Linda's Cozy Mysteries

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Real Housewives Of The OT (Old Testament)--This Week featuring "Lot's Wife"--by Linda P. Kozar

Lot's Wife

"Looking back, I think I could have done things differently."

Even people who don't know much about the bible have heard of Lot's wife, the woman who turned into a condiment. Or is it a spice? If so, you might want to think of her as the original “Spice Girl.”

That's right, she turned into a pillar of salt. The manner of her demise--disobedience and death by salt is bad enough, but how would you like to be known through time immemorable, not by your own name, but only as somebody's wife?

Some commentaries claim her name was Aidith or Irith. A native of Sodom (or is is Sodium), it is likely she grew up there. Perhaps her exended family resided in that infamous city. She was mother to two daughters, although some speculate that she may have had four, two married daughters and two bethrothed. Since this cannot be proven otherwise,  we will assume she had two. The two daughters are mentioned in Genesis 19:8) as "virgins," and in (Genesis 19:14) 'Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law who were to marry his daughters. . ."

It is interesting to note that there are two sisters both in human form and allegorically in the two main cities destroyed by God. All the towns in the valley of Siddim were destroyed as well, with the exception of Zoar (I will explain why later). But what was the sin of Sodom and her sister city Gomorrah?
God Himself answers the question through Ezekiel in chapter 16:49-50 (The Message Bible), "'The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury—proud, gluttonous, and lazy. They ignored the oppressed and the poor. They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them."
Do a little research and it is easy to find people who claim God destroyed the cities and their inhabitants for merely being "inhospitable" to the poor. But there is no precedence for such a thing in the bible. The only scripture that even comes close (Matthew 10-14-15) references Jesus advising His disciples whom He sent to share the good news, "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." For the best possible answer to our questions, we must turn to the best possible source--scripture.

Let's begin with Abraham in Genesis 18. At rest under the shade of a Terebinth tree, Abraham looks up and see's three "men" approach. He offered them hospitality, entreating them to rest a while with him under the shade. But later, when these men (angels) rose up to go, one of the "men," the Lord Himself, spoke to Abraham, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am going to do?" God had already pronounced judgment on the the city. He was going in person, to check it one last time. The Lord goes on to say:
"...Because the shriek [of the sins] of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is exceedingly grievous, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether [as vilely and wickedly] as is the cry of it which has come to Me; and if not, I will know." AMP
Abraham inquires of God if He would spare the city if only 50 righteous men were to be found there, and then to progressively lower numbers, to which God agrees each time. So God relents somewhat in His plan to destroy the city. The righteous, if any be found, will not be destroyed with the wicked.
"It was evening when the two angels came to Sodom. Lot was sitting at the city gate. Seeing them, Lot rose up to meet them and bowed to the ground. And he said, My Lords, turn aside, I beg of you, in your servant's house and spend the night and bathe your feet. Then you can arise early and go on your way. But they said, No, we will spend the night in the square" Genesis 19:1-2. AMP
Lot was afraid for the men. He didn't want them to stay in the square overnight. The city of Sodom had a bad reputation for its treatment of strangers. . .make that a bad reputation. . .period.
"Lot entreated and urged them greatly until they yielded and [with him] entered the house. And he made them a dinner [with drinking] and had unleavened bread which he baked and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, all the men from every quarter, surrounded the house" Genesis 19:2-3. AMP
And why did all the men from every part of the city crowd around the house?
"And they called to Lot and said, Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we my know (be intimate) with them. (from the Hebrew ya'da')" AMP
Lot stepped out the door and shut it behind him. He begged the men to stop behaving so wickedly, which only got them angry. They 'rushed at and pressed violently against Lot,' but before they could break down the door, the angels pulled Lot into the house and shut the door. Then the angels struck the men with blindness [which dazzled them], from the young to the very old, but they (still) kept groping for the door in vain.

The two angels asked Lot if he had sons, daughters, sons-in-law and that if so, he needed to get them out of the city right away. His sons-in-law did not take what he said seriously. So in the morning, the angels urged Lot to hurry. ". . .Arise, take your wife and two daughters who are here [and be off, lest you [too] be consumed and swept away in the iniquity and punishment of the city." But Lot and his family lingered, so the angels took him and his wife and daughters by the hand and led them out of the city, telling them to go to the mountains [of Moab] for safety. However, Lot begs them instead to allow him and his family to go to the city of Zoar (which means little). The angel agrees to let this particular city escape destruction for the sake of Lot and his family, which is the only reason Zoar survived. The angels would delay the destruction until the family arrived safely in the little city, and this was after the sun had 'risen high on the earth.'

This is where Lot's wife comes in. As they were traveling from Sodom to Zoar, she was behind Lot. His back to her—he could not see her. She must have been really bummed out to leave her life in Sodom to live in a small town. Leaving her comfy/cushy life in the city of Sodom behind to settle in Zoar would have been about as appealing as moving from New York City to a podunk town in the middle of nowhere. The temptation to look back must have been powerful since her husband could not see her do it. Her father’s house, family and friends were there. Everything she cared about was there. Surely one look back wouldn't hurt, right?

As the wife of Lot, she would have lived a wealthy, privileged lifestyle. Their home and possessions would have been luxurious. Aidith would have been attended by many servants. She would have been admired and looked up to in her society. If what the angels said was true, she was leaving behind everything she prided herself in, home, possessions, position. Would she have been totally immersed in the indulgence and morally decadent lifestyle of her countrymen as well? Though she was married to a righteous man, was there a part of her that dreaded leaving that part of her life behind? Sin has a way of seeping and creeping in--especially when we are surrounded by those engaging in it without reget, apology or repentence. In any case. she chose to disobey and was struck dead by the hand of God.

Lot's wife looked back to where her interests and substance were and she lingered behind--most likely overtaken by the fire and brimstone. What did she see? The power of God, the total destruction of the life she'd left behind. Her dead body became encrusted with salt which, grew larger over time. At the southern end of the Dead Sea, there is a mountain of salt called Jebel Usdum, the "Mount of Sodom"(about six miles long, three miles wide, and 1,000 feet high). Though it is covered with a crust of earth several feet thick, the rest of the mountain is said to be solid salt.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"--Matthew 6:21. Lot's wife looked back at the paltry treasures of the flesh, instead of looking forward to the eternal treasures of God. The Israelites had the same kind of problem. They were always looking back to Egypt, the place of oppression and captivity, thinking what was behind was better than what God had in store for them--because they were tired of the journey.

Mt. Sodom, Israel

Jude 1:5-7 "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." AMP
God's word admonished us in Luke 17:32 to "Remember Lot's wife." Though salt is a presevative, symbolic of God's promise of eternal life to us (because salt preserves meat, hence flesh), the incrustation of salt which surrounded the body of Lot's wife, did little to preserve her from eternal damnation. Our lives can either serve as inspiration to others or serve as a warning. Sadly, the wife of Lot will forever serve as a warning to others to look forward, not behind, to obey, not disobey.

It would do us all good to revisit the following scripture, to remember that God both delivers and destroys. The wonder, the miracle is that He has given us the choice.
2 Peter 2:4-10 "For God did not [even] spare angels that sinned, but cast them into hell, delivering them to be kept there in pits of gloom till the judgment and their doom.    And He spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven other persons, when He brought a flood upon the world of ungodly [people].    And He condemned to ruin and extinction the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ashes [and thus] set them forth as an example to those who would be ungodly;    And He rescued righteous Lot, greatly worn out and distressed by the wanton ways of the ungodly and lawless--For that just man, living [there] among them, tortured his righteous soul every day with what he saw and heard of [their] unlawful and wicked deeds--Now if [all these things are true, then be sure] the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptations and trials, and how to keep the ungodly under chastisement until the day of judgment and doom, And particularly those who walk after the flesh and indulge in the lust of polluting passion and scorn and despise authority. Presumptuous [and] daring [self-willed and self-loving creatures]! They scoff at and revile dignitaries (glorious ones) without trembling." AMP

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