Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in America. He is also the featured speaker for Harvest Crusades, large-scale evangelistic outreaches that have been attended by more than 4 million people around the world since 1990. Greg is heard internationally on the daily radio broadcast, "A New Beginning." To learn more about Greg Laurie go to www.greglaurie.com.More ↓Less ↑
One of God’s most amazing gifts to us is our memory. We have the amazing ability to store millions of bits of information, keep them in order and recall them when needed. Scientists tell us that we actually never forget anything; it is actually stored in the databanks of our memories. According to Think Magazine, the brain can store enough data to fill several million books.
It is amazing how we can retain information with such vivid detail. Memory moves faster than the speed of light. Through memory, I can be instantly transported to my past, even my distant past. It might be a song on the radio that triggers a memory. It might be a photograph. It might be a smell of a certain thing. To this day, when I smell Coppertone lotion, I am immediately transported back to the 1950s. It is almost as though I am reliving those moments again.
As the years begin to pass, you will find that memories begin to accumulate. I suppose one of the signs that you are really getting older is when you begin most of your statements with, “Remember the time …?” This is a great source of comfort to those who are older, but a source of torment for those who are young.
What is also interesting is that certain memories can remain so vivid and clear, while others can become quite fuzzy and distant. For example, I will see someone whom I have known for several years, and I will blank out on his name. But I have always found that the subconscious starts working on it. I will go on to something else, and an hour later, I will suddenly remember that person’s name. Unfortunately, he is usually long gone by that point.
There are other things that we want to remember that we will forget. Why is it that I never blank out on worthless information that I don’t even remember memorizing? Why do I know the lyrics to hundreds of idiotic songs? I don’t remember ever sitting down and memorizing the words to the theme song of “The Flintstones,” but I know it. Why do we remember things like that? It seems as though we often remember what we ought to forget, and we forget what we ought to remember. It is possible to know something but to forget it.
In one of the shortest recorded statements of Jesus in Scripture, he told us there was someone we should remember. And though short, it is powerful and filled with a wealth of truth. He said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32 NKJV).
It is worth noting that in the passage where this statement is found, Jesus is comparing the moral and spiritual climate in the days of Noah and Lot to the times that will immediately precede His return to the earth: “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. … Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot. … Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (verses 26, 28, 30).
In the Old Testament book of Genesis where both the accounts of Noah and Lot are found, one of the unique characteristics of Noah’s time was excessive violence. The Bible says, “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (Genesis 6:5 NLT). And Lot’s day was characterized by people who were not only sexually perverse, but they flaunted – and even pushed – their lifestyle on others.
Clearly there is a parallel between the days of Lot and Noah and the days in which we are living. Jesus said this is how it would be when the Son of Man comes. Here is an interesting thing to note: Jesus essentially said they carried on business as usual. In spite of the fact that Noah warned the people of his day that a flood was coming, in spite of the fact that Lot, in his feeble way, sought to impact the people around him, society ignored the warnings of these men of God and continued on with their lives. Not only will sexual perversion and sexual violence characterize the last days, but complacency also will be prominent. People will just keep living the way they want to live.
So Jesus encapsulated it all with the powerful statement, “Remember Lot’s wife.” The problem with Lot was that he wanted to live in two worlds. He wanted friendship with God, but he also wanted friendship with the world. It was hard for Lot to take a stand. There are a lot of people like Lot today. They know what is right. They want to know God. But there is a weakness in their faith and character.
Before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible says that an angel of the Lord specifically told them, “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 NLT). Out Lot went with his daughters. But Lot’s wife turned around and looked back, despite God’s warning, and the Bible says that she became a pillar of salt.
So why did Jesus say, “Remember Lot’s wife”? What lessons are we to learn from this woman?
She enjoyed incredible spiritual privilege, yet none of it seemed to have any spiritual impact on her. She knew better and didn’t respond.
She looked back. This wasn’t just a glance over the shoulder. She looked back with longing. Most people fall away from God by first looking back. The first step to going back is looking back. We have to keep moving forward.
Her look back was a direct act of disobedience. If God says something is wrong, then it is wrong, even if we don’t personally agree with it. Who are we to say something is OK if God says it is sin?
We need to remember Lot’s wife. She was around godly men and women. And instead of treasuring that, she allowed her heart to grow hard like stone.
As we begin a new year, don’t waste any more precious time by playing games. Get serious. Walk with God and experience the wonderful things He has in store for you.