Today’s Scripture: Genesis 19:23-29
23 Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. 24 Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.
27 Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. 28 He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.
29 But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.
This story used to scare me as a child. I used to think that there would be no way I could NOT turn back, at least for a glance, at the destruction that was raining down on Sodom and Gomorrah. If I were the one fleeing with Lot, I would surely turn to salt. My curiosity would have been too much.
But the word used for “looked back” in this passage is not a glance. It’s a look of longing – a look of desire – of wanting to go back. Lot’s wife (we don’t even know her name), did not just turn her head out of curiosity, she turned her head out of longing for something that was now gone.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to remember that past. And there is certainly nothing wrong to remember with fondness something that at one time brought you joy and happiness. But Lot’s wife was not just remembering – she was locking herself into the story of the past. She was not allowing herself to move away from the past. And when we do that, we become paralyzed. I guess you could say we turn into a pillar of salt.
Honor the past, remember the past, bring the good parts of the past with you into the future. But don’t get so caught up in desire to go back that it turns you into rock – unable to move forward into what God is providing next.
God forgive us for the times we desire to live in the past instead of the future you are planning for us. Help us to remember but to also allow you to move us to what’s next.