Summary: Jesus' warning about Lot's wife is sobering and important for us today as we begin a new year. What's making you look back?
2010 is upon us folks, welcome to a new year, a new decade and a new season of possibilities. How many of you are excited about what God has in store in 2010? This will be a year of planning for future growth and taking steps of faith, to see God’s plans unveiled before our eyes. This kind of talk gets me so excited and passionate, but God would offer a word of warning to all of us this morning. As we look forward with great anticipation remember Lot’s wife, whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it. One of the defining characteristics about Christians should be a people that are perpetually going forward. Pressing on into new things, new victories, new depths in relationship with God, and new Kingdom successes. Is that what your life looks like? Lot’s wife was on the brink of a brand new life with God. In His grace God rescued them from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but she never made it too far out f the city because she looked back. Where are you looking this morning? Forward in faith or are you looking back? I want to learn some lessons from this story this morning that will help you make the most of 2010.
Sodom and Gomorrah were cities of wickedness so rampant that God was going to destroy them. 2 angels came to get Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and his family out of the city. Lot had moved to this area when him and Abraham had separated and he had settled into the city and in the midst of this wickedness Lot had remained a godly man. Although the men of the city wanted the angels for themselves, Lot protected them and listened to their warning about God’s plans. The angels gave them this warning in verses 15-17. It would be this last command that Lot’s wife would break and it cost her life.
1. It’s in our nature to turn
Sodom and Gomorrah were 2 cities renown for sin and absolute corruption. Lot was a godly man, yet somehow he had found his way into this city and had a family there. Lot’s wife was ready to follow her husband out of the city, but remember that this was her hometown. Might have been easy for Lot to leave, but everything she knew was here: friends, family, home and all her possessions. As they are running from the city with the words of the angels still fresh in her mind she looks back. Why on earth would she do that? Because it is in our nature to look back, even go back to things in our past. It doesn’t matter how clear a warning she got she still did it; she gave into her nature.
Ever get warned about something and you did it anyway? I remember growing up and my father telling me that it’s dangerous to put your finger into outlets and light sockets, very wise words, but one day, despite the warnings, I did it anyway. I stuck my thumb into a light socket and stood there paralyzed and shaking until someone pulled it out. It is in our nature to look back, even with terrible warnings. Why do we do it? It’s all about what we want and our curiosity to see if it might be good. Somewhere in our logic we think there might be something good back there for us, which is the same logic the dog uses when going back to its vomit (Prov. 26:11). It’s not any more complicated than that, but the repercussions of such actions can be devastating. Parents give warnings, teachers give warnings, pastors give warnings and still people turn back to old things. That is what we must resist with the full armor that Paul talks about in Eph. 6.
2. Mercy is a precious gift
One of the significant points of this story is that God had mercy on Lot’s family. God sent angels to get them out of the city and ensure their safety. The fact that God cared enough for them and Abraham to do this was something amazing. It was going to be hard for them to leave everything and just run away, but they were going to be alive, and they had the promise of a future. This was something that God didn’t need to do, it was something to be appreciated enough to respond in unwavering obedience, but she looked back. She treated this special gift as cheap by disobeying the angel’s instructions. The appropriate response to salvation needs to be a grateful and submitted heart.
Do you know that when we disobey God we treat his gift of mercy, salvation, cheaply, as though it were insignificant? When we think about the great sacrifice that was made on our behalf, so that we could know God, we should be amazed. Why would God do all of that just for me? It reveals His love and the importance He places on you. When we turn back though, take our eyes off of Him and disobey, we telling Him that He is not God, we are. His gift, however meaningful when you received it, now means nothing. We need to treat the gift given with a grateful and submitted heart, which is evidenced by not turning back to our old lives.