During high school, my brothers and I participated in a Bible quizzing team. Each year, we’d focus on memorizing a book of the Bible or several books, depending how long they were.
I’ll never forget the year we memorized Luke. The shortest verse, “Jesus wept” was John 11:35, but quite possibly the second shortest was Luke 17:32, “Remember Lot’s wife” (NIV). Everyone knew that verse.
Although short, this verse carries a weighty reminder: Don’t look back when God’s commanded you to look ahead.
Last week, we talked about why we should focus our eyes upward so that we don’t sink, and today, I’d like us to think about why we should keep our eyes from glancing in the rear view mirror very often.
“Never look back unless you are planning on going that way.” This quote by Henry David Thoreau is one I keep over my computer desk at school. Looking back is so tempting because …
… you hadn’t made that mistake yet
… life seemed simpler somehow
… those were the “good old days”
… you fill in the blank
Although there is a time and a place to look back and learn from our mistakes – or to remember a special achievement – we’re more prone to create an accident if we don’t keep our eyes focused on the front windshield.
That was Lot’s wife’s problem. She enjoyed the luxuries of Sodom. The idea of leaving her home for the unknown future made her want to crawl back under her comforter.
But the command to leave – and not look back – was clear.
“So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed” (Genesis 19:17, NKJV).
Yet Lot’s wife couldn’t resist. As a result, she instantly became a pillar of salt.
No name is recorded for her, and perhaps that’s just as well. Are there not times when we could substitute our name for hers? Are we guilty of looking back when God’s called us to live in the present?
I’m thankful that we live in the age of grace. I don’t have to worry about becoming a pile of salt, but the warning is no less real.
Listen to what Jesus said in Luke 9:62.
But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (NKJV).
God’s given you – and He’s given me – a present, and for us to squander it by whining for “what ifs” is a waste of precious time.
Don’t look back. Look ahead. We’ll talk about that more next time.