Obedience. Now there is a word that we all *think* we can handle, but a lot of times, that word “obedience” or “obey” makes us really think hard….if I obey, will I loose all autonomy? Surely I don’t have to obey the speed limit if I am late for work, right? If my family were in the midst of a natural disaster, surely God would forgive me if I stole something to help me survive, right? Obedience is a very strong word, and I am hopeful in this study that we can all learn that when God asks us to obey him, that we should just do it.
This week’s bible study starts with the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Just this morning, I had someone mention to me that she thought the U.S. today was becoming a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. I can see where she is coming from. We are moving so far away from God in our society. There are so many things that God made sacred that as a people, we are just flat out ignoring and turning our back from, just like the people from Sodom and Gomorrah. Turn in your Bible to Genesis 19.
In this chapter, Lot is visited by two angels who stay at his house. The men in the town realize that there is someone new in town and want Lot to let them have relations with his male guests. Lot pleads with the men in town to leave the guests alone, even offers his virgin daughters to them instead, but the men of Sodom are in a wild frenzy to get inside to his visitors. The angels pull Lot inside and blind the men outdoors so they cannot find their way in. The angels warn Lot that he, his wife, and his daughters MUST get out of town fast. They have been sent to destroy the city. The next morning, Lot is told by the angels “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.’ (Gen. 19:15) And they were serious….so serious that the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Gen. 19:16-17)
Okay, here is where the obedience comes in. What is it that the Lord’s servants told Lot’s family…. FLEE…DON’T LOOK BACK… DON’T STOP ANYWHERE… Have you ever heard the Lord speak to you? There have been times in my life when I stopped in my TRACKS where I was when I heard the Lord’s voice. I stopped immediately. Here are these very explicit instructions. Pretty simple and easy to follow, wouldn’t you say. FLEE … that word means run away as fast as you can…Just like Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife wanted him to lie with her. He RAN so fast that he left his cloak behind. DON’T LOOK BACK…. Pretty self explanatory…. Don’t turn around AT ALL. DON’T STOP ANYWHERE. That one is pretty strict. Keep going…and going and going…don’t stop ANYWHERE. Yes, that means ANYWHERE. These angels had told Lot that they had been sent by the Lord to destroy the cities. So Lot and his family know what is going to happen. So the angels drag them away from the city and tell them to keep on running. Don’t be a rubber-necker, staring at the accident as you go by… RUN!….Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Gen. 19:24-26)
NOOOOOOOOO!!! Don’t look back!!! Argh, she did anyway! Why didn’t she obey? Why didn’t she listen? Gosh, those are things I think about my kids all the time. It’s called our sin nature. Can you imagine what Lot’s wife might have been thinking while running away? “Just one peek. What could it hurt?” or maybe “Surely he didn’t mean to NOT look back at all” or how about this one “But…but … but… my home! My things! My life is all back there! And it is all GONE!”
Do you do these things, dear one? God gives us instructions through out the Bible. I am in a Hot Topics study at church right now about Fireproofing your marriage. Have you seen that movie or read the book? Awesome! But think about it… did Caleb think that porn could hurt his marriage? What was more important to him, his marriage or that boat he wanted to save all his money for? And Catherine wasn’t immune either…instead of communicating her needs to Caleb and having them fulfilled by him, she was ready to take the next step with another man. My Sunday school teacher said it best, “We feel like we have 80% of what fulfills us in our spouse at times, and we look elsewhere for the other 20%….and what happens? We leave the 80% for the 20%.” It’s so true! Ladies, we need to open our ears and listen to what our Lord has to say! Women, we are instructed to respect our husbands and submit to them. Sure sometimes they don’t deserve it, but what does God say? Just do it! Your husband has been told by God to love you like Christ loves the church…are you always loveable? Probably not, but God has told him to love you anyway. Do we always listen? Nope. If you were tempted by another man, could you flee or would you want to look back to get another glance? Both Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18 tell us very clearly “You shall not commit adultery”. When that 20% of a man comes your way, listen to God. Flee. Remember, he’s only 20% ladies. Only 20%. Your man is your 80%….God is your 100%.
We’re like children who love to touch that burner even though we are told not to. We like to run in the street when we’re told to STOP! Both of my kids favorite thing to tell me is “Nothing happened to me” when I tell them not to do something and they do it anyway. We take our free will as far as we can possibly go, trying not to get burned. God wants us to listen to him and just do what he tells us. Don’t be like Lot’s wife. If God tells you to flee, run as fast as you can. If God tells you to not turn around, don’t do it. What we don’t realize is that God has something much better in store for us if we only obey him.
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