Sermon delivered November 5, 1999

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventists Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted
NLT - New Living Translation

LOT'S SALTY WIFE

We have all heard the exciting story of Lot and his wife. Irene Davidson, a teacher at the First Congregational Church was telling her class the story of Lot. She said: "Lot was warned to take his Wife and Flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt." A little girl, Brittany, raised her hand. "I was wondering," said little Brittany, "What happened to his Flea?"

One day two men stood on a high mountain. They looked down to a lovely plain far below. The uncle and his young nephew were friends. Both men were wealthy. That was amazing for a young man. Because God had blessed their flocks it was getting overcrowded. One needed to move to make room for the other. Abraham the older man gave his younger nephew the first choice. "You take what ever you want, and I'll go to wherever." I like Abraham. No wonder God loved him so much. Often in the Bible you find the Holy Spirit bringing two persons of great contrast together and placing them in juxtaposition for us to gain spiritual profit from it. That's what happens here today. We're comparing two people.

So Lot had first choice. When you see the first choices a young person makes it opens a window on their character. You begin to see what they're going to be like. Who they make friends with. Where they will live. What they will do. What they're going to be. Even in Eden there were two ways to go. The destination of each was as different as up and down.

Lot made a bad choice. Lot's possessions had increased greatly there with his uncle Abraham. He should have moved to a similar mountain where these rich dividends could be continued. It seems that the only thing he thought about was more wealth. "Which decision would net me the most money?" In modern language, Lot had grown too big for his britches!

Lot acquired real estate down near Sodom. Not that Sodom was unattractive. It was the fairest of all the cities of the Jordan valley. Genesis 13:10 calls it the Garden of God. There were palm trees, olive orchards, flowers that never ceased to bloom. The weather was never cold. Art and commerce enriched the people of this wealthy city. It was a beautiful city. It would be a life of ease. And so he chose to go down there near Sodom.

Genesis 13:10 NLT. Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. He took a long look. Notice that Lot walked by sight rather than by Faith like Abraham. That's a big difference. You see already these contrasts are bringing out lessons for us. I John 2:16 calls it the Lust of the Eyes. Eve did the same thing. "...She saw that the tree was good for food..." and she partook. Genesis 3:6

Lot chose to follow his eyes and to live among evil associates in the plains of illicit pleasure. He left the clear air of the mountain top and moved down into the valley filled with the smog of sin. And it was a bad decision.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. The men of Sodom were wicked sinners. Now I need to ask you a question: Do you think Lot knew that? Did he realize what he was getting into? Of course he did. He should have said, "It is true that our bank account will prosper, but our souls will be jeopardized, therefore, I will not go." But he reasoned, "All those sinners will buy and pay well for my corn and oil and cattle and wool. I will be rich. And besides that I can witness to all those sinners. I mean, we shouldn't be hermits, you know. I will be a lighthouse in a dark place. A representative of the true God. They need to hear about God They will look at my success and beat a path to my door where I can tell them about my God. Their sin won't affect me.

The Bible says Abraham lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Genesis 13:12. In the King James Version it says he "Pitched his tents toward Sodom." He pitched his tent facing Sodom. It was not long before they moved their tent into Sodom. Then it wasn't long before Sodom moved into them, especially Lot's wife. You see how that takes place. All too soon Lot found out what a dangerous thing it is to choose sinful friends for companions and to live surrounded by gross sin. You don't want to do that.

At what moment does a well hit base ball begin to go down? At what moment does a Christian begin to backslide and to go down? Lot started to go downhill the moment he pitched his tent toward sinful Sodom, when he started eyeing it, when he started looking at it.

PITCHING OUR TENT TOWARD SODOM:

    We pitch our tent toward Sodom when we:
  1. Go to a new school and choose friends that are on the road to Hell.
  2. Choose a career based on how much money we will make instead of the service for God we can do.
  3. Build our house in an evil neighborhood.
  4. Get on the Internet and choose to fill our minds with evil.
  5. Read the Bible so seldom but spend hours watching filth and sin on the screen.
  6. Choose illegal drugs instead of resisting them.
  7. Decide that we will skip church to go to some worldly attraction.
Is your tent pitched toward Sodom today? If so make whatever changes you must and get back to God. You need to re-pitch it or it will get pitched, like their's did, in the fire.

Now, Lot allowed his two daughters to marry even though he must have known the men were Homosexuals. I seems all the men of Sodom were that way. Those two filthy men each wanted a woman at home to cook and clean. Then they went out at night and lived a life of lust and sin with other men. Genesis 19:4-5 describes a typical night of activity. This mob surrounded Lot's house. The two angels were inside. They wanted to abuse those angels all night. They wanted to do their thing.

Ellen White adds this comment written in 1890, a hundred and nine years ago... "It was an immense company, youth and aged men alike inflamed by the vilest passions...They were a GAY careless multitude." Patriarchs and Prophets, p 159. Why did she use that word? You answer that question.

I believe that righteous Lot became the Mayor of Sodom. He was the mayor. Why do I think that? Well, not just because H. M. S. Richards said that. But archaeologists have discovered a stone by the city gate of Sodom with Lot's name inscribed on it. Genesis 19:1 says that Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. There he greeted the visitors and there he decided matters that came before him. Lot and his wife lived in Sodom.

Their new friends invited them to the Sodom Dance hall and soon they were involved in a high life. Or was it a low life? All too soon they looked more and more like the heathen. They started acting like the heathen. They started dressing like the heathen. They started eating like the heathen. Every day they tried to witness to God but it was hard to be strong. Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day but a ball of fire at night. She loved the fast life. She loved the bright lights and the wild music.

One day the wickedness reached a limit. You know, God has a limit, and He had reached that limit, and God decided to take action. But God decided to spare Lot. Notice the reason that God spared Lot. Genesis 19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered who? Lot? NO! God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot lived.

Because God loved Abraham Lot was spared. Is there a lesson in that? Good Abraham had been praying. His saintliness, his righteousness saved Lot. Think about that! God remembers your saintly mother and He spare you, you benefit. God remembers your righteous daddy, your father who has been praying for you and you acquire a blessing from Him. God remembers your parents prayers and spares you.

One day a small black cloud about the size of a man's hand appears in the clear sky over Sodom. Angels came and begged Lot and his family to leave. Lot really did not want to go himself. And His wife lingered even longer. She wanted to sort out her jewelry. His daughters wanted to pick out their clothes. They dillydallied around and dragged their feet. Lot argued with God's angels.

Genesis 19:16-19 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" But Lot said to them, "No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die.

Lot said, "God, I cannot do what you want me to do."

If you say that, you're like Lot.

The lightnings poured torrents of blazing brimstone and scalding sulfur from the sky as the heaving earth belched out pitch and oil from beneath. The Judgment of God fell in liquid fire like hell raining down in the end of the world. When those matters met the hurricane-like-wind, it swept the flakes of flame along with the embers of the burning city over the plain.

Beneath the ground in the plain of Sodom and Gomorrah an empty oil field has been discovered. Vertical faults have been found in the strata of the rocks. Large quantities of rock salt exist deep in the earth in that area of Palestine. God may have caused a great earthquake to set in motion the cataclysm that destroyed Sodom in the oil fueled fires.

Balls of fire fell on Lot's wife as she stood there lingering and looking back and she soon became a pillar of salt. A little boy heard that story and piped up and said: "That's nothing, my mother was driving our car last week, and she looked back and turned into a telephone pole!"

Why did Lot's wife look back? Sodom was more in her heart than God was. Sodom was her home town. It represented security and stability. Her family were there. I think Lot met his wife there in Sodom. Lot may have met her there after his rescue from the four marauding kings, when Abraham came and rescued Lot. Sodom was home for Lot's wife. She loved it almost more than she loved Lot. She loved Sodom more than she loved God. So she looked back. She stood there perhaps weeping and not wanting to leave. Her wish was granted. She could have been a pillar in God's church but alas she became a pillar of salt, representing sin.

Lot's wife stood her ground, but it was not God's ground. She had dragged her feet. She did not want to do as God had asked. She gazed at Sodom. Mrs. Lot would have been looking DOWN because Sodom was one thousand two hundred fifty feet below sea level. Don't look dow! Our eyes ought to be set upon a city whose maker is God. How often when we should be looking up we are instead looking down. Be careful what you look at because that's the direction you're going to go. You will be like what you constantly look at. By beholding Sodom Lot's wife became a pillar of salt.

In Isaiah 45:22 KJV, God says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved." David said in Psalm 101:3 KJV, I will set no wicked thing before my eyes. You know, you ought to print that up and glue it on your computer screen. You ought to glue that on your television set. "I will set no wicked thing before my eyes." - Psalm 101:3

Now just imagine if Lot lived in our day, here in 1999.

One day Lot comes home from work only to find his wife glued to the Soap Operas. She no longer greets him at the door as in times past. She spent the entire morning immersed in novels. After supper he sees her staring bug-eyed at the monitor. She seems motionless, glued to the contraption. She's on the net. The house is littered with junk food wrappers like her mind has become.

"What has happened to the love of his life? He appraises the figure before him. Is she still in there? He calls out to her. For a split second, the digital activity comes to a suspension over the cursed keyboard, and then resumes with more fervor than even before.

"The phone rings. 'Answer it,' he says. Neither of them move. Not taking his eyes off her, he backs out of the door, then heads for the phone in the next room. When Lot returns, she is as she was, except that her head had turned back to the computer which, like her, had turned into a glistening pillar of silicon." - an essay from The courage of Our Confusion.

What a contrast in Paul. He did not look back. Paul said: Philippians 3:13,14 ...one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Lot's wife looked back and it destroyed her. Sodom will petrify your spiritual life. You've seen petrified wood, haven't you? She became petrified with fear, and was petrified into a salt statue. Salt is a symbol of lifelessness. Nothing grows in salt. Lot's wife was spiritually dead before she became physically anesthetized.

In looking back she disqualified herself for heaven. The Bible tells us that in Luke 9:61,62 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."

Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

You can't look back. Looking back to the old life or longing for the old life when you used to drink and you used to dance and you used to smoke and you used to choke .... this is not to be our focus. That's not the direction we want to look. Like Abraham, we are to set our sights on a city made by God.

Lot came to Sodom rich and he left a pauper. It all started when he pitched his tent TOWARD Sodom. Be careful where you cast your eyes. Now only Lot and his two daughters were alive. His wife was a pillar of salt down in the valley far below. All he had owned was lost. Buried in ashes.

Jesus spoke of the last days, 1999, and said in Luke 17:28-32 "It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

"It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife!" These are the words of Jesus! Jesus says, "Remember Lot's wife! It's almost the shortest verse in the Bible.

Whenever God says "REMEMBER," He has a vital lesson for His people to learn.

Exodus 20:8 God says "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. You ought to be keeping the seventh day of the week holy. Ecclesiastics 12:1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them. You need to baptized when you're young. You need to set your sights on God and the direction of your life when you're still in school or whatever age that is, as soon as possible.

Allow the story of Lot's salty wife to do the work of salt in your life. Salt acts as a purifier and a preservative. Let this story refocus your life on that which will make you into a better Christian. I think of that old song we used to sing: "Brother, when the world's on fire don't you want God's bosom to be your pillow?"

What If Lot had not fled? Lot would have perished with the evil men of Sodom that he hated. Lot hated their filthy language and deeds. Yet he would have died with them. Today there are some of you who are not drunkards, you are upright and hate evil, yet you will perish with those drunkards unless you repent of other sins and trust your life to Jesus.

II Peter 2:6-8 if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, Are those cities burning today? Jude 7 says they were burned with eternal fire. Eternal fire just does its job and then goes out, but the destruction is eternal. and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-- It bothered him. He hated it. He had to leave. He was a righteous man.

Friends, I believe that our righteous God is grieved in His soul by all the lawless deeds that are done in this sinful world, especially here in the United States. Do you realize that here in the United States we have taken the Ten Commandments away. We are not allowed to post them any more. We have parades of "gay" pride in our streets. We have laws protecting and giving rights to people that are into gross sin.

I think it was Billy Graham that said: "If God does not strike America for its sins, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." Because we are not only as wicked as they were, I think it's worse. Time is short. Even at this late hour, we must divorce the sins of the world and be united to Jesus Christ. I believe that we are living in the last days. That's what Seventh-day Adventists are all about. We're Adventists. We believe in the last days. We believe we ar living in the last moments of the history of this world. Jesus is about to come.

I don't know if we should be planning for the future without Jesus because there is no future without Him.

We see the world having gay parades to publicize their shame. God sets a limit on sinfulness. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the narrow escape of Lot is a depiction of the last days. In these last days, are we going to be all involved in the sins of the world, and immersed and entangled with them? Where is your money? Where is your heart? Has the world sort of infiltrated your life? You need to allow Jesus Christ to retake command of your heart. Jesus will come in the nick-of-time and rescue His people before the world self destructs.

I believe there are mega-earthquakes that are ready. The asteroids are poised, the last events are coming. There are fires and floods, mega-floods. The ocean is rising. The world is self-destructing now. Can you see that? So the Question is are we ready? I urge you to give your heart to Jesus today and every day. Ask Jesus to rid your heart of sin. Divorce the world and unite with Jesus. Trust Him and don't look back. Keep looking to Jesus. Focus your eyes on Jesus. Let Him lead you to safety. And don't say, "I can't do what you want me to do." If you set your foot out the waters will part. Do what God wants you to do, and He will lead you to safety.

Opening Hymn: #348, The Church Has One Foundation
Scripture: Luke 17:28-32
Closing Hymn: #537, He Leadeth Me

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