And that will be our focus for this lesson. We will examine that which Lot's wife did, trying to learn from it so that we will not make a similar mistake! So, Jesus' command--in addition to Romans 15:4--makes it crystal clear that considering Lot's wife is a worthwhile use of our time. I believe that the best place for us to start remembering Lot's wife is for us to read about the events immediately preceding her fatal mistake. In a recent two-part study on "The Sins of Sodom," we familiarized ourselves with the moral perversion that existed in Sodom in Lot's day. With those thoughts in mind, let us read the next portion of the narrative.
Genesis 19:12-26 - "Then the men [i.e., the angels] said to Lot, 'Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in this city--take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it. So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, 'Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!' But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, 'Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.' And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, 'Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.' Then Lot said to them, 'Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.' And he said to him, 'See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.' Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."
So, WE SHOULD REMEMBER LOT'S WIFE BECAUSE...
1. SHE PERISHED FOR COMMITTING ONE SIN.
What was her sin? Genesis 19:26 - She "looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." She looked back even though God had instructed them all (through the angels) not to look back (19:17). From a human perspective, it may seem like a trivial thing. One might say: "All she did was look back, what's so wrong about that?" But, the fact is, looking back was disobedience to God. It was a sin for her to look back because God said not to, and she paid the price for her error with her life.
We don't know much about the character of Lot's wife, though one might speculate that her sin here would suggest that she was not a godly woman. However, what if she had been a righteous woman? Would she still have been destroyed if she looked back? Absolutely. Is it possible for one to throw away a godly life in a moment of rebellious disobedience? Indeed it is. How sad! Friends, a sin of rebellion will cost you your soul if you do not repent of it! Sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:2)! Luke 13:3 - "...unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
Also consider Ezekiel 18:24 - "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die." To live righteously isn't good enough; we must also die righteously to be found faithful! A life of righteous living is wasted when one turns back to the ways of the world and then dies in rebellion to the Lord!
2. SHE PERISHED EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS MARRIED TO A RIGHTEOUS MAN.
II Peter 2:7,8 - "And delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)." Those two verses state that Lot was a righteous man (in fact, that truth is affirmed therein three times). But, did his righteousness save his wife? No. She chose to disobey, and she perished as a result.
There are some people today who believe that their godly spouse can get them to heaven. I once read about a man who said his wife had enough righteousness for both of them! Such people need to learn about God's judgment. Ezekiel 18:20 - "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." That's pretty plain, isn't it? What about II Corinthians 5:10? - "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
Don't be deceived. God won't take you home with Him just because your spouse is godly. Of course, the opposite is also true. Even if your spouse is the worst of all sinners, that doesn't mean you will be condemned to hell for their sins!
3. SHE PERISHED EVEN THOUGH SHE DESIRED TO BE SAVED.
Stephen, how do you know she desired to be saved? Well, she was traveling away from the destruction, wasn't she? Who wouldn't want to be saved from fire and brimstone? She was headed in the right direction, but for some reason she looked back. There is no doubt that she didn't want to perish, but perhaps she didn't really want to leave either? We can't know for sure, but this seems to be a likely reason why she looked back.
Sadly, it is the same way with many children of God today. They obey the gospel but they just can't seem to keep their eyes off the world! They don't want to perish in hell, but they keep looking back! They want to give in to their lusts and yet still go to heaven! But, Lot's wife would be the first to tell you: "You can't have it both ways!" As I John 2:15-17 teaches - "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." It's not enough just to want to be saved. We must obey God or else we too will perish!
4. SHE PERISHED EVEN THOUGH SHE KNEW THE TRUTH.
Unlike most of the other inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, she knew the truth; she knew the cities were going to be destroyed. She knew how to survive, but she disobeyed! It is a sad fact that there are many people who will go to hell not because they didn't know the truth, but because they didn't obey it!
Remember Matthew 25? The foolish virgins knew what they needed to do, but they perished because they didn't do it! Remember the man with the one talent? He knew what he should've done, but he didn't do it, and he perished! Lot's wife knew what she needed to do--look forward and keep moving! But, she didn't do it! Make sure that you understand that knowing the truth is all in vain if you don't obey the truth!
5. SHE PERISHED EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS ON HER WAY TO SAFETY.
Lot, his wife, and their two daughters were already outside the city before she perished. They were already well on their way to safety when she sinned and died. The lesson for us is simple. It is not enough to just start faithfully, we must finish faithfully! Luke 9:62 - "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Matthew 10:22 - "He who endures to the end will be saved." Hebrews 12:1 - "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." We must be "faithful until death" if we are to receive "the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). It is just not enough to begin walking with God and then quit!
6. SHE PERISHED EVEN THOUGH GOD LOVED HER AND DID ALL HE COULD TO SAVE HER.
There is absolutely no doubt that God loved Lot's wife and her family greatly. After all, no one besides them was warned about the coming destruction, and the reason why they were told was so they could avoid it and be spared. God was very merciful to them; in fact, the angels even helped them get out of the city (19:16). They were then instructed to escape to the mountains from there. God didn't help anyone else out of Sodom & Gomorrah. Everyone else perished.
However, just because the LORD did all He could to save her, she still wasn't saved! Why? Because she disobeyed! The same is still true today! God has done all that He can do to save you and me. The rest is up to us! He sent His son to die for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). He loves us and wants all to be saved (I Tim. 2:4). But, He won't make us repent; He won't make us obey Him! If we want to disobey and perish, He will let us--just like He let Lot's wife turn around and perish. Don't ever forget that God loves you, but He has placed some responsibility for your salvation upon you. It is up to you to choose to obey in order to accept His grace on His terms!
7. SHE PERISHED EVEN THOUGH GOD MADE IT PLAIN WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF SHE LOOKED BACK.
They were plainly told that they would be destroyed if they looked back (19:17). It doesn't get much plainer than that! She perished because she chose to disobey. What about today? II Thessalonians 1:7-9 - "And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." That's pretty plain, isn't it? If a person doesn't know God and obey the gospel, then they will burn in hell for their sins! That is God's plain truth, just like it was God's plain truth that Lot's wife would perish if she looked back. She did look back, and she did perish. Those who don't know God and don't obey the gospel will also perish. It's as simple as that.
8. SHE PERISHED BY MAKING A WRONG DECISION AND HER FAMILY WENT ON WITHOUT HER.
It is sad that Lot's wife chose to turn around and disobey God. However, we can be thankful that neither Lot nor the two daughters turned back to find their mother. They knew that to turn around for her would be to disobey the Lord. They weren't willing to disobey God for her. It's a good thing they didn't turn around or they too would have perished. And, of course, they couldn't have done anything to save her anyway! She had made up her mind, and God had spoken what would happen. Case closed!
Sadly, today there are some people who would rather disobey God than forsake their family. There are individuals who would rather remain in error than change and have to admit to themselves that their friends or relatives are lost in error. Such individuals love their families more than they love God; that is wrong. Lot's family had the right idea. They obeyed God at any cost. Are you willing to do the same?
9. SHE PERISHED AND THOSE WHO ARE WISE WILL LEARN FROM HER DISOBEDIENCE.
As we mentioned in the introduction, we need to learn from the past. Have you learned anything as you've been reminded about Lot's wife? We need to remember that any sin is too much. We need to remember that being married to someone who is righteous won't save us. We need to remember that merely desiring to be saved won't save us. We need to remember that merely knowing the truth won't save us. We need to remember that starting to obey God isn't enough. We need to remember that even though God loves us, we can still be lost. We need to remember that we will be lost if we look back to the world and long for it, and, in so doing, disobey God. And finally, we need to remember that even if we become unfaithful, there will be others who remain faithful, but that won't help us one bit.
Friends, remember Lot's wife. Don't fall into the trap that she did. She was so close to salvation, yet she perished through her disobedience. What about you? How close are you to salvation? You're not close enough if you haven't submitted to the Lord in complete obedience! Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.