Genesis 19: 14-26
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry[a] his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in Your eyes, and You have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.” 21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
It’s Time to Look Forward
A lot has been said about Lot’s wife. In fact, she is probably one of the most famous unnamed woman in the history of western civilization. Churched or unchurched, many have heard the phrase, “Remember Lot’s wife!” Interestingly, the phrase has been used as a warning against disobedience or doubt. Nevertheless, I often wonder if Lot’s wife looking back was more complicated than simple disobedience. Was she really:
- Disobedient or just too weary
- Disobedient or just fearful
- Disobedient or bitter
- Disobedient or skeptical
I believe that what is significant about Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt is that she became frozen and fixed in a specific place and time simply because she refused to abandon a past that was actually dysfunctional and dangerous. She refused to embrace a new and promising future.
As we enter 2018, it seems that America is standing where Lot’s wife stood: in between a past that so many long for and an uncertain future. Many Americans, including American Christians, feel that America needs to be made great again suggesting a bygone era to which we need to return. As a person born, raised, and fully educated in America, this concept puzzles me. All my life, I have been told by virtually everyone, including my immigrant parents, that America was and is the greatest country on earth. So now, as we enter 2018, I want to know exactly when wasn’t America great?
If it was great all the years women couldn’t vote, why isn’t it great now?
If it was great when employees worked 12hrs/day, 6 days a week, and lived in cramped apartments owned by their employers, why isn’t it great now?
As we enter a new year, I fear that many Americans are longing for a past that wasn’t actually good for them or the country. Lot and his family prospered exceedingly in Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet the people and the land were cursed by God. This tells me that just because we may have gotten comfortable in certain scenarios or prospered with certain tactics, does not mean that God doesn’t want us to change and move in a completely new direction.
Remember Lot’s wife! In 2018, we cannot let fear, skepticism, bitterness, or weariness from previous years make us disobedient to God’s will for our lives.