No Turning BackLuke 9:57-62Theme: Determinations and distractions.This week’s lessons warn us against the great enemies of discipleship.
LessonWhat was wrong with Lot’s wife? It is no mystery. First, she was disobedient to God’s Word given through the angels. When the angels came to Sodom with the announcement that they were about to destroy the city and that Lot and his family would have to leave, they said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Gen. 19:13, 17). Those commands were as urgent and explicit as any found in Scripture. Yet Lot’s wife disobeyed them. She began by delaying. Delay then erupted into outright disobedience as she disregarded the angels’ command and looked back.
Second, Lot’s wife disbelieved. The angels had said that unless the family fled for their lives, refusing even to look back to Sodom, they would be lost along with those living in the city. But the woman must have reasoned as many reason today: “Surely God cannot mean what I have just understood him to say. God will not really destroy the great city of Sodom, Or if he does, surely he will not destroy me just for turning around to see what is happening.” But, of course, that is exactly what God did. God said what he was about to do, and he did it, as he said. Lot’s wife perished for her failure to believe the word of God.
Third, Lot’s wife loved the world and its pleasures more than she loved God. If you had talked to Lot’s wife before the angels’ visit and had asked her about her faith in God, she would have told you that she was a believing woman. She would have said – perhaps with an air of smug superiority – that she was not like the citizens of Sodom, who had no knowledge of God and were pagans. She worshiped the God of Abraham. She wanted to serve him. She might even have told you what she was doing in Sodom to witness to the claims of this true God. She would have been one of the “better people” of Sodom. Still, her heart was not with God. It was with Sodom and its pleasures. Her true affections were revealed in the crisis of God’s judgment.
The greater part of this chapter has been negative, warning those who are contemplating Christ’s service that the mere setting out is not sufficient. There must be perseverance. It is he who “stands firm to the end” who is saved (Matt. 10:22). But I do not want to end there. I want to end with the character of those who are saved, those of “violence” who, Jesus says, “lay hold of [the kingdom]” and will not be denied until they possess it (Matt. 11:12).
It is said of Calvinists that they undercut all motivation for true godly living and evangelism. “For,” so the argument goes, “if God ordains all things, there is no obligation for me or anyone else to do anything. If God wants something to happen, it will happen.” That is not the way it is. It is true that in a way we do not fully understand how God does order the working out of all things. If he did not, he would not be God. He would be the victim of circumstances rather than being in charge of them. God is in charge of circumstances. But when God orders things, he does so through means, and one of these means is the fervent, persistent activity of those whose lives have been transformed by the utterly divine work of regeneration.
Why did Lot’s wife perish when she looked back?
Why do some people think that Calvinists undermine the motivation for godly living?
How does God use us in his ordering of all things?
ReflectionMeditate on Matthew 11:12. In what ways are you forcefully laying hold of the kingdom of heaven?