Read His Words Before Ours!
As a mom with seven kids at home, I experience parenting at multiple stages all at once. Sweet baby coos and long nights alongside teenage mood swings coupled with conversation opportunities about real life stuff with older kids. I have kids coloring on the walls and kids making social decisions about popular iPhone apps and relationship challenges. I get requests for coloring books and dump trucks and jeans with ragged holes in them to look cool. The farther we go into this parenting thing, the easier it is to look back to those early years when the house was quiet and the biggest parenting challenge we had was when to send someone to “time out” or how to get sharpie off the TV screen (which can be undone by coloring over it with a dry erase marker, in case you wanted to know :-)). As fun as it is to “remember when”, there’s danger there too. Either we can romanticize the past and wish for it all over again, or we begin to drown in its sorrows and become perpetually stuck in its cycle. God wants neither for us!
Abraham’s nephew, Lot, had chosen to live in the city of Sodom with his family and when God prepared to destroy it because of its wickedness, God allowed a way for Lot and his family to be saved from impending doom. He sent angels to Lot and gave explicitly urgent instructions to run from the city and not look back.
Despite the fact that angels from God had come to warn him, Lot hesitated (Genesis 19:16). Maybe he wasn’t sure he could trust God, perhaps he liked his house and his position in the city, maybe he didn’t know if it would be worth leaving, but whatever his reasons, for a few moments, Lot just wasn’t sure whether he wanted to leave or not regardless of the impending destruction.
God, however, was intent on saving him, so the angels grabbed his wrists and literally pulled him away, warning him, his wife, and two daughters to run for their lives and not look back.
God wanted more for them.
He didn’t want their eyes to glaze over with a skewed perception of the past.
He wanted Lot to know that following Him, no matter how hard, or how alluring our own plans may be, would always be worth it.
But Lot’s wife couldn’t resist. She turned around to look back and she paid the ultimate price. Death.
Fast-forward a few hundred years to the Hebrews who would become the nation of Israel. They were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years.
Forced into grueling slave labor because of a pharaoh’s fear that the Hebrews would overtake the Egyptians.
Generations had been born and died in the mud and blood of slavery.
Zero freedom, poverty living in the shadow of wealth, even their children were murdered by Egyptian masters.
But God heard their desperate cries and He brought them out. He led them from captivity, gave them their masters’ wealth, destroyed their masters’ land, and brought death to Pharaoh’s entire army on their behalf.
He called them His own.
He made them a nation.
He set His love on them, not for who they were, or what they had done, but because He simply loved them.
Then, He told them to never go back. (Deut 17:16)
God wanted them taken out of captivity’s grasp of slavery and death and He didn’t want them to go back because He had So Much More for them.
Even so, multiple times on different occasions, the Israelites cried out to God.
Why did You bring us here? To kill us in the desert? We wish we could go back! We had fish and vegetables every day!
God wanted more for them than they could see.
As fervently as the Israelites had pleaded with God for freedom from slavery, God pleads with us in the voice of Paul in Colossians 3.
Don’t Go Back!
Why would you live like a slave now that you’re free?
Why would you put on your grave clothes when you’ve been made re-made?
Those lusts of your heart, those lies you would say, the idols you would worship, why go back when I have so much more for you?
God told Lot’s family not to look back.
He commanded the Israelites to never set foot in Egypt again.
He urges us in the same way with the choices we make, the heart attitudes we have, and the way we live each day.
Don’t Go Back.
You are no longer a slave to sin…. You are free!
You have been remade!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!