REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE.

 

DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 24TH, 1879,

     

BY C. H. SPURGEON,

 

AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,

 

“Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32)

 

IT was the purpose of God always to maintain a testimony for truth and

righteousness in the midst of this ungodly world. For this end of old he set

apart for himself a chosen family with whom he had fellowship. Abraham

was the man whom God chose, that in him and in his household the witness

might be preserved. This chosen family was called out and separated from

its ancestors, and led apart to dwell as wayfaring men in the land of

Canaan. They were not to go into the cities and mingle with other races,

but to dwell in tents as a separate tribe, lest their character should become

polluted and their testimony should be silenced. It was the Lord’s intent

that the people should dwell alone and not be numbered among the nations.

Abraham, being called, obeyed, and went forth, not knowing whither he

went. His separated life gave great exercise to his faith, and so

strengthened it that it became a calm, unstaggering assurance; and this

enabled him to enjoy a quiet, sublime, and happy career, dependent only

upon God, and altogether above as well as apart from man. With him was

his nephew Lot, who also left Haran at the divine calls, and shared with the

patriarch his wanderings in Canaan and in Egypt. He was not a man of so

noble a soul, but was greatly influenced by the stronger mind of his Uncle

Abraham. He was sincere, no doubt, and is justly called righteous Lot, but

he was fitter to be a follower than a leader. He also sojourned in tents, and

led the separated life, until it became necessary for him to become an

independent chieftain, because the flocks and herds of the two families had

so greatly multiplied that they could not well be kept together. Then came

out the weak side of Lot’s character. He did not give Abraham the choice

in selecting a sheep walk, but like all weak natures he selfishly consulted

his own advantage, and determined to go in the direction of the cities of

the plain of Jordan, where well watered pastures abounded. This led to his

dwelling near the cities of the plain, where crime had reached its utmost

point of horrible degradation. We read that “he pitched his tent toward

Sodom”; he found it convenient to be near a settled people, and to enter

into friendly relations with them, though he must have known what the

men of Sodom were, for the cry of them had gone forth far and wide. Thus

he began to leave the separated path. After a while he went further, for one

step leads to another. He was a lover of ease, and therefore, he gave up the

tent life, with its many inconveniences, and went to live with the townsmen

of Sodom: a thing to be wondered at as well as deplored. He did not cease

to be a good man, but he did cease to be a faithful witness for his God; and

Abraham seems to have given him up altogether from that day, for we find

that noble patriarch enquiring of the Lord concerning his heir, saying,

“Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward

of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?” And the Lord said, “This shall

not be thine heir.” Now, this enquiry would have been needless had Lot

been still reckoned to belong to the chosen seed, for naturally Lot was the

heir of Abraham, but he forfeited that position and gave up his portion in

the inheritance of the elect house by quitting the separated life. Lot,

although he dwelt in Sodom was not happy there, neither did he become so

corrupt as to take pleasure in the wickedness of the people. Peter says that

God delivered just Lot vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.

He tried to bear his protest in the place, and signally failed, as all must do

who imitate him. His witness for purity would have been far more powerful

if he had kept apart from them, for this is the protest, which God demands

of us when he says, “Come ye out from among them, be ye separate.”

In the midst of the world, which lieth in the wicked one Lot lived on, not

without greatly degenerating in spirit, until the kings came and carried him

away captive. Then by the intervention of Abraham he was delivered from

the captivity, which threatened him, and brought back again. This was a

solemn warning, and you would have thought that Lot would have said, I

will go back to Abrahamway of living, I will again become a sojourner with

God. Sodom’s walls without God are far less safe than a frail tent when

God is a wall of fire around it.” His vexation with the conversation of the

lewd townsmen ought to have made him long for the sweet air of the wild

country; but not so, he again settles down in Sodom, and forgets the holy

congregation which clustered around the tent of Abraham. Being still a

man of God, he could not be allowed to die in such society: it was not to

be endured that “just Lot” should lay his bones in the graveyard of filthy

Sodom. If God would save a man he must fetch him out from the world; he

cannot remain part and parcel of an ungodly world and yet be God’s elect

one, for this is the Lord’s own word to the enemy at the gates of Eden-”I

will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her

seed.” Did he not also say to Pharaoh, “I will put a division between my

people and thy people?” The Lord will sooner burn all Sodom down than

Lot shall continue to be associated with its crimes, and dragged down by

its evil spirit. And so it came to pass that Lot was forced out; he was

placed in such a strait that he must either run for his life or perish in the

general burning. Happy had it been for him if he had lived all the while in

the holy seclusion of Abraham; he would not then have lost the inheritance

for his seed, nor have passed away under a dark, defiling cloud, nor have

missed his place among the heroes of faith, of whom Paul writes in the

famous chapter of the Hebrews: “These all died in faith, not having

received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded

of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and

pilgrims on the earth.”

Here I must pause, or you will think that I have misread my text, and that I

am preaching from the words-”Remember Lot”; and. indeed, I might

profitably do so, for there is much of warning in the history of Lot himself.

If Christian men are so unwise as to conform themselves to the world, even

if they keep up the Christian character in a measure, they will gain nothing

by worldly association but being vexed with the conversation of the

ungodly, and they will be great losers in their own souls: their character

will be tarnished, their whole tone of feeling will be lowered, and they

themselves will be wretchedly weak and unhappy. Conformity to the world

is sure to end badly sooner or later: to the man himself it is injurious, and

to his family ruinous.

 

But the text saith, “Remember Lot’s wife,” and therefore I must let the

husband go, and call your attention to her who, in this case, is “his worse

half.” When the time for separation arrived Lot’s wife could not tear

herself away from the world. She had always been in it, and had loved it,

and delighted in it; and, though associated with a gracious man, when the

time came for decision she betrayed her true character. Flight without so

much as looking back was demanded of her, but this was too much; she did

look back, and thus proved that she had sufficient presumption in her heart

to defy God’s command, and risk her all, to give a lingering love-glance at

the condemned and guilty world. By that glance she perished. That is the

subject of our discourse. The love of the world is death. Those who cling

to sin must perish, be they who they may.

 

Do not omit to notice the connection of the text, for therein our Lord bids

us hold the world with a loose hand, and be ever ready to leave it all. When

we are called to it we are to be ready to go forth without a particle in our

hands. “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in

the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the

field, let him, likewise not return back.” Life itself they were not to hold

dear, but to be ready to lay it down for his sake; for he said, “Whosoever

shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall

preserve it.” To be divided from the world, its possessions, its maxims, its

motives, is the mark of a disciple of Christ, and, in order to keep up the

feeling of separateness among his followers, our Lord bade them

“Remember Lot’s wife.” She is to be a caution to us all, for God will deal

with us as with her if we sin as she did. “The thing which has been is the

thing which shall be:” if our hearts are glued to the world we shall perish

with the world; if our desires and delights look that way, and if we find our

comfort in it, we shall have to see our all consumed, and shall be ourselves

consumed with it in the day of the Lord’s anger. Separation is the only way

of escape: we must flee from the world or perish with it. “Depart ye, depart

ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst if

her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.

 

I. “Remember Lot’s wife”: and our first call shall be-REMEMBER THAT SHE

WAS LOTS WIFE. She was the wife of a man who, with all his faults, was a

righteous man. She was united to him in the closest possible bonds, and yet

she perished. She had dwelt in tents with holy Abraham, and seemed to be

a sharer in all the privileges of the separated people, and yet she perished.

She was dear to one who had been dear to the father of the faithful, and yet

for all that she perished in her sin. This note of warning we would strike

very loudly, for, commonplace as the truth is, it needs often to be repeated

that ties of blood are no guarantees of grace. You may be the wife of the

saintliest man of God and yet be a daughter of Belial; or you may be the

husband of one! the King’s daughters and yet be yourself a castaway. You

may be the child of a prophet and yet the curse of the prophet’s God may

light upon you; or you may be the father of a most gracious family and yet

still be an alien to the commonwealth of Israel. No earthly relationship can

possibly help us if we are personally destitute of the spiritual life. Our first

birth does not avail us in the kingdom of God, for that which is born of the

flesh at its very best is flesh, and is prone to sin, and will certainly perish.

We must be born again, for only the new birth, which is of the Spirit and

from above, will bring us into covenant bonds. O ye children of godly

parents, I beseech you look to yourselves that ye be not driven down to

hell from your mothers-side. O ye relatives of those who are the favorites

of heaven, I beseech you look to yourselves that ye die not within sight of

heaven, in spite of all your advantages. In this matter remember Lot’s wife.

Being Lot’s wife, remember that she had since her marriage shared with

Lot in his journeys and adventures and trials. We cannot tell exactly when

she became Lot’s wife, but we incline to the belief that it was after he had

left Haran, for when Abraham left Haran we read that he took “Sarai his

wife, and Lot his brother’s son,” but we do not read of Lot’s wife. The

name of Abraham’s wife is given, but o! Lot’s wife there is no mentioning

whatever. Again, we read, “Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife,

and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.” “And Lot also,

which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents,” but nothing is

said about his having a wife. She must have been a person of very small

consideration, for even when it is certain that Lot was married, when he

was taken captive and afterwards rescued by Abraham, all we find is this:”

And Abraham brought back all the goods, and also brought again his

brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.” We

suppose that Lot’s wife is included under the word “the women.” Now the

Holy Spirit never puts a slight upon good women: in connection with their

husbands they are generally mentioned with honor, and in this book of

Genesis it is specially so. Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel have each an

honorable memorial, and as no mention is made of Lot’s wife we may infer

that she was not worthy to be mentioned. She could hardly have been an

inhabitant of Sodom, as the Jewish traditions assert, unless she was a

widow, as they say, and the daughters mentioned were hers by a previous

marriage, for at the destruction of Sodom Lot had marriageable daughters,

and it would not seem that Lot had then been separated from Abraham for

many years. True, the women of Sodom may have been given in marriage

at an earlier age than was usual with the Abrahamic stock, and, if so, Lot’s

wife may have been a native of Sodom, for it is possible that he dwelt there

for twenty years. More probably, however, either in Canaan or in Egypt,

Lot married a Canaanite or an Egyptian woman, a person utterly unworthy

to be taken into the holy household, and therefore the marriage is not

recorded. It was the custom of that elect and separated family, as you

know, to send back to Padan-aram, to fetch from thence some daughter of

the same house, that the pure stock might be preserved, and that there

might be no connection with the heathen. It was Abraham’s desire for

Isaac, and he charged his steward to carry it out, saying, “And I will make

thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the whole

earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the

Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country, and

to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. ‘ This also was Isaac’s

desire for Jacob, for we read, “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him,

and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the

daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethnel thy

mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of

Laban thy motherbrother.” It seems to me that Lot had married a heathen

woman, and so her name is omitted. Whether it be so or no, it is certain

that she had shared with Lot in the capture of the city of Sodom; she had

seen the ruthless sword slay the inhabitants, and she herself with her

husband had been among the captives, and she had been delivered by the

good sword of Abraham. So that she had been a partaker of her

husband’s trials and deliverance’s and yet she was lost. It will be a sad, sad

thing if there should come an eternal severance between those united by

marriage bonds that we should live together, and work together, and suffer

together, and should be delivered by the providence of God many a time

together, and should see our children grow up together, and yet should be

torn asunder at the last never to meet again: this is a prospect which we

dare not think upon. Tremble, you whose love is not in Christ, for your

union will have an end. What saith the Savior. I tell you, in that night there

shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.

Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the

other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the

other left.” It matters not how close the association, the unbeliever must be

divided from the living child of God. If you cling to the world and cast

your eye back upon it you must perish in your sin, notwithstanding that

you have eaten and drunk with the people of God, and have been as near to

them in relationship as wife to husband, or child to parent. This makes the

remembrance of Lot’s wife a very solemn thing to those who are allied by

ties of kindred to the people of God.

Lot’s wife had also shared her husband’s privileges. Her husband had not,

forgotten his association with Abraham, and he could not have failed to

communicate his knowledge to her. The one God was worshipped, and

Lot’s wife was present. She knew of the gracious covenant, which God

had made with his separated people, and she knew that her husband was

one of the families. She had cast in her lot with the chosen people of God

apparently, though her heart was not in it, and she therefore joined their

sacred song and their holy prayer. She saw the daily provision, which God

made for his people, and the joy, which Abraham had in abiding under the

shadow of the Almighty. Even: in Sodom her husband kept up such

separateness as he could in such an evil place, and she saw the goodness of

the man with all his mistakes. When Sodom must be destroyed the angels

came to their house, and she herself helped to entertain them. She received

the merciful warning to escape as well as her husband and she was urged as

much as he to flee from the wrath so near at hand. Thus is it with many of

you who are enjoying all sorts of Christian privileges and are yet unsaved.

You come to the Lord’s table, and eat and drink of the memorials of his

body and blood, and yet you remain unsaved. You seem to be part and

parcel of the church of God, and if there is any privilege or advantage a

share of it is set before you, if there is any fellowship you are not excluded,

it there is any joy it is not denied you. You will have to say at last, “Lord,

Lord, we have: eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in

our streets,” and, oh, how wretched it will be to hear him say, “I never

knew you; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.” It must be so if your

souls are clinging to sin, and you are casting a wistful eye to the ungodly

world. It must be so, and if you want a proof “remember Lot’s wife.”

Lot’s wife had shared in her husband’s errors. It was a great mistake on

his part to abandon the outwardly separated life, but she had kept to him in

it, and perhaps was the cause of his so doing. I suppose he thought he

could live above the world spiritually, and yet mingle with its votaries, even

as some now do who enter into worldly company and yet hope to walk

with God in spirit. He said to himself, It is very uncomfortable to wander

alone in this deserted wilderness, and to dwell in these temporary tents, I

wish I had a more abiding dwelling, and could mingle on peaceable terms

with those around me. He ceased to look for the city which hath

foundations whose builder and maker is God, and he wanted to take up

citizenship here. I should not wonder if Lots wife influenced him in that

way. He was a man of weak mind, and while his uncle had him under his

wing he was right enough, except that even then he had what a writer calls

a lean-to religion”; he did not stand alone, but leaned upon Abraham.

When he was married it is probable that his wife assumed the ruling place,

and guided the way of his life. She began to think that it was a pity that the

family should live in such separation, so unfashionable, so rigid, and

peculiar, and all that. She tossed her head, and cried, “Really, people must

mix with society, and not keep up old-fashioned, strait-laced ways. You

might as well be dead as be shut out from life.” When her husband had an

opportunity of getting out of that rigid style by leaving his uncle she said

she would like to go down Sodom way, because it would be nice for the

girls, and give them a taste of something liberal and refined. The old style

was all very well for such an antiquated couple as Abraham and Sarah, but

Lot and herself belonged to a younger generation, and were bound to get

into a little society, and find eligible matches for their young people. It

would be well for them to dress better than they could learn to do if they

always kept roaming about like gypsies. You see, Abraham’s people did

not study the fashions at all, and were a very vulgar sort of shepherds, who

had no ideas of refinement and politeness, and it was pity that people in

Lot’s station in life should always associate with mere sheep-shearers, and

drovers, and the like. If they got to Sodom there would be nice parties, and

dances, and all sorts of things. Of course the people were a little loose, and

rather fast; they went to plays where modesty was shocked, and gathered

in admiration around performers whose lives were openly wanton; but then

you see one must be fashionable, and wink at a good deal: we cannot

expect all people to be saints, and no doubt they have their good points. By

some such talk Mistress Lot gained her husband over to her way of

thinking. They did not mean actually to go into the worst society of

Sodom, but they intended to make a careful selection, and go only a little

way. Surely they could be trusted to know where to stop. So they pitched

the tent towards Sodom, where it was within an easy walk of the town, a

little separated, but not far. If anything did happen that was very bad they

could move away, and no harm would be done, but until they saw the harm

of it they liked the neighborhood and the ways of the townsfolk. It was no

doubt wise, they said, to go and see Sodom and know the people, for it

would be ridiculous to condemn what they had not seen; they would

therefore try it, and give the young people some idea of what the world

was like. Very sweet the city life became. The free and easy ways of

Sodom came to be enjoyable. Not the gross part of Sodom life, that Lot

could not bear, and it made Mistress of uncomfortable at times, but the

liberal spirit, the fine free bearing of the people, their gaiety and artistic

culture, were quite to her mind; and so she was right glad when her

husband put away the old tent, had a sale of the sheep, and lived as a

retired grazier in the west end of the city.

 

I think I am not mistaken in the conjecture that Mistress Lot’s influence

brought her husband there, and when there introduced him to the best

families, and found suitors for the daughters, who had been fully imbued

with the liberal ideas of the place. At any rate, whatever were his faults she

was a partaker in them: she was with him in the choosing the plain of

Jordan, with him in the pitching of the tent towards Sodom, with him in

actually settling in Sodom, and I could almost hope with him in bearing as

good a protest as they could against the vilest of Sodom’s sins, but

certainly with him in giving up the strictness and severity of the separated

life. Yet at last she was separated from him for ever; for his errors,

notwithstanding their grievous mischief to him, did not utterly destroy the

life of God in his soul; as for her, she never had any spiritual life, and now,

when she is called to leave Sodom, she shows her love to it by a distinct

disobedience of God, and an open turning to the doomed city, and so she

perishes. Oh, you that are Christian people because your friends are

Christian people, you associate with us because it happens to be the way in

which you were brought up, the time will come when the secret attachment

of your hearts towards a giddy world will show itself most clearly, and in a

fatal moment you will give a love look towards sin which will prove you

not to belong to the people of God. Then will it happen to you according

to the word of the apostle, “It had been better for them not to have known

the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the

holy commandment delivered unto them.”

 

II. And now, secondly, “Remember Lot’s wife,” and recollect that SHE

WENT SOME WAY TOWARDS BEING SAVED. Mistress Lot so far believed

the message that came to her about the destruction of the city that she was

aroused. She rose early as her husband did, and she prepared to leave the

house. She ran down the streets, she passed the city gate, she reached the

open plain along with her husband. She was willing for awhile to run with

him, following his example; she did so for a considerable distance, till she

began to think over what she was doing, and to consider what she was

leaving, and then she slackened her pace and lingered behind. Remember,

then, that she did go part of the way towards safety, and yet she perished:

and so many may go part of the way towards Christ, and they may go a

little way out of the world, but if their hearts still linger with the ungodly

they will perish, notwithstanding all. There is one very solemn thought, and

that is, that the angels’ hand had pressed her wrist. When they said, “Up,

get you gone,” and Lot lingered,-the men laid hold upon his hand, and the

hand of his wife. So it is expressly said. An angel’s hand had pressed her

wrist to draw her forth to safety, and she had gone a little way under that

sacred constraint; and yet she perished. Some of you may have had

spiritual touches upon the conscience and heart, which you will never be

able quite to forget, and the responsibility of this will cling to you, though

you have drawn back from godliness and your heart crieth after vanity, and

lusteth after its idols.

 

This woman was actually out of Sodom, and she was almost in Zoar, the

refuge city, and yet she perished. How near she was to the little city of

escape I cannot tell, but she was certainly almost there, and vet she

perished. Almost saved, but not quite, Let me repeat those words, for they

describe some of you who are present at this hour, and they may be your

epitaph if you do not mind what’ you are about:- “ALMOST SAVED, RUT

NOT QUITE.” Escaped from the vilest form of sin, but not truly in Christ;

the mind not weaned from its idols, iniquity not given up in the soul,

though perhaps given up in outward deed. O you who are ALMOST SAVED,

BUT NOT QUITE, “Remember Lot’s wife.”

 

III. This brings me to a third point of remembrance, which is this:

remember that though she went some way towards escape SHE DID

ACTUALLY PERISH THROUGH SIN. The first sin that she committed was that

she lingered behind. Moses tells us “Lot’s wife looked back from behind

him.” That is, the good old man was making such haste as he could; but

she, though She had run with him side by side, lingered in the rear-I should

not wonder but what the same angel had one of them by the right hand and

the other by the left, while the other angel brought the two daughters on

behind, but Lot’s wife after all slackened her pace and fell behind. That is

the first sin with most people who profess religion, but are not true to God:

they begin to backslide by creeping along very slowly, they are not half so

earnest as they used to be, they lag behind. One service a day is sufficient,

a very little reading of the Bible contents them; they do not quite give up

the appearance of prayer, but still there is very little of it; they do not see

the good of being in such a fury over religion; they do not see why they

should exercise any sacred violence to take the kingdom by force. They

linger. It is because after all the world is master of their hearts; they would

if they dare be as worldly and as ungodly as others, and they prove their

true character by slackening their pace.

 

Having slackened her pace, the next thing she did was she disbelieved what

had been told her. You must remember that their flight out of Sodom was

to be an act of faith; for the angel said, “Look not behind thee.” That

Sodom was to be destroyed did not appear at all likely, for it was a bright

morning. They were to fly with as much haste as if they could see the fireshower

falling, but they were not to see it; their flight was to be urged

forward by faith in the angels’ words. Faith may be as well exhibited by not

looking as by looking. Faith is a look at Christ, but faith is a not looking at

the things, which are behind. Lot’s wife saw the sun rising, so we are told:

the sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.” She saw

the bright dawning and everything lit up with it, and it came across her

mind-”It cannot be true, the city is not being destroyed. What a lovely

morning! Why are we thus running away from house, and goods, and

friends, and everything else on such a bright, clear morning as this?” She

did not truly believe, there was no real faith in her heart, and therefore she

disobeyed the law of her safety and turned her face towards Sodom. Yet,

mark you, she had received the angels in her house, she had seen them

blind the wicked mob around her door, she had heard their majestic words

of persuasion, and felt their kind compulsion: she had plenty of evidence

that God was speaking, but she doubted the truth of his word, and here

was the very essence of her sin-What if some of you that have mingled with

the godly,-and have been numbered with them, and have participated in

their worship, should, nevertheless, come short because of unbelief! It is by

no means improbable, for out of all that came out of Egypt there were only

two that entered into Canaan. They could not enter in because of unbelief;

their carcasses fell in the wilderness. May it never come to pass with any of

us that we shall leave our carcasses outside of the eternal hope because we,

too, do not believe in him who is invisible, but must needs walk according

to the sight of the eyes.

 

Having got so far as lingering and doubting, her next movement was a

direct act of rebellion, - she turned her head.-she was bidden not to look,

but she dared to look. Rebellion is as much seen in the breach of what

appears to be a little command as in the violation of a great precept. Our

fall at the first came from the plucking of forbidden fruit, and this woman’s

death came by a look! Take care of little things. There is life in a look, and

here is a case in which there was death in a look. She looked, but why did

she look? I suppose it was this: her heart was that way. She loved Sodom;

and the separated life she abhorred. She had led her husband and her

children away from the peculiar people of God, for she felt that she would

rather mix with the reprobate multitude than with the chosen few. She was

not of the spirit that could walk with God alone, she clung to society and

to sin. Though she was running for her life she thought of her household

stuff, and of the ease of Sodom, and she looked back with a lingering eye

because she wanted to be them; and it came to this, that as her eye went

back her whole body would have gone back if time had been allowed. She

already lingered, she would soon have turned. That one glance betrayed

which way her soul was going: a-little thing in professors may show what

they are, and we may readily betray the inward turning of the soul by an act

as simple as that of turning the neck to look towards Sodom. This was her

sin.

 

Now, dear friends, let us remember Lot’s wife each one of us by learning a

personal lesson. Here is a hard thing; we must go without the camp, or

utterly fail. Can you maintain the life of God and walk with Christ, and be

separate from the world? Many of you cannot; you may pretend to do so,

but you cannot, it is beyond you. I fear that the number of true Christians

in the world is very much less than we suppose. We are encumbered with a

host of people who call themselves Christians, but are as much of the

world as other people, whose inheritance is in the world, whose pleasure is

in the world, whose speech is worldly, and who are altogether of the

world; and because they are of the world the world loves its own; and

therefore, there is little or no strife between them and the world. Alas, I

fear the church is not true to itself, and therefore the world begins to love

it. It says, “You have come to live with us, and do as we do, and you do

not bear your awkward protests as you used to do, and so we need not to

burn you as we did your fathers. You are hail fellow, well met! with us,

and therefore we will treat you kindly.” Only let as live as Christ lived, and

we shall find the dogs of this world howling at us as they used to do at our

forefathers. My hearers, can you live the separated life? If you can, God

help you and bless you in it, but if you cannot, recollect though you do not

so go into Sodom as to indulge in its grosset sins, yet the very looking at it,

the wishing for it, the desiring to be there shows where your heart is, and

your heart’s tendency is your true character. You will be judged according

to the going of your heart. If your heart goes toward the mountain to

escape, and if you hasten to be away with Christ to be his separated

follower, you shall be saved: but if your heart still goes after evil and sin,

his servants ye are whom ye obey, and from your evil master you shall get

your black reward.

 

IV. Here comes our remembrance of Lot’s wife in the fourth and most

solemn place, and that is-remember that HER DOOM WAS TERRIBLE.

“Remember Lots wife.” Remember that she perished with the same doom

as that which happened to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, but

that doom befell her at the gates of Zoar. Oh, if I must be damned, let it be

with the mass of the ungodly, having always been one of them; but to get

up to the very gates of heaven, and to perish there, will be a most awful

thing! To have lived with God’s people, to have been numbered with them,

to be joined to them by ties of blood, and then after all to perish, will be

horrible indeed! To have heard the gospel, to have felt the gospel, too, in a

measure, to have amended one’s life because of it, to have escaped from

the filthiest corruption of the world, and to have become moral, and

amiable, and excellent, and yet still not to have been weaned from the

world, not to have been clean divorced from sin, and so to perish, the

thought is intolerable. That same brine and brimstone which fell upon the

inhabitants of the four cities overtook Lot’s wife. She was on the margin of

the shower, and as it fell she was salted with fire, she was turned into a

pillar of salt where she stood. Dreadful doom! On the verge of mercy to be

slain by justice; on the brink of salvation to be the victim of eternal wrath!

This came upon her of a sudden, too. What a picture! She stops as she is

flying, she turns her head! She scarcely looks! The gaze is not long enough

to single out her own house-and, lo, she is turned into a pillar! The fire-salt

has fallen on her! She will never move again! She had not time to start or

turn, and, with her neck just as it was, she stands as a statue of salt, a

warning to all who should pass that way. I do not suppose Lot’s wife to be

standing there now, as some travelers have imagined: the pillar was nut

even there in Christ’s day, for if it had been, as Bengel very properly

remarks, our Lord would have said, “See Lot’s wife”; but as she was not

there he said,” Remember” her. Her doom came on a sudden, without a

further warning or a moment’s time to consider. What if sudden death

should strike some of you down at this moment? You professors who still

love the world, what if you now fell dead? You professed Christians who

sneak in among the ungodly to have a suck at their pleasures, suppose you

should be struck down in the theater one of these days! You that pretend

to be Christians and frequent the dancing saloon, suppose you

should fall dead there! It would not be a new thing under the sun, for God

deals severely with those who profess to come under his covenant; he has

jealous laws for those who join his church and yet have not the grace of

God in their hearts. These men die not the death of common men, but are

often overtaken by strange punishments, that the world may see that the

Lord hath set a wall of fire around his church, which none may break

through on peril of their lives. Ananias and Sapphira entered the church,

but they could not live there; a glance of Peter’s eye and they fell dead

before him. Such judgments still purge the ranks of the professing church,

as all that observe must know, for the, Lord will be sanctified of them that

come near to him. “For this cause, saith the apostle, “Some are sickly

among you, and many sleep,” because the discipline of God goes on in the

midst of his visible church. He lets the world alone till the fire-shower

comes, but to those that profess to be his people he is always a jealous

God. I speak strong things; strong things are wanted in these

compromising days. May the Holy Ghost impress these weighty facts on all

your hearts.

 

The worst point, perhaps, about the perishing of Lot’s wife lay in this, that

she perished in the very act of sin, and had no space for repentance given

her. In the instant she turned her head she was a pillar of salt, It is a

dreadful thing to die in the very act of sin, to be caught away by the justice

of God while the transgression is being perpetrated. Yet such a thing may

happen, and let those who profess to be Christians and yet parley with sin

remember Lot’s Wife,” and how swift God is to deal out his judgment

against professors who betray his holy name and cause.

 

I cannot help going back to the text I started with, which was one of my

own making, and that is, “Remember Lot.” Though Lot himself was a

righteous man and escaped from the doom of the wicked city, yet I cannot

help tracing the death of Lot’s wife in some degree to her husband. When a

man walks with God and imitates God he gets to beget character - that is

Abraham. When a man walks with a holy man and imitates him he may rise

to be a good character, but he will be a weak one - that is Lot. But when

one walks with Lot, the weak character, and only copies him, the result

will be a failure-that is Lot’s wife. It is like the boy’s copy book. If he will

copy the top line the boy makes an Abraham line; but if the next time he

does not look at the top line, but imitates the second-that makes a Lot line,

very far short of the first. If he next copies No. 3, the Lot line, the result

will be a poor affair-that is Lot’s wife. Beloved, we are to live having the

perfect Father for our example, looking and following in his steps, and if

we do so by the power of the Spirit we shall reach a grand, noble,

Abrahamic character. But suppose you get to imitate some good man, and

he is your standard, you will make a second-rate Christian, it will be a

weak affair, like Lot. And then if your wife and children get copying you,

oh, the mischief that must come of it! Lot ought to have been firmer, more

steadfast, more thorough. He had no business to have gone to Sodom. If

he had said to his wife, “No, my wife, we belong to a chosen people. God

called us out of Haran, and away from the gods of our fathers, that we

might live a separated life, and here I am going to stop, and you must stop

with me,” she would, have had to obey, or even if she had not done so, Lot

was not to do evil to please his wife. She could not have learned the ways

of Sodom-he might have given her heart still to the world, but she could

not have been so clearly mixed up with it, and her daughters could not

have been so ill-morale as they were if he had resolved to live apart from

the town’s people. I Believe that fathers and husbands ought to take the

lead in the management of their families, and parents are bound to arrange

their house-holds after a godly fashion. Do not say, oh, we cannot manage

our families.” You must do it. Eli failed in this, and, instead of being firm,

he timidly said, “Do not so, my sons.” Poor dear old Eli, he did not like to

get into trouble with his sons by finding fault with them. But what did his

softness cost him? The Lord smote his family because he had not ordered

his household aright. If Christian men leave their families to go anyhow

they choose, they will soon find the Lord has a controversy with them; and

if the children and if the wife should after all perish, it will be a horrible

thought for the head of the household, even if he be a saved man, that it

was his ill example which caused their ruin. It was partly Lot’s own doing

that his wife became what she was. If Lot had never gone to Sodom his

wife would not have perished near it. Look to yourselves lest ye lead

others astray. Keep near to God and you will be blessed and become a

blessing to others. Abraham did not have this trouble with Sarah, nor Isaac

with Rebekah, for they walked with God, and their influence was felt in

their, tents. Live near to God, and let your own life be according to the

command which God gave the patriarch-” Walk with me and be thou

perfect,” and you shall see that he will bless your household, and your

children after you; but if you do not thus walk before the Lord you will

have to “remember Lot’s wife.” May God add his blessing on these words.

for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

 

I also highly recommend putting in your browser:

 

 http://www.arkdiscovery.com

 

Go to the section dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah.  You will get quite

and education!  CY - 2018