I was reading a passage in Genesis in my One Year Bible today. I’m in the middle of God making his covenant with Abraham-he has just changed his name from Abram to Abraham and he just told Sarah she was going to have a baby. Sarah laughs in God’s face and questions it’ll ever happen. Disclaimer-don’t do this, it never works. Many Old Testament stories get passed over today because people don’t want to think of the Yahweh of the OT but rather the Jesus of love and second chances in the New Testament. Both are important. As Christians, we need to be educated on the whole Bible, not just parts of it.
Sodom and Gomorrah was a city where incest and drunkenness were all around, a place where the people’s “sin is very grave” (Genesis 18:20). Picking it up at Genesis 19:23-26: “The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah (God would actually do that?!), 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.” This is the last mention of Lot’s wife. No sorrow from Lot, nor anything related to any further reason why God did this.
Now earlier in the chapter, Lot instructs his wife, daughters, and son-in-laws to “Do not look behind you” (Gen. 19:17). The Lord says in Genesis 19:22 “For I cannot do anything until you arrive there,” to Zoar. The Lord made a promise to Lot, that he wouldn’t destroy the city until Lot arrived to a safe place. So why did God make Lot’s wife a pillar of salt for a simple sin? God made Lot’s wife a pillar of salt for the sole reason that she disobeyed him. Let’s look at it.
God Hates Disobedience
God doesn’t need a reason to have judgement on human beings. In Romans 6:23 Paul tells us “The wages of sin is death,” and since we have all sinned, do we not all deserve death? Flip back a chapter and we see that “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Being obedient to God’s call is the difference in our life and death. If God were to strike me down right now as I’m writing this in my living room, I wouldn’t have a reason or a gripe, because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I do believe Christianity is not a one time occurrence, but a process of daily living in a relationship with Jesus Christ and being obedient to the calling he has on my life. God doesn’t like disobedience, and the smallest of sins mean we have fallen short of God’s glory. God didn’t have to have a reason why he struck down Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt for looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah.
I think this story can be related to Jesus’s story of The Cost of Discipleship in Luke 9. In the same way that Christ came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17), I think this verse fulfills the passage in Genesis 19. Someone told Jesus they want to follow him and he is responding to their statement. Here’s what Luke 9:62 says: “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ ” Similar to when Jesus says we must “take up our cross and follow him” (Luke 9:23), we can’t look back in our relationship with Christ. There is nothing but death behind us and nothing but LIFE in front of us! There’s no reason to look back at the Sodom of Gomorrah you just left when the Lord is leading you to your land of Zoar. Once you’ve put your hand to the plow, there’s nowhere to go but forward. Know that, just as Jeremiah 29:13 says, God has a plan for your life more than anything you could ever imagine, and he’s leading you from a place of destruction to a place of hope. There’s no reason to look back. There’s no reason to question why God’s doing what he’s doing, even though we do anyways. No looking back. Move FORWARD; there’s nowhere to go but straight ahead.
“Ephesians 4:1-…walk worthy of the calling with which you were called”