History helps us chart our direction for the future. Looking back has its place. But getting stuck in the past, does not.
Lot's wife was stuck in the past. Whatever the appeal of Sodom, she wasn't able to trust God or her husband to quickly escape the coming destruction, although she did have a choice.
Those who followed Moses into the wilderness, trusting that he was leading them to a better place, lost patience and started distorting reality, accusing Moses of self-aggrandizement, lording over everyone, and even deliberately causing them pain. Their lack of trust caused them to look back.
We don't know what happened to the disciple who wanted to bury his father, but it seems reasonable to believe that he didn't follow Yeshua. He instead went back home until his father died, which could have been many years. Was he afraid of leaving home? Was he afraid of being unpopular? Was he unwilling to grow spiritually? All these reasons may have motivated this student to drop out of Yeshua's training school.
What about us? Do we encounter times in which we need to make a choice to go forward or "look" back?
When two people decide to marry, they choose to believe in a good future. To look back at past relationships, other than for instruction, could lead to loss. If a new job is presented to us, do we prefer staying within the comfort zone of our present, perhaps not-so-wonderful position, or are we willing to press on and try something new?
A final thought: Compare the way Abram responded when God called him to leave his land (his business, his family, his entire life). He went to a land he knew nothing about.
The writer to the Hebrews says "he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10). Lot's wife, by contrast, looked back, unwilling to follow God. The focus of her attention should have been on the future, not the past.
Rabbi Baruch Rubin is president of Messianic Jewish Communications (www.messianicjewish.net) and Rabbi of Emmanuel Messianic Jewish Congregation (www.godwithus.org) both of Clarksville, Maryland.
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