In the book of Genesis, chapter 19, we see the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was destroyed because of the sins of its people. We see that the angel of the LORD came to the city after revealing the details to Abraham in chapter 18. When the angel of the LORD met Lot and his family, they were asked to leave the city. The angel also said that they can not do anything unless they leave. Also, Lot and his family were commanded ‘not to look back and not to stay in the valley’ while the city is being destroyed. Unfortunately, Lot’s wife turned back, and she became a ‘pillar of salt’ the bible says.
What does this mean? Why did she become like a pillar of salt? Did she die?
What does Sodom and Gomorrah signify?
Genesis 19:17-22, And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the Plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my lord: behold now, thy servant hath found favor in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy lovingkindness, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest evil overtake me, and I die: behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one. Oh, let me escape thither (is it not a little one?), and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore, the name of the city was called Zoar.
As you read from the passage above, the angel said, seek higher ground, a mountain, as the valley is being destroyed. Lot said, I cannot outrun the destruction to reach the mountain, so let me run to the small village as he was looking at his own strength even though when the angel said, “I cannot do anything unless you reach the place.”
Sodom and Gomorrah are real cities that were destroyed. It’s not a parable or a metaphor. But what can we learn from that story?
Sodom represents sin or past: Our own sinful life, or our own past. The LORD’s appointed one appears to us as well - in our case we know his name, Lord Jesus, the Son of the Holy God: God/the Father, who is the source of the Light, glory to His name forever and ever – and asks us to leave the city of sin or past and to climb the mountain of righteousness, just like how Moses climbed Mount Horeb to see God, as he cannot destroy our sinful past unless we climb the mountain. I believe many of us are like Lot, “Lord, I can not run to the mountain, let me run to the small village of sin or hold to a little bit of the former things. Is it not a little one?” Though it’s not the right choice and we make that choice unknowingly, the Lord allow it for some reason. When such command was given, no matter where we have decided to run, we must not look back, or else we will be frozen to the past.
The former must be destroyed completely for something new to build. What has happened has happened. The old house must be torn down before a new house is built. Of course, we are to be grateful for the works the LORD has done for us in the former life, like protection, health, etc. but not to cling on to the material things that this world offers, like previous house, old job, things that were in the house house, lost relationships, etc. Just how rotten and damaged things from the old house won’t be used while building a new house, these must go for new to come. But when we cling to it, even to one brick or plank from the old, and could not let go, we are frozen, like Lot’s wife, and unable to proceed further to inherit the blessings of LORD God Almighty which we are to receive through His Son, Lord Jesus. God created heavens and the earth, He does not want us to hold on to the old brick or a plank for a new house. Why would you want part of your house with old material when the new material can live long and can make new ‘amazing’ memories?
John 12:25, He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
Eternal life is not just in the future. It begins when the angel of the LORD appears, just like how Lot was redeemed from the sinful city. So, when Lord Jesus starts to speak, listen to him for he comes in his Father’s name to offer eternal life, to leave Sodom and not look back but to climb the mountain of holiness by looking forward with songs and praises to God, Almighty. Unless we start our climb, there is no way our past can be completely destroyed as the village called Zoar (small sin) will always exist in our lives and we wouldn't know its existence.