Genesis 13:2-13, describes the parting of Abraham and his nephew Lot. The two left Haran together and journeyed side by side for years. But they both grew wealthy in time and the sheer volume of their possessions made it difficult for them to sojourn as one. Abraham proposed a separation and Lot, after agreeing, lifted his eyes toward the Jordan Valley – in the direction of Sodom and Gomorrah – and departed for that city.
When we meet Lot later in Genesis 19:1, he is sitting in the gate of the city. I used to imagine Lot as simply passing the time away at the entrance of the city but this was missing a key point. The city gate was where the officials and prominent men of the town judged and conducted the affairs of the community. Deuteronomy 21:18-12 and Proverbs 31:23 provide examples; not to mention the suggestion of Lot as a judge in Genesis 19:7-9.
As a righteous man dwelling in Sodom – 2 Peter 2:7-8 tells us that – Lot was continually tormented by the lawless and sensual conduct around him. It would appear then that Lot’s wife was married to a man of standing and one esteemed as righteous according to Scripture. Did she enjoy some special advantages in Sodom as the wife of an official? Did people recognize her and whisper “there goes Lot’s wife” when she walked about in the marketplace? And what of her faith in God? Had she found rest under the shelter of God’s promises or was her security in her husband’s (and family’s) name and his righteousness?
As we ponder these thoughts, it’s interesting to note that the Bible never honors this woman with a name. We are given the name of Abraham’s brother Nahor’s wife, Milcah, as early as Genesis 11:29 – yet this woman who journeys with the family for years is unnamed in Scripture. She brings to my mind Jesus’s parable in Matthew 7:21-23. We are told there of people who come before the Lord, professing great faith and great works – perhaps people linked with Christian families or known ministries – but the Lord’s response is: “depart from me for I never knew you.”
Ultimately, salvation is not by association. No one is born a Christian as a result of their family’s faith or is made a Christian through membership in a church. For we are all born sinners and are indeed estranged from God. Salvation comes – not through the profession of faith but – through the possession of faith. The fruit of saving faith is repentance of sin and trust in Christ as your substituent in judgment and in righteousness – He was punished on our behalf and accounts His own righteousness to us for our justification (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Lot’s wife was surrounded by men and women of faith. She witnessed God’s work through the lives of these others – and even had angles stay in her home, later escorting her personally to safety (Genesis 19:1-22)! Yet she falls into eternal judgment for her gaze was on her possessions and her life in Sodom rather than on the Savior. The Lord Jesus uses this woman as an example in Luke 17:29-32. He states that when judgment comes, remember Lot’s wife, for whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it but whoever loses his life will keep it.
This woman's life was not in the Lord but in her things. She desired to preserve it and so lost her life. Where is your life today? Is it found in Christ or in your achievements? Perhaps it’s even under the shelter of your family’s faith or name? In the end, these will not save. Christ alone is Savior. Does He know your name? Is He alone your salvation? Is He your reward and treasure? If not, remember Lot’s wife and “kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12).
*Thanks for reading! This post is part of my Mothers in the Bible Series; we are looking for glimpses of the gospel in the lives of biblical women--from Eve to Mary, the mother of Christ. Click here to see other writings. And please let me know your thoughts!