Faith

Pillar of salt or Salt of the Earth?

Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah.  He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation.  But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. ~ Genesis 19:23-26, NLT

Lately, I’ve been feeling like a pillar of salt with the full knowledge that I’ve been called to be the salt of the earth. How does one go from stuck, paralyzed and basically dumb to becoming the flavor that heightens the awareness of all who come in contact with them?

I don’t know the answer off the top of my head, so I’m going to write it out…

I’ve been reading up on Lot’s wife. In Genesis 19, two angels of the Lord came to Lot’s house to remove Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah before the wrath of God fell on the cities. Their terse instruction to the whole family was “Don’t look back… or you will be destroyed!” Shortly following that prophetic statement, we read what happened to Lot’s wife when she chose to look back: She was turned into a pillar of salt.

That seems a bit extreme for exhibiting curiosity. At least, I always assumed it was only curiosity that had her looking back to the home she and her family were fleeing from. However, in my studies of this story, I learned that the Hebrew for look back in this verse is more “lagging behind with longing” than a casual glance over one’s shoulder. Lot’s wife wasn’t in a hurry to leave despite imminent destruction. Even as she fled with her family intact, she was already missing what she was being delivered from. Her husband and two daughters, however, were correctly running for their lives. When Lot’s wife looked back, she gave more thought and honor to the degradation that God had condemned than to the family ahead of her that God honored with preservation.

That’s a deep thought.

It led me to think of the thoughts, people and environments that God has brought me away from. How many times have I looked with longing at something that was no good for me? How many times have I asked God for something He had already removed from my path?

Honestly, too many times to count or remember.

From my own nature I can provide a reason for my habit of looking back that may also explain Lot’s wife’s paralyzing error: No matter how bad something, someone or someplace are for me, I apply a sense of comfort to what I know.

The unknown future always appears to be the greater evil and for that reason we easily fall back into our known past. Human nature prefers comfort over challenge. Only the courageous will forge ahead into the unknown with only a word (faith) that what they are racing towards will bring untold blessings.

God chooses not to use us when we turn back. His desire is for us to choose to move forward with Him in life. As we journey with Him into a future only He knows the details of, we flavor the lives of the people He chooses to cross our paths with. It’s an amazing thing to think of myself/yourself/ourselves as salt being sprinkled from a shaker in God’s hand. Salt that He alone chooses the dishes for which to flavor.

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.  ~ Matthew 5:13-16, NLT

SONG: In the Hands of God by Newsboys

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