The New Year always brings thoughts and visions of what God has for the future. But far too often, we are still so entangled in the past, that we are of no good to God in the present. God brought a simple verse to my mind and it led to the following Bible study that I shared with my ladies last week. As we face a new year, let us each take heed and:
"Remember Lot's wife."
Letting go of the past does not mean forgetting, but rather, it means releasing the past to God's Sovereignty in order to follow God's will for the future.
Let's take a few moments to look at the challenges Lot's wife faced.
First of all, lets look at her situation:
- She had a self-centered fool for a husband.– Lot was more concerned with the luxuries of life than leading his family.(Gen.13:10-13; Gen. 19:18-20)– Lot cared more for position than protecting his family.(Gen. 19:4-11)-- Lot lingered when he should have led his family.(Gen. 19:15,16)
We can see from this, that Lot wasn't much of a man to follow. (Just a thought: Maybe, it was his wife's nagging that led him to make the choices he made?) Regardless, God did not allow Lot's wife to use her husband as an excuse for disobeying His command to flee and not look back. Keep in mind that God does not command wives to submit to their husbands IF they are worthy of submission. (I Peter 3:1-5)
One thing that stands out to me as I read this passage in Genesis is found in verse 26. Where was Lot's wife? She was standing behind her husband. She followed reluctantly. She was not being the wife God created her to be. God created the wife to be a help meet for her husband.
Webster's 1828 dictionary defines “meet” as “fit, suitable, proper, qualified, convenient, adapted, as to a use or purpose." A wife is to complete her husband not the other way around. This may sound feminist, but God did not create woman to stand behind her husband, following like a sullen slave or a mindless idiot. Rather, God created the wife to submit herself to her husband's authority and to follow his lead while walking by his side. God has given us different responsibilities and varying levels of authority, but he created us equal in worth.
Lot's wife was not a submissive wife. She was too wrapped up in what lay behind, to go with her husband to a new life. God was giving them another chance to serve Him. Could it be that a little godly encouragement may have helped Lot to make a better choice?
Now, let's look at what Lot's wife was leaving behind....
- She had daughters, sons-in-law, perhaps grand-children, a home, friends, position, and wealth behind her.– How many of us would be willing to leave all that in order to follow God's command?
It is also my guess that she had not been a godly mother. Lot and his wife raised their daughters to serve the flesh and in doing so were loosing them to God's judgment. As a woman and a mother, I'm sure she was overwhelmed with thoughts of fear, loss, blame, and guilt. Questions of “What if...”, “How could he....” or “If only...” where most likely tearing at her, pulling on her heart-strings to take just one last look at what might have been.
What kind of questions would you be asking if you were standing there in the gates of Zoar and behind you lay everything dear to you? What do you think was going through her mind?
“Remember Lot's wife”
How does this apply to us? It's simple. What lies behind you? We all have things in our past that we just can't seem to let go of. And for the most part the memories we hang on to the tightest are not pleasant ones.
- Bad decisions.
- Failed relationships.
“Remember Lot's wife”
Satan wants you to fail, he wants your family to fail, he wants your church to fail. Satan is the biggest failure of all time. Even when he succeeds in getting a person to sin against God, he fails because, God uses ALL THINGS for good (Romans 8:28). Satan cannot keep God from succeeding. And so, he attempts to make God's people fail. If he can keep you in the past, he can destroy your future, making your life a failure.
Many things keep us from relinquishing those things that lie behind us:
- Fear -- The past becomes a wall to protect us from more pain.
- A lack of forgiveness becomes a shield against our enemies and sometimes ourselves.
- Doubt makes us question God's wisdom in allowing things to unfold the way they did which in turns makes us question His ability to take care of our future
- The sense of a loss of control, as women, we crave control. Don't deny it.
Maybe it's something else. What it all boils down to is this:
We don't want to admit that God is Sovereign and He was/is there during the good, the bad, and the ugly. God wrote each of our stories before we were born weaving in our own choices, our own strengths, and our own weaknesses. Not only ours, but also, those of each and every person that makes up our individual worlds.
We don't want to truly admit that God is indeed Sovereign because then we are faced with another dilemma. We now have to admit that “God is still God without me, but I am nothing without God.” Am I willing to trust that God will work it all together for His glory? Let us not forget why we were created. We do not exist for any purpose other than to bring pleasure to God (Rev. 4:11) Humbling isn't it?
“Remember Lot's wife.”
God does not ask us to forget the past, but rather to trust Him with it. Let your past, be just that – the past, a bunch of facts and memories that are a necessary part of who you were created to be.
God is omnipresent, He lives in the past as well as the present and future. That is Who He is. We are His creation, we are meant to live in God's will TODAY, so that we will be able to live in His will tomorrow.
God will use our lives, whether or not we live for Him. Do we want to be remembered like Lot's wife? God used her failure to unfold history. Her surviving daughters had sons who became great and wicked nations. Yet, Christ's very own lineage came from one of these nations, Moab. Would these boys have been born if Lot's wife stood by her man and obeyed God? God uses our sin as well as our surrender.
Whether we like it or not, God is in control. The question is: How do I want to be used? I for one do not want to be remembered like Lot's wife.
Accept your past for what it is and let God use it for His glory. You cannot change it and you cannot forget it, but you can accept it (Philippians 4:13). Don't be guilty of looking back. Don't live in the past!
And never forget Lot's wife!