by. The rival went to an empty seat before Henley and asked for a shoe shine. Henley complied and began the shine. The rival smiled down at Henley and said, “Well, old boy, I suppose you lost it all, eh?” “Not exactly,” responded Henley. “When I was a boy of very meager resources, I shined shoes on this very corner. I listened intently to the investors and invested every extra penny I could muster in the market until I had gained my success. But I never want to forget where I started and the place to which God has elevated me, so, I come here on this date every year and shine shoes so that I will never forget the blessings which began at this shoe shine stand.”
Perhaps there is a personal, social and political lesson for us in remembering Lot’s wife. Her story begins with an unrighteous choice made by her husband, Lot. You will recall the story from Genesis 13: “5 ¶ And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. * 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”
Lot chose that land over toward Sodom for its riches and verdant appeal. The same choice is being made by men and women today of the Church. They believe that the wickedness of a certain rich and promising financial or political undertaking will not rub off on them – they believe they can remain above it by compromising just a bit here or there.
It is likely that the wife of Lot (unnamed since no one goes into Hell with a name) lived respectably and godly, as did Lot, under the purview of her husband for a time. But when dealing in trade and barter with the wealthy inhabitants of Sodom, the influences of the city began to permeate her mind and lifestyle. Even Lot, who “pitched his tent over against Sodom” later found himself moving into the city and, finally, sitting as a respected citizen in the gates thereof. When we pitch our tents toward Sodom, we will become tainted with her wicked lifestyles.
Lot’s wife was proud of her stature in Sodom. She was likely a member of the social elite and had a home furnished with the finest accommodations. If the game of bridge had been played at that early date, Lot’s wife would have been a party to it. But now come these two angels from the presence of the Lord to overturn all that Lot’s wife held dear. She was arguably fearful of being destroyed in the flames of Sodom and sealed that fear by going out of the city with her husband and daughters. But her resolve was weakened by a yearning for the leisure and luxury of that sorry city of Sodom. As God began to rain down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah – never to rise from those ashes – Lot’s wife could not resist taking a longing and sinful look back at all she was losing in Sodom thereby becoming the founder of Morton’s Table Salt Co.
There are some important details of Lot’s wife that are conspicuous for their absence of mention in Scripture:
1) She was without known family origin (the Bible is usually precise concerning geneaology).
2) She had no name just as the Rich Man was nameless in the account of the beggar Lazarus.
3) There is no history given of Lot’s wife in biblical history.
4) She is without good deeds mentioned in Scripture.
Only one salient characteristic of Lot’s wife is revealed in Scripture: she was wed to the world.
What lessons can we take from the warning God gives us of Lot’s wife?
1) She forfeited fellowship with the faithful. So do we ere in the company we may keep.
2) She consorted with the wicked. So do many of us in our compromised political and social choices.
3) Her love was of earthly THINGS. We may be taken off course, too, in our affection for wealth.
4) She despised the warning of God. God has warned the Church of the danger facing the nation that turns away from God in their acts and policies.
5) She has become a monument of destruction for like-minded persons. Will our modern church and nation become a monument to destruction in like manner and for like causes?
The warning for Lot’s wife is intended for all of us. God has warned us of sinful living and the
consequences. Unheeded warning hardens our hearts like that of Pharaoh. If we disregard the warnings of God, we, too, shall face certain destruction.
Remember the chains of bondage which our forefathers loosed in coming to America three centuries ago. Remember the bondage and persecution against which we fought in two world wars! Remember, remember!
Our modern American society has been blemished with the same sins as Sodom. Will we heed the warning in time to ameliorate the wrath of Almighty God?