Genesis 19-21: A Salty Wife

Genesis 19 is one of the more familiar Old Testament stories. In it, God saves Lot and his family as He destroys Sodom and Gomorrah. There are two things that I noticed this morning in my reading that I want to share about this story:

First, you might remember that two angels came to visit Lot in order to tell him of the coming destruction. They warn Lot that he must leave the city immediately or be destroyed along with it. Lot seems to hear and understand, but in verse 16, we are told simply that “he lingered.” At this time the angels, literally drag Lot and his family out of the city for, it says, the Lord was being merciful to them. I am always amazed at the lengths to which God will go to save those to whom He has shown mercy. Like a father pulling a child out of the path of an oncoming car, God reaches into our lives and pulls us to safety through the work of Christ.

The second thing is probably the most familiar element of this story, Lot’s wife turing to salt. What’s interesting about this passage is how little we know. In verse 17 God says, “Do not look back” and then in verse 26, Lot’s wife looks back and becomes a pillar of salt. No warning. No explanation. That’s it. We don’t hear that Lot’s wife lacked faith, or that she was inherently disobedient. She is just gone, and Lot, who was ahead of her (also v. 26) apparently didn’t know until they reached safety, because he didn’t look back to see what had happened. This is just a reminder of the serious nature of God’s commands. We must seek full obedience out of love for Him. But praise be to God that we are not judged by our righteousness, but by the righteousness of Christ, who is perfectly righteous.

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