Don’t Look Back!

But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”—Genesis 19:26 (NKJV)

The sad story of Sodom and Gomorrah had nearly come to its conclusion. But its destruction would still claim one more casualty, Lot’s wife. As she and her family were fleeing Sodom as the judgment fell, she made a mistake that proved to be her final one—she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Before moving on we need to address the elephant in the room. A pillar of salt? You mean she turned into the stuff I put on my popcorn? It’s fascinating that the region most experts believe this to have taken place, the southern region of the Dead Sea, has an incredibly high concentration of sodium. Massive eruptions of molten sodium (salt) that would have encased a victim are the likely cause of what killed Lot’s wife.

Now, was it really such a bad thing that she looked back? It’s important to recognize that by looking back, Lot’s wife was disobeying a divine command God’s angel had given her, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you . . .” (Genesis 19:17 NKJV). 

We also need to understand that the Hebrew word here for “looked back” carries the following definition: “to scan, to look intently at, to regard with pleasure.” This wasn’t a passing glance or quick turn of the head over the shoulder. It was more of a gaze prompted by a longing for the city that was being decimated. So, by looking back, Lot’s wife choose something the Lord warned her against because it would destroy her.

The connection for us is quite clear because Jesus references the example of Lot’s wife as a spiritual warning: “Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17:32-33 NKJV).

The writer of Hebrews also alludes to this moment: “’Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back . . .”(Hebrews 10:38-39 NKJV).

It’s obvious that God doesn’t want us to make the same mistake as Lot’s wife . . .the mistake of choosing and longing after the things that He has commanded us to forsake. We’re not to look back at the proverbial Sodom that’s behind us. That is to be a thing of the past. We are to press forward, looking ahead to what the Lord is delivering us to, not back on what He has delivered us from.

When the world has its hooks in your heart and you feel the pull to turn to it, remember Lot’s wife. Remember her fatal mistake and choose the better way the Lord is leading you on.

DIG: What did Lot’s wife essentially do by looking back?

DISCOVER: What did this cost her, and why should we remember this?

DO: Make an honest account of the things that make you look back. Ask the Lord to specifically help you to turn away from each and every one of them. 

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.