Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don't Look Back

There will be times in your marriage when the enemy will tempt you to look at your past situations. The enemy doesn't want you to move on when you find yourself in hard circumstances, but rather wallow in shame, self-pity, and regret.

I have always been intrigued by the Bible passage about Lot and his wife in Genesis 19. Verse 15 says, "When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." It is significant that the angels appeared to Lot in the morning. Morning symbolizes a new beginning.

God never desired for us to be weighed down by the confusion of the night, but to rise in the new mercy of the morning. God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah was the "punishment of the city." As Christians, we must live in the grace of the new covenant. If we dwell in the city of condemnation, we have chosen to suffer a punishment that has already been paid. II Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (NIV).

Genesis 19:16, "And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought and set him outside the city." In this passage it tells us that they "lingered" after being instructed of the LORD to go. When we get discouraging news, our flesh wants to linger in the pit of disappointment. Despite our disobedience, God is still so merciful, He takes our hand and rescues us. Psalm 40:2 says, "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." God sets us outside of the path of destruction.

Genesis 19:17 says, "So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." God is again giving an additional warning, giving this family an opportunity to obey His voice through free will. Notice it says, "do not look behind." When we look behind at a past circumstance, we give the enemy open access to our minds. Satan has always wanted to make us doubt God's Word for us. When we look behind, we try to take the position of God. We start to question God. "Why did you allow this to happen?" If we are not trusting God, then we are judging God. Disappointment arises when your time table is different than God's time table.

The last sentence of verse 17 says, "Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." On top of a mountain, you have an ariel view. That which looked so big, suddenly appears small. God wants to take you to a place of faith that is higher than what we view with our natural eyes. Our human thoughts about a situation are simply not God's thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways."Without trusting God, we are helpless and hopeless. But opening our hearts to trust God's plan brings us hope. Psalm 121:1-2 says, "I lift my eyes to the mountains--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Genesis 19:18-22 says, 18 "Then Lot said to them, 'Please, no, my lords!" 19 Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20 See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live." 21 And he said to him, "See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there." Therefore, the name of the city was called Zoar.

"Zoar" means "small" or "insignificance." Lot called on God's mercy, which He granted. However, Lot did not want God's best for his life, but rather chose to live in the smallness and insignificance of his own plan.

Genesis 19:23-26 says, 23 "The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground."
26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."

Let's look at the applications of Lot's wife becoming a "pillar of salt." A pillar is immovable. When we choose to stubbornly look back at the disappointment of a situation, it paralyzes us from moving forward. We become stuck and cannot move forward with the life that God has for us. A pillar carries the heaviness of a building. When we choose to think about a regret, we invite the spirit of heaviness to descend upon us. If we continue to dwell on the past we will be like "salt" when the flood waters come, we will dissolve under the pressures of life.

There may be things we don't understand, but we still have to trust and obey! Oswald Chambers said, "Beware of reasoning about God's Word--Obey It." God has already looked down the road of your future. It is bright, glorious, victorious, and joyful, but you have to obey Him to find it.

~Luke 11:28, "But He said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!"