Remember Lot’s Wife

It was a memorial created about 4,000 years ago. It was created for all subsequent generations and knowledge of it has been preserved for us to this day.

It was during the time of Abraham that it was made

Others who saw it can attest to it:

  • Approximately 2,000 years later: Josephus 100AD
  • Irenaeus 200AD and Tertullian 225 AD speak of it as in their times;
  • 3 Millennia later: Benjamin of Tudela  [12th century] says, it stood in his times not too far from a significant sea in the area

Let’s look at the creation of this monument…this memorial in Genesis 19

We pick up the story of Lot fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah

Genesis 19:21 And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken.

Genesis 19:22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

Genesis 19:23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar.

Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.

Genesis 19:25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

And this is the memorial that was left behind

This is what Josephus and the others had seen and now nearly 4,000 years later here we are viewing this memorial in our mind’s eye… one that God indelibly etched into the words of the Bible in our lap.

Let’s go back and look at more of what happened and why we have this memorial today and why more specifically we are looking at it on this Holy Day — The Last Day of Unleavened Bread

Time Setting of this Event

The chapters of Genesis 17-19 have been associated with Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread even though Passover was not instituted until Exodus 12

Exodus 12:11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.

Exodus 12:16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.

Exodus 12:17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.

Exodus 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.

Exodus 12:19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land.

Exodus 12:43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. [only for those of the congregation of Israel]

Exodus 12:44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it.

Exodus 12:45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it.

Exodus 12:47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

Exodus 12:48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.

We see that in Joshua 5 this continues to be true 40 years later as the children of Israel came into the land of Canaan and right before they took Jericho by circling it during the Days of Unleavened Bread as God had commanded.

Joshua 4:19 Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.

Joshua 5:2 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.”

Joshua 5:3 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

Joshua 5:4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt.

Joshua 5:5 For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised.

Joshua 5:6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD—to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Joshua 5:7 Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.

Joshua 5:8 So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.

Joshua 5:9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.

Joshua 5:10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho.

Now that we have seen some of the physical requirements for keeping the Passover, let’s go to Genesis 17-19 and see

Genesis 17:7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

Genesis 17:8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17:9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.

Genesis 17:10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;

Genesis 17:11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.

Genesis 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.

Genesis 17:13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Genesis 17:14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

Genesis 17:26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael;

Genesis 17:27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

The very next verse, no chapter break in the original

Genesis 18:1 Then the LORD [the God of the Old Testament that became Jesus Christ later; the one that had just made the covenant of circumcision with him] appeared to him by the terebinth [oak] trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. [99 years old; tent probably in the shade of the same trees; sitting in the door trying to catch a little breeze while in the shade seems to be the picture that is being painted here; around 1-3 pm in the afternoon]

Genesis 18:2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,

Genesis 18:3 and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.

Genesis 18:4 Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. [an act of service though he personally didn’t wash their feet]

Genesis 18:5 And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” They said, “Do as you have said.”

Genesis 18:6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.” [had to be unleavened]

Genesis 18:7 And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. [much like the Israelites had to do before the exodus]

Genesis 18:16 Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way.

Genesis 18:22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.

Genesis 18:33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

Next verse:

Genesis 19:1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.

Genesis 19:2 And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.”

Genesis 19:3 But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. [Either they did not have bread around by design or they wanted something fresh; nonetheless when you look up this word here for unleavened bread: matstsâh in the Old Testament, in almost every situation it refers to a significant event, such as Days of Unleavened Bread or in conjunction with a sacrifice; what we don’t find in the Bible is people eating it as a normal course of life ]

Knowing this and the fact that God normally does significant events on the Holy Days or Feast Days, not on every Holy Day or Feast Day but when He does do things if often falls on one of these. So I am not saying that this definitely happened during this season, but there is a very good chance that it did and that it foreshadowed events to come, especially when you look at the meaning of these days and coming out of sin we will be able to still glean a very important lesson from this example that God left for us. So let’s continue in that vein.

Genesis 19:4 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. [It wasn’t just an isolated group of hoodlums, but it was all walks of life]

Genesis 19:5 And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” [homosexuality]

Genesis 19:6 So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him,

Genesis 19:7 and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! [their intent was evil]

Genesis 19:8 See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man [virgins; remember that]; please, let me bring them out to you [not the right thing to do; a lapse in judgment perhaps because of the situation or perhaps a little of Sodom and Gomorrah had worn off on him], and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” [Lot could have been feeling the pressure of having insisted that they stay with him and now it was incumbent upon him to protect them]

Genesis 19:9 And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to stay here, [KJV “This one fellow came in to sojourn” he was a foreigner and not one of them] and he keeps acting as a judge [this combined with the fact that he was sitting in the gate in :1 and that they did not go after him initially could very well point to the fact that he was a man of prestige and means]; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door.

Genesis 19:10 But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.

Genesis 19:11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. [imagine you had just be supernaturally struck blind what would you do?; their depravity knew no end]

Genesis 19:12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place!

Genesis 19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them [from Lot who was considered righteous] has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”

Genesis 19:14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters [not virgins; this shows that Lot had other children, at least two more daughters], and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

Genesis 19:15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.”

Genesis 19:16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.

Genesis 19:17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”

Genesis 19:18 Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords!

Genesis 19:19 Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. [I think he was feeling a little feeble and sorrow for himself]

Genesis 19:20 See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”

Genesis 19:21 And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken.

Genesis 19:22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. (which means little)

Genesis 19:23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. [unclear but could have been the next day after the Night To Be Much Observed when the Israelites left Egypt; a type of sin] [By showing this and making this correlation it drives home why God put this in the Bible and it makes the lesson more pertinent to us today]

Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.

Genesis 19:25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back behind him [KJV: from behind him], and she became a pillar of salt.

Look=look intently at; by implication to regard with pleasure, favor or care: consider, look (down), regard, have respect, see

KJV: Psalm 119:6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

Psalm 119:15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

I think the first time the reader is caught off guard by this act of God

And they are left with questions

Why did this happen? Why was what she did wrong?

We can find one answer in :17

Genesis 19:17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”

She may have not been sure why God said to say this to them – but did it really matter?

Even today, especially when we are new in the faith, we are not sure exactly why God asks us to do the things he does, but we can be sure that they are for our benefit.

Lot’s wife had to find out the hard way, that the penalty for sin was death,

Now it doesn’t always happen this way or this fast…BUT it will happen if we are disobedient

It was a pretty simple and straightforward command “Do not look behind you” and she did

And because of her unbelief she was turned into a pillar of salt. She obviously didn’t believe she needed to heed the command she was given. If you believe something you will act accordingly. If you believe that you can’t fly or breath underwater you will act accordingly. Lot’s wife did not truly believe that she should follow the command of do not look behind you and she paid for it with her life as well as being made into a memorial for all future generations.

Why then was she so compelled to look back? We are given a hint in Luke 17

Luke 17:31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back.

Luke 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife.

Jesus Christ makes the correlation between turning back for the physical [goods] and Lot’s wife

Jesus Christ is saying when the choice is between salvation through Him and what the world has to offer we had better be ready in a heart beat to leave the physical, material world behind.

Let’s put ourselves in the position of Lot’s wife for a second.

As far as we know, Lot was the righteous one, no mention she was righteous
She was being saved for Lot’s sake
So we won’t judge her too harshly
Lot’s wife had a longing for the physical

house and goods and whatever wealth they may have accumulated along with servants (workers)

had enough to cause strife:

Genesis 13:5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.

Genesis 13:6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.

Genesis 13:7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.

Genesis 13:11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.

Genesis 13:12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. [sounds initially like he wasn’t IN the city, but the he eventually became a part of it]

Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. [not a wise decision]

Another reason
It could have been a pining for her:

friends” and neighbors (social life)

Genesis 19:1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.

According to commentaries it could have been a place of prominence and socializing

Maybe it was for relatives and extended family that may have been traveling with Lot to Sodom

parents and/or siblings; don’t really have any direct evidence. But family often traveled together in those days and settled nearby.

But notice what she did leave behind:

other children

Genesis 19:8 See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man [virgins];

Genesis 19:14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, [not virgins; this shows that Lot had other children, at least 2 more daughters], and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

Genesis 19:15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.”

Now that would be tough to leave behind!
There was a good possibility that she is leaving many if not all these things behind
Now put yourself in her place: the time has come to follow the command of God
You have a nice house with equity in it or it’s paid off…and it’s furnished nicely with your accumulation over the years
You’re established; have a good job during hard times that you want be able to get back once you step away from it
Friends and Neighbors
Parents, brothers, sisters, and even children that are grown up and moved out of the house….

Can we still follow God without hesitation? Without looking back?

Notice the admonition in:

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. [Continuing in the verse we now have an if/then statement; it is a conditional statement] If anyone loves the world, (then) the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. [which we are to come out of]

1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. [Our citizenship and goal is the Kingdom of God;]

Do not love the world instead we are to overcome the world (like you did the wicked one)

Do we see why we are admonished to not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

This includes our physical family

Jesus Christ says, in:

Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Matthew 10:38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

Matthew 10:39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

a hard thing to understand and a hard thing to do

Do we trust that God is working everything out according to His purpose and that He does intend to save everyone in their own time? If so, then we will put God first and come out of the world

Come out of the World (John 13-17 is usually read during Passover season)

John 17:11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 17:13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

John 17:14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

John 17:15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person (who has died) or an event.

From nearly 4,000 years ago until today, Lot’s wife has been this memorial…but it has not been a lesson for those that are perishing, but rather it is a warning for those that are being saved.

Remember Lot’s Wife! Why? Because these times are coming again

Let’s go back to Luke

Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:

Luke 17:27 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.

Luke 17:28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;

Luke 17:29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.

Luke 17:30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Notice what else they were doing wrong in Sodom, it wasn’t just the sexual sins

Ezekiel 16:49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness [sound familiar]; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

Ezekiel 16:50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit. [Just as He will do in the end-time]

AND These ARE the times that we live in NOW. We are not to just come out of sin, but we are to come out of sin COMPLETELY.

That is what this day symbolizes. The first Day of Unleavened Bread symbolizes coming out of sin. For seven days we are to put sin out of our lives until we put it out completely.

7 is a number of completion from God’s Word (Psalm 12:6) to the ReCreation of earth in Genesis until God’s return with the 7 Seals and 7 trumpets and 7 bowls of Revelation

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins [just as Lot’s wife did], and lest you receive of her plagues.

Revelation 18:5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

We can not leave one foot in the world. Why would we want to look back to what we left behind?

Instead, let’s look forward

God expects of us, that once we put our hand to the plow we cannot look back and still be fit for the kingdom of God.

When we look back we lose:

  • perspective
  • sense of direction
  • sight of the goal
  • cannot see “the Way”

That is why we are to look FORWARD

We are to continue to look towards the Goal and the Vision that we have been given
We cannot look forward and backwards at the same time
We cannot serve two masters: God and the World
Once we are on the spiritual path, we cannot go back to our old ways
We need to continue to seek first the Kingdom of God and all His Righteousness

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended [perfection or salvation]; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind [who and what we were before God began working in our lives; the world around us] and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, [the Kingdom of God and all its glory]

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the goal [moving forward] for the prize of the upward call [high calling KJV] of God in Christ Jesus.

Let’s do this with sense of urgency we would feel if we were fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah and if we do not… then Remember Lot’s Wife.