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But Lot's wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.
Genesis 19:26    

  

 "Don't look now!"

These words of advice are often meant to protect us from behaving in a way that might prove embarrassing or inappropriate at the moment. We can choose to "look" with the understanding that we might be hurt or hurt someone else's feelings. It is our call whether we want to entertain those consequences. But when we get instructions not to look at the sun during an eclipse, for instance, we know this is a serious warning that needs to be heeded. The consequences of not complying are physically threatening to our vision.

When we make choices, we must consider the potential consequences. Ignoring advice may or may not harm us. Ignoring a valid warning may trigger irreversible damages.

When Lot's wife turned her head to look longingly back to her hometown, she was turned to a pillar of salt. We, in turn, may wonder about the goodness of God. After all, she only glanced back for a moment. Isn't it normal to grieve for the past just a little bit? What's the harm? Don't we all peek at the past? The answer to these questions helps us understand the difference between temptation and disobedience.

When Lot's wife looked back on the disaster, she acted with deliberate disobedience. Earlier in the day, angels had explained to Lot's family that they were being given an opportunity to run from what would inevitably destroy them and to start a whole new life. The only condition was that they had to completely let go and look only ahead. They had to trust that God's plan was absolutely the best possible option for them (vv. 15-17).

Unfortunately, neither Lot nor his wife trusted God's plan. Lot begged for an adjustment (vv. 18-20); his wife opted for disobedience. The consequence was that she became a part of the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. Her deepest allegiance got its sad reward.

When our past becomes the overwhelming, controlling factor of our present, we put ourselves outside God's plan for our abundant life. We are lost as we long for what is dead in the past. Allowing God to bring new people, new experiences, and new challenges into our lives helps us live in the present. But the bottom line has to do with obedience to God's directions. When we insist on doing what he has told us not to do, we get frozen into disobedience.

Will we let God be the Lord of our lives, or will we hang on to the things in our past that are keeping us from the fulfilling life God offers?

New Living Translation (NLT)

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