For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. (Psalm 1:6 NLT)
Abraham knew his nephew Lot and his family were living in Sodom. In chapter 18, God tells Abraham he is going to destroy Sodom. He sends two men who were with him ahead to see if they are as wicked as he has heard. Abraham asks the Lord if he will save the city for 10 righteous people. In chapter 19, Lot sees the men as they enter the city and invites them back to his house. The men of the city surrounded Lot’s house and ordered that the men be sent out to them. He was willing to turn his daughters over to the townsmen in order to spare the men. The remaining text refers to the men as angels. These angels saved the lives of Lot’s family by rushing them to safety—literally grabbing them and running.
23 Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. 24 Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. (NLT)
In verse 17, the angels told Lot and his family: “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” Yet after they were away from danger and in a safe place, Lot’s wife hesitated and turned to look back even after they had been warned not to do so. Maybe it was nothing more than a wistful glance at a home in which she had spent many years, but when God says no, he means no!
Wow! Haven’t I been guilty of doing the same thing? There is something about “looking back” that can paralyze us. I have a similar story in my life. After praying to God about something, I clearly sensed him telling me “no”. He was sparing me from danger but I wanted what I wanted. I did not obey. The pain caused by my choice is an emotional scar I bear to this day. Even after time had passed and God provided a way out, I turned to look back! That was just the amount of time needed for the enemy to pounce! There are always consequences for our actions. God has since redeemed that choice, but the ripple effects remain to this day in the lives of people I love.
27 Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. 28 He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.
29 But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain. Gen 19:23-29 NLT)
Abraham goes and looks at the burning cities. I am sure he is wondering if Lot and his family survived. Because of Abraham, God did save a remnant of the city—four to be exact: Lot, his wife, and two daughters. Only three made it to the cave in the mountains.
Lord, I thank you for redeeming lives. When you say no, it is for our own good because of your great love for us. Even when we don’t listen, you lovingly pick us up on the other side of our bad choice. Just like the prodigal son, you welcome us home with open arms. I am forever grateful to Jesus my Savior. In his name I pray, Amen.