We know very little about Lot’s wife or her background. Did Lot meet her in Egypt, or was she from Sodom? The only thing that Bible says about this woman is that she looked back at Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt. The angels had said to Lot and his family that they were not to look back [Genesis 19:17]. When Lot’s wife looked back, it was an act of deliberate disobedience. It was not just a cursory glance – the Hebrew verb indicates a prolonged, intense gazing toward Sodom and not just a curious glance!
When Jesus spoke about the coming kingdom of God, He illustrated His teaching by saying, “Remember Lot’s wife” [Luke 17:32]. When Jesus comes back it will be sudden and without warning. He likened it to the days of Noah [verses 26-27], and Lot [verses 28-29], when people lived for pleasure and for the moment and did not consider the eternal consequences. In both these cases, judgment came suddenly.
Lot’s wife’s affections were with Sodom, not with God. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” [Matthew 6:21 ESV]. The Lord had graciously brought her out of Sodom but her heart was divided and was still in Sodom. “Those who crave the life of this wicked world will lose this world and the next” [NLT Study Bible]. When Jesus used the illustration of Lot’s wife the very next verse says, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it” [Luke 17:33]. Jesus made it clear that we are to abandon the values and attachments of this world in order to be ready for His return.
Judgment came quickly for this woman who “loved this present world” more than God. Writing to his friends, the apostle John said, “Do not love this world, or the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever” [1 John 2:15-17 NLT].
Even today there are strange salt formations near the southern end of the Dead Sea that were probably formed when a great explosion took place as salt and sulphur were thrown red hot into the heavens and fell to the earth as fire and brimstone. Lot’s wife was encrusted in salt and became a monument to the divided heart that loves the world more than it loves God.
What is the most important lesson that you have learned today from the story of Lot’s wife?
What do you think that Jesus meant when He said, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it”? What is the love of the world? How can you let go of your life?