************ Sermon on Genesis 19:26 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on October 21, 2012

Genesis 19:12-26
Genesis 19:26; Luke 17:32
"Remember Lot's Wife"

One of the books I read on vacation was "Ashfall." A novel about what happens when the Super Volcano in Yellowstone blows up. Three quarters of the U.S. got turned into a frozen wasteland. The hero of the story ended fleeing for his life. But what to take with him? Turns out one of his most prized possessions was a pair of skis.

Another book I read concerned the Nazi invasion of the countries surrounding Germany. People knew the German army was coming. They had heard rumors about what happens to Jews and Gypsies and the disabled. Many fled for their lives. But what to take with them?

A similar crisis is faced by Lot and his family. "Hurry!" says the angels. "Hurry! Or you will be swept away when the city is punished" (Gen 19:15). The angels did not even give them time to collect their most prized possessions. The angels did not even give them time to prepare for their escape. The men grasped Lot's hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them out of the city (Gen 19:16). "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away" (Gen 19:17).

"Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)! Using Lot's wife as an example, Jesus talks to us this evening about the danger of being a reluctant pilgrim. Jesus talks to us this evening about the danger of looking back, with longing, on one's old life of sin. Jesus talks to us this evening about the danger of being attached to this life and the things of this life.

"Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)! But who can forget her? Who can forget the awful picture Genesis draws for us about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Who can forget the burning sulfur raining down from heaven? Who can forget the screaming of the terror stricken people? Who can forget Lot, his wife, and his daughters fleeing for their lives in the morning's early light? Who can forget that pillar of salt standing watch over the smoking ruins of the two cities?

"Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)!

When it comes to Lot's wife there are two things we need to remember. First, we need to remember she was a reluctant pilgrim. And second, we need to remember the judgment that overtook her.

"Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)! That is our theme this evening.

I Remember Lots's Wife as a Reluctant Pilgrim
A "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)! The first thing we need to remember is that she was a reluctant pilgrim. She was a reluctant pilgrim because of her worldliness, her attachment to the world, her love for the life of sinful pleasure. Jesus will not let us forget her, and neither will the Bible.

In Luke 17 we notice that Jesus is talking to His disciples (vs 22). Jesus warns the disciples about the coming judgment, when the Son of Man is revealed (Lk 17:30). On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything (Lk 17:31). Instead, says Jesus, "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)! Obviously, Jesus is saying Lot's wife wanted to collect her most prized possessions. Jesus is saying Lot's wife was reluctant to leave her old life behind.

"Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)! Jesus uses the story of Lot's wife to warn Christians what happens to men and women and children of the church who are reluctant pilgrims because they are attached to this vain and evil world. The people of the church must be warned about becoming too attached to the world.

To understand Jesus' warning here, we have to look at what Lot, his wife, and his daughters did. It is fair to say Sodom was one of the most wicked cities in the world at that time. Yet, righteous Lot and his family dared to move into the evil city. Then what? It was not long before Lot's wife and daughters became involved in the wicked ways of the city. Soon his daughters were engaged to men of Sodom. Soon Lot was appointed as one of the city elders and sat in the city gate as a judge. Part and parcel to this position, of course, were parties and entertainment hosted by Lot and Mrs Lot.

Lot and Mrs Lot liked the prestige and honor given them in Sodom. They enjoyed his position as one of the city elders and judges. How could they possibly go back to being just a herdsman? How could they abandon the pleasures of Sodom for the boring life of the wilderness? Who could give up all of this for the quiet and pious life of living for the Lord? Not Lot! Not his wife! Not his daughters!

B The dramatic scene is in front of us. Lot, his wife, and their two daughters hurry from the city with the coming of morning's light. Their hearts are heavy and fearful. They have to leave everything behind. They are even told not to look back.

Watch them flee! Do you see them running down the road away from God's judgment? Do you see them with only the clothes on their back? They came into Sodom so rich. Now they have nothing. Do you see them?

There they run. But as you watch you see one of the four figures falling behind. Perhaps the other three call her. Perhaps they grab her hands and run with her. But she falls behind again. Her heart and mind are on all that she is leaving behind. She doesn't think of God's coming judgment. Maybe she doesn't think it really will happen. Her feet go slower and slower. She falls further and further behind. She thinks of her nice home, the furnishings, the rugs, the beds. She thinks of the good life she had in the city. She thinks of their money, her clothing, her jewelry, her makeup, her hairdresser, the men she loved while her husband sat at the city gate. She thinks of her neighbors mothers who had raised children alongside her own, young men who were her future sons-in-law, shopkeepers who knew her by name.

Now she stops running. Is the city really going to be destroyed? She has doubts! Who is this God Who threatens to destroy her city? She cannot remember the last time she has worshiped Him. She cannot remember the last time she prayed to Him or offered to Him a sacrifice. She is not even sure of His name. Her soul, you see, is dead. The Lord is far from her mind. His judgments are far from her mind. All she can think about is Sodom. Sodom and its pleasures. Sodom and its riches. Sodom and its parties. Sodom and its fun.

We are talking about the wife of righteous Lot (cf 2 Pet 2:7-8). She had been in the household of faith. She had been involved in the worship of God. She had counted herself as one of the sand of the seashore people. But no longer. She has stopped running because she is so worldly, so earthly, so materialistic, so carnal. She wants her old life and the stuff of her old life. She is a reluctant pilgrim!

Do you see those three people running ahead? Do you see a fourth person standing still? Do you see the picture? Is it frozen in your mind? Do you "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)?

C Though Lot was ultimately saved, though Peter describes him as a righteous man (cf 2 Pet 2:7-8), Lot was not much better than his wife. First, remember his reluctance. Remember how he hesitated when the angels warned him to flee (Gen 19:16)? And second, when the angels told him to flee to the mountains, he asked if he could flee to little Zoar instead (Gen 19:20). Why? He was reluctant to leave the worldly ways of the cities of the plain completely behind him. He still wanted to have an earthly city, even if only a little one. See how patient and how gracious God is with this servant of His?

D Remember the original audience? The people of Israel traveling through the wilderness on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Inspired by the Spirit, Moses wanted the children of Israel to see themselves in Lot and Mrs Lot. Because what is one thing Israel did over and over again as they traveled through the wilderness? Over and over again they hankered for their old life in Egypt. Over and over again they looked back with nostalgia on their life in Egypt. Over and over again they yearned for their previous life even though it was a life in which they were slaves (cf Num 11:1-6; 20:3-5; Ex 16:3).

The story of Lot's wife taught them not to look back to Egypt with fondness. Instead, they were to look to the Lord for salvation.

E Today, Lot's wife shows us we must not yearn for the days in which we were in bondage to sin. Jesus does not want His people caught up in the world like Lot's wife. He does not want His people to be reluctant pilgrims.

And so, my brothers and sisters, Christ says to you and to me, don't be caught by the world's snares. This can happen to you and to me quite easily. It is so easy to become caught up in the pursuit of the world and the things of the world. It is so easy to forget about the coming judgments of God. It is so easy to let the pursuit of this life make you forget all about Jesus and making a commitment and keeping a commitment to Him. Therefore, says Jesus, "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)!

Remember. Remember, because there are too many people in the church who forget this lesson. Some are so eager to accumulate money and what it can buy, that it is all they can think about and all that they have time for. Family, church, and worship are forgotten as they involve themselves in the headlong pursuit of the dollar. Others are so busy with sports and recreation bowling, boating, baseball, fishing, football, volleyball that they have no time for Bible study and prayer or Sunday worship. Some are workaholics. They live for their work and have time for nothing else. Some are high-tech junkies computers, iPads, iPhones, iTunes, iCloud, video games, Netflix, TV, CDs, the Internet and neglect the pursuit of God. Some live only for the moment, for pleasure, and forget God.

Is this true in your life? Are you worldly, earthly, materialistic, carnal? Are you a reluctant pilgrim? Do you "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)?

II Remember her Judgment
A "Remember Lot's wife." The second things we must remember is the Lord's judgment that fell upon her.

Remember her disobedience to the Lord? Remember how she turned and looked back on her life in Sodom? God had said,
(Gen 19:15, 17) Hurry ... Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!"
But she did not obey. She did not believe. She did not take God at His Word. She was not going to worry about a judgment that probably wouldn't happen anyway.

Does this sound familiar? As pastor I warn people about sin and God's judgment upon that sin. Elders warn members that unless they repent they will experience God's wrath. But often people don't care. They are not concerned. Maybe they don't think it really will happen. They prefer to live in their sin than live for God.

B Look at Lot's wife. She stops. She turns. She looks back. She turns into a pillar of salt.

See the progression of sin in her life? First the lusting for the pleasures of Sodom. Then the sins themselves. Then doubt about the warnings of God against those sins. Then a refusal to leave the evil. Finally, the full-blown act of disobedience that results in death.

Look at Lot's wife. Her love for worldly things kept her from making and keeping a commitment to the Lord. She was so tied to the world she couldn't be tied to God. So God's terrible judgment was visited upon her. She became a pillar of salt. "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)!

Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote a short story entitled, "How Much Land Does a Man Need." Listen to this story with Mrs Lot in mind.
Topic: Riches
Subtopic: How Much is Needed?
Date: 2/1993.101
Title: "How Much Land Does a Man Need?"

There was a rich man in Russia who heard of a wonderful chance to get more land. For a thousand rubles he could have all the land that he could walk around in a day. The only condition was that he had to make it back to the starting point by sundown or he would lose it all.
He arose early and set out. He walked on and on, thinking that he could get just a little more land if he kept going on. But he went so far that he realized he must walk very fast if he was to get back in time to claim the land. As the sun got lower in the sky, he quickened his pace. He began to run. As he came within sight of the starting place, he exerted his last energies, plunged over the finish line, fell to the ground, and collapsed. A stream of blood poured out of his mouth and he lay dead.
His servant took a spade and dug a grave. He made it just long enough and just wide enough and buried him.
Back to the title of this story: "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" Do you hear Tolstoy's answer? Six feet deep, six feet long, and two feet wide!

Lot's wife looked back. She looked back with longing. She looked back as a reluctant pilgrim. How much of her former life did she really need? How much of this earth was she left with? Six feet by six feet by two feet.

"Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)! What happened to her is a warning to us. What happened to her shows us the terrible results of worldliness, of forgetting the ways of God, of being a reluctant pilgrim. What happened to her could also happen to you and me if we get wrapped up in the world rather than God. Jesus said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mk 8:36). So I say to you, "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32)!
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