A few weeks ago, our pastor spoke on the subject of Sodom and Gomorrah. Controversial to say the least – it has been a part of the Bible stories in the book of Genesis that has always troubled me. And I am not alone. This story alone has been what ‘the church’ has based its bias and taboo against homosexuality.
I thought our pastor handled the subject matter respectfully and provided information and clarity. Because this passage of scripture is talking about violence and blackened hearts of the people in that place and not anything specific – it is easy to pick out what we believe scripture is saying. Because there were not even 10 righteous people living there, God decides to destroy. Everyone except Lot and his family.
The troubling points to be sure are these:
1) The wicked and violent men in the city
2) Lot offering his virgin daughters
3) The looking back of Lot’s wife
The thing that troubles me – and I guess it always has is this: How are we any different from those wicked and angry men in that city? There seems to be SO MUCH anger and violence today in our world. There are also REALLY BAD parents raising children. Drug addicts, those involved in alcoholism, prostitution, child pornography etc. It makes what Lot did – seem really tame. And he was just doing what the culture of that time would have regarded as right – ‘the law of the guest’ – meant – that your houseguest came FIRST in comfort and safety – even before yourself and your own family.
And then finally – the last act of rebellion from Lot’s wife as they fled the burning cities.
She looked back.
Was this really so bad? Have you ever looked back? Grieved or lamented over something lost? This woman lost her home and everything material she ever owned. Her very existence was gone in a moment. And yet God told them – “Don’t look back”.
I should be a pillar of salt. And so should you. We have all done it. Are we ever sad and hurting? Lonely and feeling abandoned – missing something you once had?
Or was this ‘looking back’ something more? Once more – it seems to be a heart issue. God is very good at getting right to the bottom line. Since he knows our heart – and knows we are prone to wander – I believe He helps us and constantly stays with us when He knows we will have a hard time leaving something or someone behind. When we forfeit His presence in our lives, turn our back on what the spirit whispers to us, rush past the red flags placed in our path to warn us – we are one step closer to a hardened heart. I believe that this is what happened to Lot’s wife. She had turned her back on God. She wanted other things ahead of Him – even though she knew that God was with her husband Lot and her family. Her spiritual undoing came long before she turned around and got that ‘last look’ at her home.
I am humbled by this story. It is though-provoking. It is raw. And serves as a great reminder to us today – that we not stray from His touch and presence in our lives. And He will keep us safe. He will guard and guide us – just like Lot and his children.