One of the many charges of unbelievers against the God of the Bible is that He turned Lot’s poor wife into a salt pillar. Let’s look at some facts:
# Who was she?
The Bible does not say that Lot had a wife when he moved with his uncle, Abram, out of Haran. They eventually parted company and Lot pitched his tents near Sodom. 1 It seems as if he got a wife there in one of the Canaanite cities, possibly Sodom. Since her husband, Lot, sat at the city gate she could have been a woman of influence. It was where the leaders met to finalise legal and business matters. 2
# Their flight from Sodom:
With the impending destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorra, the angels told Lot and his family to flee and not look back. Why did she disobey the command of the angels, after they grasped her hand to lead her away from disaster and into safety? 3
- She probably din’t understand that the men were angels who carried God’s command. For example she did not help Lot prepare food for the angels. 4
- She might have rejected the Word of God like her future sons-in-law. 5 Like them she was reluctant to leave the ‘good life.’ ‘She looked back’ is the Hebrew phrase for ‘with an intense gaze.’
- Luke 17:28-32 tells us that in the days of Lot, life carried on as normal, ‘…People were eating and drinking, buying or selling, planting and building.’ Who wants to flee from that?
# What we learn about the whole event:
- Jesus referred to her in Luke 17:32, ‘Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.’ That is what Lot’s wife did. She wanted to preserve her life and lost it.
- The love of the world has no preservation power, ‘Do not love the world or anything in the world…. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does, comes not from the Father but from the world.’ 6
- If Lot’s wife obeyed and did not look back, the history of the Moabites and Ammonites (the descendants of Lot’s daughters by their father) would probably have been very different. The wife is often more logical when it comes to family affairs. If she was there, she might have told Lot to go and find husbands for their two daughters instead of hiding in a cave.
Did God force Lot’s wife to look back, so that she turned into a salt pillar? No, God ‘cannot’ violate a person’s free will. Any effort to blame God for someone’s disobedience is nonsense. She was reluctant to leave the ‘good life’ behind and move into the uncertain future with God.
- Genesis 13:11-12
- Genesis 19:1
- Genesis 19:16-17
- Genesis 19:3
- Luke 10:8-10; Jeremiah 23:14
- 1 John 2:15-16