Genesis 19:26
But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Every part of this narrative suggestive of lessons. Reminded how "the righteous scarcely saved," and of the danger of an amiable weakness. In Lot's sons-in-law we see how the world receives the gospel (cf. Ezekiel 20:49; James 1:24). In his wife, one convinced, but not converted; seeking safety, but with a divided aim (James 1:8). In the angel's help, God's watchful care, even where the need is unknown. Text teaches the responsibility of those who hear the gospel. Dangers surrounding us, but a way of safety (Psalm 101:1; 2 Corinthians 2:16). But not enough to be roused (Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 12:1). Many are awakened to flee, yet look back (Luke 9:62). Lot's wife not deaf to the call; did not think it fancy; really believed; felt the danger, and fled (2 Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:4). But the sun rose; the valley beautiful; home attractive; no signs of danger. Must she leave all; and at once? She paused. That pause was death.

I. May be roused by ALARM OF CONSCIENCE and yet look back (cf. Matthew 12:48-45). Some, intent on the world, think not of the future. Preaching seems only a venerable form; prayer a proper homage to God. But as to anything more, no hurry. But a time of anxiety comes. Perhaps a wave of revival, or some special occurrence - illnessIsaiah 28:17). Then in earnest to seek the true refuge (Hebrews 6:18). The Bible read; prayer a real pleading. But the sun arises. The immediate cause passes away. Fears fade away. Then a looking back. Surely some of you can remember times of earnestness. Perhaps in hours of anxious watching, or in preparation for communion, or God has spoken directly to the soul and made you feel his presence (Genesis 28:16, 17). Then the blessedness of accepted salvation was felt. The message was not a parable theft. The Bible and prayer were precious then. But time went on. The immediate influence, gone. All as before. Old ways asserted their power; hard to give them up. In mercy the call once more. Awake; the storm is at hand, though thou, seest it not. Pray that the Holy Spirit may transform thy heart.

II. May be moved by EXAMPLE OF OTHERS, yet turn back. She felt her husband's earnestness, and went with him, but so far only. We know the power of example. When we see those we love affected, we are moved to be as they. So at the preaching of John the Baptist. So at times of missions. Have any felt this influence; been stirred to read and pray? It is well. But has it lasted? For a real saving change there must be a personal transaction with the Lord as a living Savior; a laying hold of him, a real desire and effort that the will and whole nature be submitted to him.

III. A MIGHTIER POWER STILL MAY ACT UPON THE SOUL. While Lot lingered angels laid hold of hands. There are times when God pleads urgently. One refuge after another swept away. Call upon call, sign upon sign, till the will seems conquered. But all is not done (Philippians 3:13). Such pleadings neglected, cease. Observe, God led Lot out of Sodom, not to Zoar. There is work still to be done (2 Peter 1:10). The question is not as to the past, but as to the present. It will not save a man that he was once anxious. Look not back. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Let earnestness in every part of Christian life testify that you are not looking back (Hebrews 10:39). - M.







But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar Of salt.
I. THE CAUSE OF BACKSLIDING. Unbelief, leading to

(1)disobedience,

(2)indecision. She was perplexed between God and the world.

II. THE DANGER OF BACKSLIDING.

1. There is the danger of forfeiting our salvation.

2. The danger of punishment.

(T. H. Leale.)

I. SHE PERISHED AFTER SOLEMN WARNING.

II. SHE PERISHED BY A LOOK.

III. SHE PERISHED AFTER SHE HAD STOOD LONG, AND HAD ENJOYED GREAT ADVANTAGES.

IV. SHE ILLUSTRATES THE ENORMOUS INFLUENCE OF WORLDLY INTERESTS AND AFFECTIONS.

(T. H. Leale.)

Homilist.
I. A CHARACTER HIGHLY BLESSED.

1. Association with good people.

2. Remarkable interpositions of Providence on her behalf.

3. Divine aid afforded to escape the danger.

II. A CHARACTER INEXCUSABLY WRONG.

1. Inasmuch as sin in its most detestable forms had been presented to her view.

2. Inasmuch as a special commandment was disregarded.

3. Inasmuch as there was no reasonable inducement to disobey,

III. A CHARACTER SADLY PUNISHED.

1. Separated from the objects of her hope.

2. Held forth as a warning to others throughout the ages.

3. Lost almost within reach of safety.

(Homilist.)

"Remember Lot's wife" —

1. In the hour of conviction of sin. "Up! flee for your life!" is the voice of the Holy Spirit. Delay, hesitation, casting longing looks back on a life of sin, then, may be fatal.

2. In the hour of fiery temptation. The only safety is in precipitate flight.

3. When any question of duty is pressed upon you.

4. Amid the assaults of unbelief.

5. Note what Christ says in Luke 9:62: "No man, having put his hand to the plough," etc.

(1)He is not intent on the work in hand.

(2)His earthly ties and interests are stronger than those which pertain to heavenly things.

(3)He has really surrendered himself to temptation.

(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)

I. She was made A NOTARIZE AND CONSPICUOUS EXAMPLE OF JUDICIAL INFLICTION; SO as to "justify the ways of God to men." Why was she overtaken by so signal a doom? She was probably not different from others, her fellow-townswomen — the votaries of fashion and the slaves of custom. We possess some intimation of the habits which then existed, and the tastes which then prevailed. "The iniquity of Sodom " was " pride, fulness of bread; and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters" (Ezekiel 16:49). No encomium is pronounced on her; but how differently is her partner regarded! (2 Peter 2:4, 7, and 8.) Probably she was frivolous, light, and careless in her conduct; her character made up of negations, rather than of positive vices; and her faults probably originated in the unfavourable influence of the society in which she mingled. "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" (1 Timothy 5:6). We see a judicial infliction overtaking her conduct, which was marked by the following features.

1. Disobedience. It is the business of principle to obey the right and the rule. It does not matter what the law prescribes, for the majesty which invests the government of God descends on all the acts of His legislation; and it is not for us to question their greater or less magnitude, or their superior or subordinate authority. He shows us what He wills, and it is our part to obey. In the case before us there was to be no idolatry of home — no favourite objects to preserve and bring away. They were to come out quickly and unburdened. The general command was to disregard all; and even the particular precept could not be more distinct: "Escape for thy life! Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain! Escape thou to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Genesis 19:17)! Then commenced a struggle in her mind. Here was her disobedience. Only obey the voice of God, and it shall be well; but if thou disobey, ruin will be the result.

2. Ingratitude. It was not ordinary kindness, but particular and pre-eminent that was shown to her husband, herself, and her household. "Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither" (Genesis 19:22). As if His fury were stayed till the complete deliverance of these, His favourite charge.

3. Reluctance. Hers was an averted countenance. Are we surprised at this? Think of the awe — the panic — the agitation! Think of the natural instinct which attached her to home. Was it that her heart grudged to leave behind some favourite whose misery excited her pity and commiseration? None of these feelings are manifested. But there is a wistful and hankering look. Her eye seems enamoured of what she must abandon; the objects of vanity — her companionships — whatever she coveted — her pursuits — her friends — her abode — her flocks — all that she was leaving; and though she saved what was of greater value, her heart went after her covetousness (Ezekiel 33:31); and it was all concentrated in that look.

4. Distrust. Might it not be a false alarm? Might it not be well to pause and examine?

5. Indecision. This paralyzes all, and is unaccountable in such a case as hers. See how the waves threaten to surround her! Yet she wavers, instead of hastening her retreat.

II. Why are we to "Remember Lot's wife," but that there was SOMETHING IN HER CONDUCT TO REBUKE AND INSTRUCT US?

1. How small a thing may prevent our salvation! Lot's wife may have been gay and volatile — nothing more.

2. The increased misery of perishing within the reach of recovering mercy. Lot's wife was in the track of safety. All was promise and hope.

3. The evil of a careless state of mind. Lot's wife was not fully possessed of the fear proper to her situation. Led by the example of those among whom she dwelt, she had no just view of the evil of sin. Left by her companions, she thought to return; but the resolve was too late! Advance was as helpless as retreat!

4. The misery of apostasy. Many have a disposition to what is right; but there is nothing fixed — no true change. How many have been thus hindered in their course! They were almost persuaded to be Christians (Acts 26:28), but they "looked back"; and our Lord indicates that this disposition leads to condemnation (Luke 9:62).

5. The fearful state of mind when God leaves the sinner and abandons him to his own will. In the case of Lot's wife, God could do no more, and the angels went on. The last desire for deliverance left her. She "looked back" — stopped — and stood still for ever!

(R. W. Hamilton, D. D.)

I. THE TEXT SHOWS THAT ACTIONS MAY BECOME PUNISHABLE, WHICH TO US MAY SEEM MOST HARMLESS AND EXCUSABLE. No doubt there are some things which have happened in each of our lives which stand out more prominently than others, and we can remember these with ease, and with a constant recurring memory. They are the mountains and hills (so to speak) in our mind-scenery which come before us ever so plainly; but the little rivulet, or the humble stone, or the half-hidden bush is passed over and seldom thought of. And such is the case with human life, we overlook or forget the smaller things of every-day existence, while we lay a great emphasis upon what we consider more deserving of our attention. But it is the little transactions of the day which make up the character, which form it, and give to it its destiny. It is the oft-repeated habit which grows into strength, and stamps its image upon our hearts and minds, whether good or bad. It is the word of anger which, like a spark, kindles into flame our fiercest passions, while the word of kindness will soothe the feelings of ill temper and carry comfort into the most troubled bosom. A look, a simple pressure of the hand, and even sometimes a well-known footstep, will do much to change the history of a life. Yet, after all, God looks deeper into our doings than what meets the eye or falls upon the ear of sense. He is a Searcher of the heart, of its intents and motives; and according to its principles, which lie beneath the disturbed and restless surface of human actions, so does He acquit or condemn us, commend or disapprove. Thus with regard to Lot's wife, it was not the mere turning back of her body, or the look of her eye, which He condemned, but the motives which prompted these actions, and made them the instruments of her own evil wishes, and of the wrongful feelings which stirred within her soul. Hence, if the eye should become the instrument of sin, pluck it out; or, if the arm should lead us to offend, cut it off.

II. We observe here THAT THE SIN OF LOT'S WIFE FOUND HER OUT WHATEVER THAT SIN MIGHT HAVE BEEN. Did her heart long to remain with the people of the cities whom God had cursed? She became a fixture to the spot where such a wish was encouraged. Did she depreciate or condemn the judgment which wrapt the cities in flames? She is made to share their fate, only in another form. Would she rather return to the place from which she was commanded to flee, and so brave the curse which God had declared against it? Then let her steps be arrested in death, and her folly become a monument of warning to others who would follow her example. Did she, by looking back in direct opposition to the orders not to do so, care nothing about the interposition of angels, nought of the Divine goodness and mercy in providing for her and her household a refuge and a place of rest and security? Then let her insensibility and ingratitude become marked by turning her into a lifeless and insensible pillar of salt. And thus we often find that there is a correspondence between the act of disobedience and the judgment which follows it.

III. THE FATE OF LOT'S WIFE WAS SUDDEN, QUITE UNEXPECTED. It came upon her in an instant. In the very act of turning she was struck by the hand of death. There came to her no note of warning of the calamity, and the momentary change allowed no time for thought, for reflection, or for shrinking fear. But it is not the suddenness of death we have most to dread, it is the being unprepared for such a change. It is this we have most to fear. The manner and form of the death of Lot's wife may be regarded comparatively of little consequence, but the state of mind in which the destroyer found her is of the utmost importance.

IV. WE LEARN FROM OUR SUBJECT THE EVIL OF TURNING BACK IN THE PATH OF DUTY.

V. The body of Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt seems to point to the COMPARATIVE INSIGNIFICANCE OF THE HUMAN BODY, AND TO CAST A SORT OF CONTEMPT UPON IT. But suppose its rigid fixture to the ground may be considered a symbol of the fixity of the human character in death!

(W. D. Horwood.)

In an October day a treacherous calm on the northern coast is suddenly followed by one of the fiercest storms within the memory of man. Without warning signs a squall comes sweeping down the main, and the ocean leaps in its fury like a thing of life. The heavens seem to bow themselves, and form a veil of mirk and gloom; and above the voices of the storm is heard the cry of those on shore, "O God of mercy, send us those we love!" But, alas! there are those for whom that prayer cannot now avail; for floating spars and bodies washed ashore from which all life is sucked tell too plainly that some home is desolate, some spirit crushed. And now a mighty shout is heard, and all eyes again turn towards the sea, for through the darkness of the storm a boat is seen struggling towards the shore, now lost to sight, and again borne on the crest of the wave, nearer and yet nearer the harbour's mouth. The climax now approaches in this wild race for life; and hearts are high with hope or chilled with fear, for the next wave must either bear them into safety or send them to their doom. See! there it comes, threatening in its vastness and twisting in its progress like some hideous thing of night. A cold sweat breaks out on those on shore, for the boat is lifted on its boiling crest and dashed with resistless fury against the stonework of the pier; and as a mighty cry of anguish rises, the men clinging to the wreck wave to their friends a last adieu, who, close at hand, stand agonized spectators of the scene! Yes, they have surmounted all the dangers which have proved fatal to their fellows, only to miss the friendly hands stretched out to save, and perish before the eyes, and be washed up lifeless at the very feet, of those they love. In all such cases the grief of onlookers, and of all who mourn their loss, is augmented by the thought that though so near to safety they yet were lost. Remember that to be near the harbour-mouth is not to be safe in its shelter — that though near to the kingdom of heaven you may never enter therein; and that, in so far as your final salvation is concerned, being near to Christ is no better than being far away, if it never lead to a complete surrender of your heart to Him.

(W. Landels, D. D.)

All which bewray and show that they were never in heart soundly reformed, how glorious soever their outward show was for a time. Fear we, then, ever to look back with Lot's wife I Fear we to return to those old vices and sinful corruptions wherewith we have been stayed! Fear we to frequent that company, to lust or long for those poisoned pleasures which heretofore have given us a fall, or at least endangered us, for as the Lord liveth that smote this woman (Lot's wife) we shall be smitten first or last, and stand as spectacles of His wrath for evermore. Now, as you have heard what she did, so hear, I pray you, what she suffered. She looked back, and the Lord turned her into a pillar of salt. That which respecteth the punishment itself is that it was just and most due to her. For, first, she was delivered with her husband and daughters out of Sodom, and brought forth by the angels' own hands. Then she was warned that she should not look back, nor abide in all the plain, lest she perished, which was a fair warning. Thirdly, even hard by, as it were, there was appointed a city to them whither they might easily go, and should be most safe. Fourthly, she had going with her husband and children, whom, both for wife's affection and mother's, she should joyfully have accompanied. But all this she neglecteth, and therefore justly perisheth. This biddeth us to-day to beware, and, hearing the word of the Lord, not to harden our hearts. Without doubt, if we perish, we perish justly, and it is not the Lord's blame, but our own fault that it is so. "Remember Lot's wife," saith our Saviour Christ, in Luke, "and let him that is in the field not turn back to that he has left behind"; and remember Lot's wife say I to you, to continue in safety without revolting, and the Lord grant that her salt may season our lives for ever.

(Bishop Babington.)

I. First, RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES DO NOT CONSTITUTE SALVATION. Never forget that. Some of us rest too much on our religious privileges. I read of Pharaoh being nine times brought under conviction, and yet he perished. I read of Judas being associated with the Christ of God for more than three years, listening to words that angels came down to listen to, and contemplating the model of human and Divine perfection, witnessing Him opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and yet he perished. And here I read of Lot's wife, for thirty years associated with the people of God, almost pressed by angels to the very gates of Zoar, and yet she perished; and God made her a pillar of salt, to be an everlasting monument of the fact that religious privileges and associations cannot save.

II. Religious privileges, when they are not made a blessing to us, WHEN THEY DO NOT EFFECT THE END INTENDED BY THEM, INCREASE OUR CONDEMNATION AND AGGRAVATE OUR RUIN. That is a solemn passage in 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16. I would far rather stand before the judgment-seat of God by-and-by a poor African from the barren waste of Africa, where the gospel message was never known, and the story of the blood of Christ never told, and throw myself upon His mercy, than I would take the stand of one of you professing Christians! who, in that day, will have nothing to answer when the King shall say, "Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?"

III. TO LOOK BACK FROM THIS POSITION OF KNOWLEDGE IS TO GO BACK, and so the Lord interprets it. To he outside Sodom is not enough, to he disentangled from the world is not enough, you must be in Christ, or you are Hot saved. Mechanical obedience, bodily exercise is not salvation; her body was near to Zoar, but her affections were in Sodom, and she perished — "Remember Lot's wife."

(M. Rainsford, B. A.)

1. The time of vengeance on the wicked may be that of severe judgment upon the righteous who haste not from it.

2. Nearest relations may be sometimes the greatest crosses to God's saints.

3. Rebellion against God's express commands and threatenings is a provoking evil.

4. It is very evil to have withdrawing hearts from God's salvation and inclining to the wicked's destruction.

5. God sometimes meets with rebellion and apostasy in the very act, and judgeth it.

6. Eminent sins are answered sometimes with eminent judgments.

7. God can turn flesh into salt and stones, and He alone.

8. God maketh some of His severe acts of punishment to be perpetual examples against sin in all ages.

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

Here let me tell you that conviction for sin and conversion to God are two very different things. A sinner under conviction is a sinner waked up to his guilt and danger. A sinner converted is a sinner who has hasted away to Christ for pardon and mercy, who is made safe in the strong mountain of God's love and grace.

I. LOT'S WIFE SAW HER DANGER, AND SET OUT TO ESCAPE FROM IT. So the Holy Spirit of God makes many a man see his danger as a sinner, and strives with him, and urges him to flee away from his sins. Many a man, under the warnings of the spirit, sets off in a way to the mount of God, and yet, like Lot's wife, perishes in the way. Pharaoh; Herod; Felix; Agrippa. I called to see a faithful servant once who was lying and trembling on the verge of death. He was greatly alarmed at the thought of dying unprepared to meet God. He said that the thought of his sins gave him the deepest distress, and that all he wanted was to be a Christian. Before I left him he solemnly promised that if ever he was raised up from that bed of sickness, he would be a Christian the rest of his days. Had he died then, his master and all of us who were there would have said that he died a Christian, and was saved in heaven. But he recovered; and, as he had always been a good and faithful servant, we expected to see the light of a good Christian shining in his life. And he did not altogether forget his promises. I went often to the house of his master, and would sometimes talk with him as he would light me to my room at night. As often as the books were brought out, and the bell rang for prayers, James would be there to join with us in family worship. This practice he kept up for several months. His master told me that during all that time he had been faithful to his promises. He seemed to be a Christian indeed, and all of us thought he would soon join the church. But at last he gradually gave up coming in to prayer. As I had not seen him for a good while, I asked one of the other servants what had become of James. He told me that, but a few days before, he was talking to him about his promises, and that James had said ha did not see the use of so much religion — so much praying — and so much reading the Bible — and so much going to church — and so much hearing sermons read. In fact, James had given up all pretensions to religion. He was just the same wicked man he was before he was sick. Now, this man was like Lot's wife. He set out in the way to heaven, but he "looked back." He turned back. He did not, indeed, become a pillar of salt; but he became (what is just as bad) hardened in sin. Two years passed away, and James was taken dangerously ill again. As soon as I heard of it I went to see him. I read the Bible to him; I prayed for him; I talked to him. I did not distress him by reminding him of his old promises. I told him of Jesus, the Saviour of sinners. I begged him to remember that He was able and willing to forgive all sins. I read and explained the parable of the prodigal son. I entreated him to give up his heart to that Saviour, and put all his trust in Him. But his heart seemed to be turned to stone. "No, no," said he, "I have most wickedly broken my promises to God; I have sinned away my day of grace; He will not now have mercy on me; I have no hope; I do not and cannot feel as I did before; my mind is so dark, and my heart is so hard!" I shall never forget that scene. His fellow-servants stood round the room in silent and solemn fear. They heard his short, heavy breathing, and watched his ghastly countenance until he gave up in the death struggle, saying, with his last breath, "There is no mercy for me." He had once been keenly sensible of his guilt as a sinner; he had mourned and wept as a sinner; he had promised before God to give up his sins. Like Lot's wife, he had set off in the way to heaven. He had put his hand to the plough, but looked back. He was hardened in sin, and perished in impenitence. Then let every sinner under conviction take warning, and not rest in his fears or sorrows.

II. Now LET ME WARN YOU AGAINST THIS FALLING AWAY — THIS BACK-SLIDING FROM CONVICTION. "Remember Lot's wife."

1. Do not linger in sin, as they did in Sodom. If you are anxious about religion, why should you remain any longer in sin? Why not rise up now, and with firm resolution escape from it? If you will not do this, you can never reach the mountain of salvation.

2. When once you have set out in religion, do not look back. Our Saviour Himself has said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

(Bp. Meade.)

Could God, in showing so much love, not expect faith and reliance? The trial of obedience was small and easy indeed; but it involved the proof whether the rescued family believed the angel, or required personal certainty, before they would follow his guidance; and it was a trial deemed sufficient by ancient nations under similar circumstances. When Orpheus had descended into the lower world in order to ask back his beloved wife Eurydice, Pluto, moved by the magic of his harmonies, gave him the promise that she would be restored to him under condition that he did not turn round to her till he had passed the Avernian valley; and when he disobeyed, she fell back into the regions of hell. Sacred actions, performed in reliance on the omnipotent assistance of the gods, were done with the face averted, as if symbolically to express that the believing mind requires no ocular evidence. We have, therefore, to explain the command here given to Lot from the same notions; it was a proof of faith.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

There was a great difference between the feelings of the elder and the younger branches of Lot's family on leaving their home. His sons and daughters left it in apparent obedience, but with the spirit of the inhabitants of the plain; it was not so with Lot's wife. It is not the character of age to accommodate itself readily to fresh circumstances. The old man does not feel inclined to launch himself afresh on the great ocean of the universe to seek new fortunes. He does not easily make fresh acquaintances, or transplant himself quickly from old haunts and homes. To youth there is a future; to old age there remains nothing but the present and the past. Therefore, while youth went on with its usual elastic step of buoyancy and hope, Lot's wife lingered; she regretted the home of her vanity and luxury, and the lava flood overwhelmed her, encrusted her with salt, and left her as a monument. The moral we are to draw from that is not left us to choose. Christ says, "Remember Lot's wife." It is worse to turn back, when once on the safe path, than never to have served God at all. They who have once tasted of the power of the world to come, let them beware lest they turn again. Sin is dangerous, but relapse is fatal. That is the reason why God so marvellously smooths the way for youth. Early joy enables the young man to make his first steps surely, with confidence in his Maker; love, gratitude, and all his best emotions are thus called forth. But if afterwards he falls, if he sinks back again into the world of evil, think you that his feelings will spur him on again in God's cause? Nay, because at the first time there was hope, the next all the hope is washed out; the stimulus of feeling is weaker because experience has broken down hope; he knows now what those resolves were worth! There is great difficulty in quitting evil after long habit. It becomes a home, and holiness is dull, and cheerless, and dreary. Youth, then, is the time for action — earnest, steady advancement, without looking back. St. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it"; and again he shows us the evil of drawing back — "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him."

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

The phenomenon of her transformation remains to this day a mystery. It is believed that she was smothered and stiffened as she stood, looking back, and was overlaid with saline incrustations. Such a result is not at all incredible, apart from the sacred narrative. An atmosphere heavily charged with the fames of sulphur and bitumen might easily produce suffocation, as was the case with the elder Pliny in the destruction of Pompeii. And as no dead body would ever decompose on the shores of this salt sea, if left in such an atmosphere it would become incrusted with salt crystals. Pillars of salt are found in the vicinity, which have formed from the spray, mist, and saline exhalations of the Dead Sea, and are constantly growing larger. Indeed, Josephus attempted to identify one of these with the wife of Lot. The spiritual phenomenon, however, presents no mystery. Lot's wife looked back. The command was explicit; it forbade looking behind, and the word for "look" implies a deliberate contemplation, steady regard, the look of consideration, desire. She looked back wistfully, longingly. The fact was, her heart was yet in Sodom, where all her treasures were. She had become identified with her home there, and even the wrath of God, poured out in a storm of fire, could not avert her eyes or quicken her steps. Abraham also "looked" toward Sodom, but the word signifies a rapid, and even unintentional or casual, glance. He glanced with grief and awe; she gazed with lodging and regret. She doubtless looked back, as the Israelites did toward Egypt, longing to return, more willing to stay there amid the sins of Sodomites than to abide apart with God. And so her heart's wish became a fact; her real prayer was strangely answered; where she lingered, there she should stay. She would look back, and henceforth should never look ahead. So sins become habits, and habits encrust us with fixedness, and transform us into immovable pillars, monuments of wrath. God fixed and rooted her where she was; his curse transfixed her, as it blighted, blasted, withered, the barren fig tree; and so Lot's wife, to this day, is herself the personification of Sodom, its sins and its punishment. The only safe obedience is a prompt, implicit, and exact conformity to God's command. No part of His word can be unheeded without risk; we may run from one peril only to fall a prey to another. A divided heart is like the "double" eye, and singleness of aim is as important as singleness of vision. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.

(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

Lot's wife has always had more followers than God's angels have. Look at the worldly-minded disciples in the Church to-day. Roused by fear to flee from the wrath to come, stirred by the warning of some special providence, or by the pressing entreaty of grace, they profess to leave Sodom behind. But they linger about the edge of destruction. They look back with longing, and linger and loiter on the way. And you may see them all about you, mere pillars of salt, without life or action, motion or emotion. The world has encrusted them with the salt, not of the saving and savouring sort, but that which represents sterility. If they are saved from the fire, it is so as by fire, and their works are burned up. They have lost their testimony for God, and have become only a warning to backsliders.

(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

Her backward look must have been more than momentary, for the destruction of the cities did not begin till Lot was safe in Lear. She must have lingered far behind, and been overtaken by the eruption of liquid saline mud, which, as Sir J. W. Dawson has shown, would attend or follow the outburst of bituminous matter, so that her fate was the natural consequence of her heart being still in Sodom. As to the "pillar of salt," which has excited cavils on the one hand and foolish legends on the other, probably we are to think rather of a heap than of a pillar. The word does not occur in either meaning elsewhere, but its derivation implies something raised above the level of the ground; and a heap, such as would be formed by a human body encrusted with salt mud, would suit the requirements of the expression. Like a man who falls in a snow-storm, or, still more accurately, just as some of the victims at Pompeii stumbled in their flight, and were buried under the ashes, which still keep the outline of their figures, so Lot's wife was covered with the half-liquid slimy mud. Granted the delay in her flight, the rest is perfectly simple and natural. She was buried in a horrible tomb; and, in pity to her memory, no name has been written upon it. She remains to all generations, in a far truer sense than superstition dreamed of when it pointed to an upright salt rock as her prison and her monument, a warning of the danger of the backward look, which betrays the true home of the heart, and may leave us unsheltered in the open plain when the fiery storm bursts. "Remember Lot's wife."

(A Maclaren, D. D.)

She is the type of a large class — persons who are convinced of the danger of their position, but not converted to God: professors who occupy a position half-way between Sodom and Lear, thinking it enough to have got away from the corruptions of the world without having got into Christ; thinking it enough to have been brought, as it were, outside the suburbs of Sodom, without having taken refuge in the blood. She looked back from her half-way position and "became a pillar of salt."

(M. Rainsford, B. A.)

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