Summary: Jesus admonished us to "Remember Lot’s Wife" in Luke 17:32. Have you ever wondered why? After all, we don’t even know her name! There are obviously some power lessons we can learn from her and her life. In this lesson, we hope to learn from her mistak
Open: Luke 17:20-32
Jesus, naturally, was the greatest Biblical scholar and teacher the world has ever known! Here in Luke 17, Jesus is well along in His ministry. You might say that the Pharisees were “on to Him!” They were between the proverbial “rock and hard spot.” They couldn’t just dismiss Jesus as a fanatic for He had too large a following and His knowledge of the Scripture was unprecedented. In this particular encounter, the Pharisees were demanding a miraculous sign as to when this “kingdom” was coming. In this discourse, Jesus explains to them that the kingdom is not coming with signs (cf. vs. 20). Jesus then goes into a discourse regarding His last days. In doing so, He reminds His disciples of a couple Old Testament “tragedies” - days of Noah and days of Lot. What really stands out to me in this discourse are the 3 words spoken by Christ in vs. 32:
"Remember Lot’s Wife!"
Why would Jesus admonish His disciples (and us today) to remember Lot’s wife? After all, we don’t even know her name. There must be a powerful lesson for us hidden somewhere in Genesis 19. Let’s take a look!
Chapter 11 & 12 (Genesis), we find Abram is told to leave Ur, to a land God will show him - 12:4 tells us that Lot tagged along. We’re not told if Lot had a wife at this point, but if he did, we must assume that she too left Ur with her husband.
Chapter 13, the success of the families of Lot & Abraham cause strife among their herdsmen & the ultimate split between the two of them. Lot chooses the Jordan valley and leaves Abraham with the less desirable desert hills of Canaan. Key here is this:
- First Lot located his family in the fertile Jordan valley
- Later (vs. 12) he moved his tents as far as Sodom (he kept creeping closer & closer)
- By chapter 19, Lot had traded in his tents for a townhouse!
Chapter 14, the five southern kings in the Sodom region, who had been serving the four northern kings, rebel. It would appear they (southern kings) try to cut off the “kings highway” (trade route). The four northern kings come down to squash the rebellion, and capture Lot in the process. Abraham learns of Lot’s capture, goes up on the opposite side of the Jordan, catches them in the northern Jordan region (around Damascus), defeats them and rescues Lot.
Chapters 15-17, we don’t hear much about Lot, these chapters deal with the maturing faith of Abraham and Sarah, providing also more details regarding the covenant. By chapter 17, 24 years have expired since Abraham left Haran - plenty of time for Lot and family to establish roots in Sodom.
Chapter 18, God and two angels appear to Abraham as three men. They have two primary purposes:
1. To convince Sarah that she indeed would bare a son.
2. Tell Abraham of the outcry from Sodom & of His plans to investigate.
The City of Sodom:
Thought to have been located on the SE side of the Dead Sea. One of the “cities of the valley” (cf. Gen 13:12; 19:29) which also included Gomorrah, Zoar, Admah & Zeboiim (cf. Gen 19:22-24; Deut 29:23).
When you hear the name “Sodom” what comes to mind?
Sodom was a cesspool of unspeakable immorality and abominations. Note Jude 7.
Sodom’s wickedness and subsequent destruction was so renowned it was commonplace for Sodom to be used as a comparison for the sinfulness of Israel and other nations (cf. Ezek. 16:49-50; Deut. 32:32; Is. 1:10; Jer. 23:14).
The memory of their destruction provide a picture of God’s judgment (Is. 13:10; Jer. 49:18; Matt. 10:14-15; 11:23-24) and made them an example to be avoided (Deut. 29:23-25; 2 Pet 2:6).
Perhaps the clearest picture of Sodom’s sinfulness is found in the text of our lesson.
Before we focus on Lot’s wife, let us look at the story itself:
The Story Begins: (Gen 19) (Read the text one verse at a time and make the following comments):
Lot was sitting in the gate. Elders/judges of a city sat at the gate. Here, they conducted business and legal issues were settled.
Lot, apparently, was a leader in the city.
The verse give us our first clue regarding the wicked condition of the city and Lot’s knowledge of it.
It was customary for travelers to spend the night in the city square (an enlarged area just within the city gate, it served as a market place, etc.).
Their suggestion to sleep in the square was simply customary (these heavenly beings posing as men simply wanted to fit their part as travelers).
Why did Lot strongly urge these strangers not to sleep in the square, rather to spend the night with him?