Genesis is such a great book… so full of stories of people who had to be practice obedience — kicked up a notch. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob… I’m excited that I am almost to the story of Joseph because there is no other story in Scripture that better indicates the fact that “all things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
There is one verse in Genesis that has only 12 words and has no explanation.
"But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”
I’ve been asking myself why there was such a punishment for looking back. Why did it make God angry enough to turn her into a pillar of salt?
I’m sure that a lot of pastors have preached about this over the centuries, and that if I googled it i could find many sermons that would explain to me what they thought. I have heard sermons that talk about how she looked back longingly at the sin and depravity she was leaving. I suppose that is a possibility and would make her worthy of her punishment. She may have looked back with regret that they had made the choice to follow God and leave. She may have looked back to see one more time the things that she was going to miss.
Then there are those who might say that the verse is not literal. It means that he froze her emotionally, or he stopped her in her tracks so that she looked like a pillar of salt for a while, and then went forward. But since there is no mention of her ever again, I don’t think it was metaphorical.
I know for a fact that God doesn’t turn people into pillars of salt anymore, regardless of the reason that we look back. But I do believe that there is a lesson for us in this:
When God brings us to a new place, it is not his plan for us to dwell on the past. He doesn’t want us to wallow in the pain of past hurts nor does he want us to longingly wish for earlier days. He doesn’t want us to regret obeying Him, that’s for sure. He doesn’t want us to spend our time worrying, fretting, or focusing on what has happened, but to look towards Him and the future He is calling us to.
As we enter into 2017 I am determined to stop myself as I look back on last year. That year is over, God has called us to a new place and he is already moving mountains to make miracles happen this year. So join me in embracing the preferred future that God has called us to and let’s choose not to look back.