By Pastor Dr. Shana Wise
Genesis 19:15- 17 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.” 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. 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.”
Gen. 19:26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Abraham didn’t look back, Lot’s wife did.
There are lessons we can reflect on from the previous year(s) as we enter a new year. These lessons may include mistakes we made that hindered our progress. Or maybe we didn’t choose to do the right thing and it affected us and others. For others, we might have still not done the last thing God told us to do because of the fear, comfort zone, inadequacy, and the list goes on. As we reflect, on some of the shortcomings of the past year, we can choose to learn, move, repent, and move forward (grow) or stay where we are at.
The choice is ours to move forward, stand still, or heaven forbid, look back and get stuck. We must consider all the blessings, and opportunities, and how much farther we could be in life if we have chosen to trust God in his word and move forward by faith.
Two people that I think about that made choices to move forward or look back were Abraham and Lot’s wife. Both made decisions that not only affected their future, but it affected their family, livelihood, and destiny.
Abraham’s (Abram) story started off with God telling him to leave his father’s house and go to a land that He will show him (Gen. 12:1-4). Abraham did as God told him without hesitation or questioning. He trusted God in his word even though he didn’t know where he was going. Due to Abraham obeying God, he was not only blessed abundantly by his decision but so were his descendants. Abraham chose not to look back to his past which represented his father’s house, his past way of living, or what he used to have; instead, he looked forward to his future in God.
On the other hand, Abraham’s nephew Lot’s wife chose to look back when God destroyed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. She looked back and became a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the instructions from the angels of the Lord. Looking back cost her life.
What an extreme difference between Abraham and Lot’s wife! Abraham and his descendants were blessed, and Lot’s wife died. Lot’s wife died and it caused her daughters to make a foolish decision concerning their father (incest). Lot’s descendants ended up being enemies of the children of Israel (Moabites and Ammonites) (Gen. 19: 30-38).
We must understand that our actions of “looking back” can be detrimental to our growth, and life, and affect others around us.
Let’s further examine some of the reasons Lot’s wife may have looked back to the cities that God destroyed:
1) The city of Sodom was so corrupt and evil to the point that the Lord destroyed it. Lot’s family had been living here for most of their lives and the culture of the city many have had tremendous influence over them-even more than God.
2) Lot’s wife was probably comfortable and content with her lifestyle. Lot was a wealthy man and due to this, the family probably had status in the community.
3) Lots’ wife had many memories in the city. Her children were born there, and some of them married. She probably had a daily routine and schedule that she enjoyed.
4) We do not know what other types of activities she may have been engaging in that probably were not pleasing to God.
Whatever ever the reason that Lot’s wife looked back, it had more of a hold on her than God. Her trust was in “that thing” more than God to the point that when the word of God came, she could not receive it much more obey it.
We also need to understand that Lot was very hesitant to leave the city when the angels told him to leave. They had to force him and his family out of the house before God destroyed it (Gen. 19:15-26). Lot’s actions are a sign of disobedience, but because his uncle Abraham prayed for him, and he and his daughters were spared (Intercessory prayer works!). Lot was the head of the household, and his family was watching how he responded to God’s word. Lot’s response could have also affected his wife’s decision to look back.
In God, there is no looking back, only up.
Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah
As we move forward into a new year, remember when times get hard, you don’t understand, or you feel like you want to regress backward, look to God for your strength. When you look up and behold God, your whole perceptive changes concerning your situation.
Abraham was able to experience Jer. 29:11 and Eph. 3:20-21:
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Ephesians 2: 20-21, Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Unfortunately, Lot’s wife was unable to receive anything else from God because she chose to look back instead of looking up. She did not have faith in God, The Eternal, she put her faith in the world, which is temporary and passing.
Let your faith reside in God.
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotionals Acts of Intercession and Chief Women Arise, The Impact of Your Election, and Basic Ministry Training Manual (all available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets. Shana is married to Deacon Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
For speaking engagements email: email@example.com.
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Acts of Intercession
The Impact of Your Election
Basic Ministry Training Manual
Chief Women Arise
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