In the 19th chapter of Genesis is recorded the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the rescue of Lot and his family. In this account, Lot, his wife, and two daughters are pulled from Sodom just before the brimstone starts to fall and are instructed to flee to one of the nearby towns, without looking back. But of course Lot’s wife looked back and ended up as a pillar of salt. And then she seems to drop from memory; I can not recall her ever being mentioned after that. At least until Jesus does as he prepares his disciples for his return and the end of the world as we know it.
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.”Luke 17:28-33 NIV
Jesus is sharing with his disciples the suddenness of his return. When the world is going on much like it always has, suddenly, the end will come. Jesus compares this to Noah first, and then to Lot. He is pulled out just before destruction comes. There was no time to close down the family business, pack up the belongings and tell everyone good-bye. Rather it was a jump up and run departure from Sodom.
Things will be just as sudden at Jesus return. He will pull those who are his out of this world just before it is destroyed. Lot serves as a reminder to us of the suddenness and urgency of the event. But then comes the three words “Remember Lot’s wife!”
What lesson is Jesus trying to get across to us with the reference to Lot’s wife? Remember what happened to her. She was saved from the destruction of Sodom; she made it out alive. But she looked back, and it cost her dearly. Why was that backwards glance so costly? For sure, she was instructed not to. But is that the reason she ended up as a monument out there on the plains?
Maybe there is another reason. Maybe her heart was in Sodom. So even while fleeing from the destruction, she was looking back with longing. And that longing, that desire for the pleasures of Sodom cost her dearly. And if that is the case, why does Jesus tell us to remember her?
Look at what he tells us next. “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” Lot’s wife wanted to keep her old life in Sodom, and she lost it. Let’s not follow her example and enjoy this life so much that we are unwilling to lose it for His sake. Are you ready to go and be with Him whenever he calls you home? Or would you rather hang around here for a while longer? Remember Lot’s wife!