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Luke 17:32

Remember Lot’s Wife

This is obviously one of the shortest verses in the Bible, and in it Jesus is commanding us to remember someone whose name we never knew! Neither her name, nor anything she ever said or did is recorded in Scripture, and yet the Lord wants us to remember her. There is one exception to the above statement, of course, and this is the key. When God tried to save Lot and his family from the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, “his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).

This strange miracle—whether it was an instantaneous chemical transmutation, or a sudden burial by erupting bodies of salt, or a gradual petrifaction process as her body was buried and later transformed in a fall of volcanic ash—really happened, for the Lord Jesus thus confirmed it, as He did the destruction of Sodom, itself (Luke 17:28,29)! The reason why He commands us to remember it and profit by its lesson is given in the next verse: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).

This same paradoxical formula is given by Christ in very similar terminology no less than five other times in the four gospels (Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; John 12:25), a fact which surely indicates its preeminent importance.

Therefore, one should remember Lot’s wife, whenever he or she is tempted to hang on to a comfortable life style in a wicked world. Lot, himself, was a rather worldly minded believer, but when he consented to flee the doomed city, his wife lagged “behind him,” and kept “looking back,” grieving over the imminent loss of her material comforts and high social position among her ungodly neighbors. Finally, the Lord’s longsuffering patience was ended, and her carnal desire to save her old life caused her to lose her whole life. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (same Greek word as ‘life’)?” (Matthew 16:26).

The instruction for us is clear and pointed. “They which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). HMM.

In this short verse, Jesus is commanding us to remember someone whose name we never knew! Nothing she ever said or did (with one exception) is recorded in Scripture, and yet the Lord wants us to remember her. When God tried to save Lot and his family from the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, “his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).

This strange miracle—whether it was an instantaneous chemical transmutation, or a sudden burial by erupting bodies of salt, or a gradual petrifaction process as her body was buried and later transformed in a fall of volcanic ash—really happened, and the Lord Jesus thus confirmed it, as He did the destruction of Sodom itself (Luke 17:28, 29)! The reason why He commands us to remember it and profit by its lesson is given in the next verse: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).

Therefore, one should “remember Lot’s wife,” whenever he or she is tempted to hang on to a comfortable life style in a wicked world. Lot, himself, was a rather worldly-minded believer, but when he consented to flee the doomed city, his wife lagged “behind him,” and kept “looking back,” perhaps grieving over the imminent loss of her material comforts and high social position among her ungodly neighbors. Finally, the Lord’s longsuffering patience was ended, and her carnal desire to save her old life caused her to lose her whole life. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (same Greek word as ‘life’)?” (Matthew 16:26).

The instruction for us is clear and pointed: “They which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). HMM

Days of Praise, August 10, 1992