The door of our house shuts with a slam. I stop kneading dough in my porcelain bowl and look up as my husband runs into the cooking room.
“Quick, woman, where are our daughters? And their fiancés? ”
He pulls me by the wrist to the living room where two men stand. Tall, handsome, and with shining faces, they greet me with a nod and a smile.
My husband makes introduction. “These are angels sent to us by God Himself.”
I start in shock. Angels? I’m puzzled until I hear the shouting, cursing, and loud knocking on our door. I know the men of our city are rioting again, and as I regard the angels, I know why. The pounding grows louder, and I fear our door will break.
“Yes, ever since these two arrived in our city, the Sodomites have become violent, demanding that they have relations with our guests.”
I cringe at the thought, remembering the beds everywhere in the town square for that very purpose. They insist on intimacy with every new man who enters the city gates.
One angel speaks. “We don’t want to impose on your family. We can spend the night in the square.”
Lot wags his finger back and forth. “Absolutely not! You must stay here with us tonight where you’ll be safe.”
The shouting thickens with more voices, and the pounding reverberates through the entire house. I return my husband’s worried expression as our two beautiful, dark-haired daughters rush to my side and cling to me. Their frightened eyes plead.
Lot regards the two angels, then our daughters. My heart squeezes into my throat. Oh, please, don’t let him do it. My eyes glue to his back in horror as he slowly edges to open the door, slips through, and closes it behind him. I strain to hear his words above the roar of protest. I distantly hear demands that he produce the two men for their pleasure.
“Good men of Sodom, why do you act so wickedly? These men are my guests. You must leave them alone.” Lot tries to reason with them, which sometimes works.
More shouting, more protesting.
My palms sweat. My heart drums like it’s going to beat out of my chest.
“Men of Sodom, let me give you my two virgin daughters instead. You may do to them whatever you wish.” His tone is desperate. The din is deafening.
I can’t stop my body from shaking. “Save him!” I plead with the angels. “They’ll kill him! They have done this to others. I know.” I cry, tears spilling down my cheeks.
My daughters bury their weeping faces into my shoulders. They quake, and I hug them tightly as we wait to see if they will be thrown to the mob, like pieces of raw meat to charging lions.
The angels cautiously open the door and jerk my husband inside. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway (Genesis 19:11, NASB).
I fling myself into Lot’s arms, sobbing, convinced that the angels saved my husband’s life.
One angel set the plans. “Tomorrow at dawn, you must leave this place—you, your wife and your daughters, and your sons-in-law, because the Lord is going to judge Sodom’s exceeding wickedness.”
Just before dawn breaks over the horizon, we’re ready to go. Lot runs to the dwellings of our sons-in-law, informing and urging them to escape with us before destruction falls. In spite of the angels’ presence, they think Lot is joking and refuse to believe it’s true. When their father returns alone, our daughters cry and beg to not leave without them. Their futures are doomed.
The angels tell us that we must leave now because they cannot hold back God’s hand of judgment any longer. It’s now or never.
We are all frozen in fear. No one can move.
Out of sympathy, the angels grab our hands and pull us to safety out of the city. When they had brought (us) outside, one said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away’ (Genesis 19:17, NASB). Lot asks them if we can escape to a nearby city, Zoar, instead of fleeing to the mountains, and they grant us permission. Then they disappear, and it’s just the four of us again.
As we trample up the hills that early morning, I listen to the angry thunder and try to cover my nose from the pungent smell of sulphur, as fire and brimstone pour down from the black skies. I try to block out the distant screams of agony, and remember my sons-in-law are there by choice.
I shudder, sobbing, devastated about what I was forced to leave. My beautiful home. My lovely things. My entire life.
What kind of place is Zoar? I have nothing there.
A huge rumbling booms from the sky, and light like the strength of a hundred suns blazes around me. I cover my face with my hands, but I’m too curious. I have to peek. Just a last look. No one will know.
But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26, NASB).
Poor Lot’s wife. Instantly judged for disobedience. Not thanking God for deliverance, but mourning for what she had lost. Let’s learn from her bad example.
If you’re tempted to have a pity-party, remember Lot’s wife. Don’t look back.
At the end of 2015, what have you lost? A place you loved? A relationship? A job or career? A loved one? Lot and his family lost all of these.
No matter what has been torn from your hands, it’s time to let it go and enter into God’s new blessings in 2016.
As God takes us across the threshold of this new year, let’s be like Lot and look forward. Let’s rejoice with thanksgiving and place our trust in Him who will protect and deliver us from evil. Wherever we are, He will guide us securely into our future that He has prepared for such a time as this. As we enter 2016, the continuation of the Year of Jubilee, let’s do so in the strength and joy of the Lord.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13, NASB).
Wishing you a healthy, prosperous, and blessed New Year!
5 thoughts on “Don’t Look Back”
Reblogged this on Holly Michael's Writing Straight and commented:
I loved this!
Really love this one, Karen. Shared it all over. At a bad time in my life, years ago, I was told by a very wise old man, “Don’t look back.” Those words have returned to me over the years in different areas of my life. We should never look back once God moves us in a direction. Being led by the Lord, we should keep our eyes on Him and not worry about what we left behind.
Thanks so much, Holly. Yes, very wise words to follow. Also reminds me of Jesus’ same words: “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
I loved this! It’s really a good reminder not to get too attached to earthly places or things, because they’re all temporary. We have to let God lead and follow his instructions even when don’t understand.
So true, Cait. Obedience with thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness is key. This earthly home is temporary, and there is so much to look forward to.