Put Memory to Good Use
Do you remember when Jesus encouraged His disciples to “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17.32; see Genesis 19)?
The context of this statement is Jesus warning of His coming judgement. He had just answered the Pharisees’ question about the coming of the kingdom of God, because they were quite sure it would be physically manifested. Furthermore, they were extremely confused about the judgement of God. Jesus had much to correct! People will be busy about their own affairs, and some will even think they may have time to take their possessions with them.
In the Genesis account that Jesus refers to, God spared Lot, his wife and two daughters from the destruction of the wicked cities of the plains. Obviously, they justified themselves living in such a wicked place, otherwise they would not have moved into it in the first place. In like manner, People today find all kinds of excuses to be where they ought not to be, and do what they want to do. We should have “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5.11; cf. 2 Cor. 6.14-18).
The angels told Lot what God was going to do with the wicked cities, and warned them to flee and not look back, lest they be severely punished. Was this a test of their respect for the Lord, or was it a test to see where there heart was? Perhaps both.
Just looking at the surface, looking back and being struck down appear too severe a punishment for Lot’s wife. But God not only sees the disobedience, He looks on the heart. The heart of Lot’s wife was still in Sodom.
Here is where we need to look. Why would someone look back to their past if the past kept them for serving the Lord? Actually, looking back and being enamoured by the past show our hearts are not right with the Lord. Dwelling on the pleasure of past sin will weaken our resolve to live victorious lives. What gives us the most pleasure will also determine our relationship with God.
The Lord took her out of Sodom, but she tried to take a part of Sodom with her. Her heart was divided. Jesus said we cannot serve God with a divided heart (Matt. 6.24). Our past weakens us to temptation. But if we fill our minds with spiritual things, we will smother out the thoughts of evil. Jesus warns us that whatever rules our hearts will express itself in our behaviour. A good tree can only produce good fruit and a bad tree can only produce bad fruit. We must make sure the tree is good (Matt. 7.17-18).