It is a terrible feeling to be caught unprepared. My oldest daughter, Anna, had one of those experiences during her college years. She overslept and woke up only five minutes before her exam was supposed to start. She raced out of her dorm in her pajamas, “borrowed” a bike off the bike rack, sped across campus and slipped into her chair as the professor was distributing the exam. It was not her finest moment—but it really wasn’t that serious and has been the source of much laughter in the years since.
Sometimes the stakes are much higher. Jesus told his disciples that he would be returning and he wanted them to be prepared (Luke 17:20-37). Jesus’ return would be unmistakable—like a lightning bolt illuminating the sky. And it would signal universal judgment. But many would not be ready. Jesus framed his warning by way of comparison.
- His return would be like the situation in the days of Noah. One minute the people were pursuing the pleasures of life; and the next minute they were destroyed in a global flood.
- His return would be like the situation during the days of Lot. The residents of the wicked city of Sodom were living blissfully in their sin when suddenly God destroyed the city with fire.
It was here that Jesus issued a concise and cryptic warning—”Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32). She was warned about the destruction of Sodom. She was told to leave immediately and not look back. But she cast a wistful glance back to that wicked city and was turned into a pillar of salt. When God appeared in judgment, Lot’s wife was unprepared.
She had no excuses. She had a godly husband. She was acquainted with God’s promises. Her uncle by marriage was Abraham the patriarch. She had witnessed God’s protection and provision on numerous occasions. She had been clearly warned and guided out of the city by the angels. But she had allowed her heart and loyalties to become entangled in the culture. She was unprepared. Her sin might seem a small thing. She was not a murderer, a thief or an idol-worshiper. But that small act of looking back revealed the true orientation of her heart. And it provides a sobering reminder for us.
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