“Run for your lives! Do not stop anywhere in the plain. Do not look back! Escape to the mountain, or you will die!” Genesis 19:17
This is still the gospel message. We are in danger of God’s judgment, and must escape from it — if we would live. We must not stay anywhere in all the plain of sin — for there is no safe spot, no shelter anywhere, no place where the fires of judgment will not fall.
Some people would like to compromise; they are willing to flee from some sins, but not from others. There are some professed Christians who like to stay on the borders of their old life. They are continually asking whether they can do this or that, go here or there — and still be Christians. They want to keep just as near to Sodom as possible — so as not to be burnt up in Sodom’s destruction. The answer to all such questions is, “Run for your lives! Do not stop anywhere in the plain. Do not look back! Escape to the mountain, or you will die!” Even the borders are unsafe. The only safe place is the mountain, the mountain where Christ’s Cross stands.
Lot’s wife “looked back.” There had been a specific command, “Do not look back!” Why Lot’s wife looked back is not explained. Was it curiosity to see the nature of the terrible destruction that she heard roaring behind her? Or was it her dismay as she thought of her beautiful home, with all its wealth of furnishing and decoration, and all her jewels and garments and other possessions — which were now being consumed in the great conflagration?
It would seem to be, that she was appalled at the thought of leaving and losing all her beloved possessions, and paused in her flight and looked back, with the hope that possibly she might yet run back and snatch some of the ornaments or gems — something, at least, from the awful destruction. “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”
“Remember Lot’s wife!” Luke 17:32. We should not miss the “lesson” which our Lord Himself teaches us from the tragic fate of this woman: we cannot have both worlds. Lot’s wife could have escaped with her husband and her daughters, but she could escape only by resolutely and determinedly leaving everything she had in Sodom. Her love for her possessions, cost her her life!
Just so, there are thousands today, to whom God’s message comes: “Run for your lives! Do not stop anywhere in the plain. Do not look back! Escape to the mountain, or you will die!” They somewhat desire to follow Christ, but their love for the world is so intense that they cannot give it up — they cannot renounce it. They must decide, however, which they will renounce: Christ or the world. They cannot keep both.
In Lot’s wife, we have an example of one who was almost saved — and yet lost. She was lost because she loved the world.
J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain. This passage is from “The Outcome of Lot’s Choice” 1908).