Intro: Did Jesus believe the O.T.? He often used it to substantiate his teaching. Directed others to its stories. We are preparing to study Gen. 18-19 in our Bible class. If Jesus were to teach the lesson what would He emphasize?
The Bible is full of solemn warnings. Some more direct than others. None are more subtle than the one given by Jesus in Luke 17:32 – “Remember Lot’s wife”.
- It is a serious warning when we think of the person that Jesus names in this context. He did not say “Remember Abraham”, or “pay attention to the lesson of Sarah”, or Jacob. He singles out a rather obscure woman, that he doesn’t even name, who was irretrievably lost in disobedience. The lesson of her life is found in the manner of her death.
- Gen 19:24-26 – 24 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
- The context of Jesus’ words in Luke 17 is the judgment of God; whether the judgment of the nation of Israel a few years later, or the final judgment of all men. The point is that God is ready to judge (as he judged Sodom & Gomorrah), and this woman stands a vital lesson.
- Jesus implies that his audience recognizes the intended lesson, so He simply tells them to remember this woman.
I. Lessons from her privilege: Lot’s wife had every opportunity to not die. Although Lot’s wife is not named we could assume a few things about her.
A. She was well acquainted with the God that Lot served. She had Abraham for an uncle, and could have learned much through his example. (she could have been there when her husband was taken captive by Chedarloamer, and delivered by God’s power.)
B. She certainly was privileged to have angels of God in her own home – They even took her personally by the hand and brought her out of Sodom.
C. Yet what good did all of that do her in the end? All of God’s grace extended to her was wasted. Several important lessons here:
1. It is possible to be lost forever, even though you are religious and have every opportunity to do right. You can come from a good family, have many spiritual advantages, and still be lost.
2. You can even come out of the world, and begin on the right path, but be eternally lost if you turn back. You are responsible for your own faith – your own soul.
II. Lessons from her choice: What was the sin of Lot’s Wife? (again the kids can answer that – She looked back) But why did God care if she glanced over her shoulder at Sodom?
A. To look back was a sign of unbelief. She had to commit the punishment and fate of Sodom to God. He had spoken, and He would do what He said. Sometimes we say that we believe God, but when the test comes we hedge on it, and look back. God calls us to trust Him, and set our faces toward spiritual things.
B. To look back was disobedience – God had specifically said, don’t look back. Go to the mountains and don’t turn around. There was no period given to hear all the excuses or reasons why she disobeyed. That’s what makes lessons of Uzzah, Ananias & Sapphira so difficult for us. They expose justice for what it is, and show us God’s attitude toward disobedience.
C. To look back may have revealed her true attachment to Sodom. Was she displaying a love for what she was leaving behind? Her body was leaving, but her heart was still in Sodom.
• Luke 17:26-30 – 26 “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 “but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
• Jamieson comments on these verses: “It will be observed here that what the flood and the flames found the antediluvians and the Sodomites engaged in were just all the ordinary and innocent occupations and enjoyments of life– eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, in the one case; eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, in the other. Though the antediluvian world and the cities of the plain were awfully wicked, it is not their wickedness, but their worldliness, their unbelief and indifference to the future, their unpreparedness, that is here held up as a warning. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
1. James 4:4 – “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Do we want to be a friend with the world? This doesn’t mean give up everything that is in the world. This world here is all that is antagonistic toward God. The evil that once was a part of your life.
• I Jn. 2:15 – “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”.
• We must not only change our behavior, but we must work on changing our affections. We cannot accomplish that by avoiding God’s people, and spending time in worldly things.
III. Lessons from her punishment: The punishment on Lot’s wife was severe, sudden and irretrievable. When she looked back she was deprived of another chance to escape. All the mercy once extended was suddenly removed. The Bible does not elaborate on what happens. It is revealed as the natural consequence of her choice.
A. There is coming a day when all your chances to obey God will be gone. Some people sneer at preaching and teaching that mentions Hell or any coming judgment. They see it as scare tactics designed to frighten children and fools – we are too enlightened to believe it.”
B. Jesus spoke more about Hell than any other one subject. The pictures of gnashing teeth and unquenchable fire are His words, not mine.
• Mark 9:43-44 – 43 “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—44 “where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
• Think of the numerous examples of those who had every opportunity to do right when suddenly that opportunity was forever gone: Pharaoh, Nadab & Abihu, Korah and his crew, Judas Iscariot, etc.
1. To not warn people about Hell would be to not teach all the truth and make us liable in God’s judgment of sinners. God commissioned the prophet Ezekiel as a watchman over His people. God made his job description very clear.
• Ezek 33:2-9 – 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 ‘when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 ‘then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ 7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 “Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
Conclusion: The lessons of Lot’s wife still have meaning. God is still ready to judge all men, and his commandment remains – don’t look back. Will you flee God’s wrath in the blood of Jesus – Let the angels of God lead you out of this city to safety.