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Will We Also Look Back? By Dr. Dave Madenberg




Will We Also Look Back?

 

Some time ago, Pastor preached how Abraham interceded for the city of Sodom because God intended to destroy it for all its wickedness.

Abraham initially asked God to spare Sodom - if God found 50 righteous people there.  And God agreed.  But then Abraham asked God to spare the city - if He found 45 righteous people, then 40 - all the way down to 10 righteous people.

God agreed to that request as well.  But God couldn't find even 10 righteous people living in Sodom, so He could spare it from complete destruction.


Then pastor brought up an interesting point:

If God had already agreed to spare Sodom if He found 50 righteous people in Sodom, why did Abraham talk God down to sparing the city if He found 10 righteous people there?  Didn't God agree to spare Sodom if He found 50 righteous residents?

Did Abraham change his request because he knew how wicked were the residents of Sodom?   That, God wouldn't be able to find 50 righteous people?

 

Most of us have read Gen. chapters 18 &19 regarding the destruction of Sodom.  We know before God sent destruction, His desire was to spare Lot and his family.  WHY? 

God saw Lot's righteousness.  God looked down and saw what a clean and moral life Lot lived.  Lot was probably ridiculed and even persecuted by his friends, his neighbors, and some family members because  of his dedication to God.  


Lot was not like them.  He didn't participate in Sodom's wicked lifestyle:  Widespread partying and barhopping, smoking and drinking, lying, stealing, cheating, committing adultery with his neighbor's wife.   Lot, “... did not walk in the counsel of the ungodly..." Ps 1:1   

'Come on, Lot, lighten up!  Everyone's doing it!'

No.  Lot would not lighten up.  He didn't care that 'everyone was doing it.'  Lot was a man who loved God and walked in righteousness and the counsel of God. 

Jesus tells us in Matt 5:6,   "Blessed is the man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness." 

And Matt 5:10,   "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God." 

 

Lot didn’t conform to the world in which he lived.  He didn’t live the way the world  of his day expected  him to live.  Lot rejected worldly values, fully dedicating himself to God and to God's values.

Rom 12:2 tells us, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind ..."    How?   

By putting on the mind of Christ ... so that we see things the way Jesus sees them and think the way Jesus thinks.  Not how the 'world' sees and thinks.

 

Genesis tells of two angels sent by God to observe all the iniquity in Sodom, and then destroy Sodom and its inhabitants.  They spoke this to Lot in Gen. 19:12-13,

"Then the men (the two angels) said to Lot, 'Have you anyone else here?  Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in this city -- take them out of this place!"  "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it." 

Then in verse 14:  "So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, 'Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!'  But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking." 

 

Comment:  The sons-in-law may have said to Lot:  "Oh, come on dad!  God would never destroy such a great city as Sodom.  You're imagining things.  God is love.  He wouldn't do such a thing!" 

Just like many today declare:  'God would never destroy America!  It's too great and too powerful.  God still needs America to share the gospel with the world!' 

But, rather than sharing the gospel with the world, America is sharing its  'filth,'  in the way of sadistic and even demonic Hollywood movies, pornography, drugs, and child trafficking.

 

Then in Gen 19:15,  "When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying,  'Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.' "

 

Comment:  Where were the sons-in-law who thought Lot was 'joking'?   They chose to remain in Sodom with their wives  (Lot's two other daughters).  The bible doesn't really mention how many daughters Lot had.  So, I did some research.

According to rabbinical scholars, Lot had four daughters.  Two were married, and two engaged to be married. The two married daughters and their husbands, along with the two future bridegrooms, remained in Sodom and perished, leaving Lot with his two engaged daughters and his wife, to escape destruction.

 

Then in Gen 19: 16-17, “And when he (Lot) lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him (Lot), and they brought him out and set him outside the city."

"So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he (one of the angels)  said,  'Escape for your life!   Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain.  Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.' "

 

Comment:   A mountain in scripture represents 'high-ground,’ both physical and spiritual.  Even though God intended to save Lot and his family, they still had to do their part and move to 'higher ground'  lest, they also be destroyed.  But, Lot was already ‘planted spiritually'  on higher ground.  

 

And God expects all believers to move up His Holy Mountain to greater heights of faith ... as we walk our Christian walk.

 

Verses 24-26:  "Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens.  So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.  BUT HIS (Lot's) WIFE LOOKED BACK ... AND SHE BECAME A PILLAR OF SALT."

 

Comment:  I often wondered why she became a ‘pillar of salt’ rather than some other element, like a pillar of clay, or sand, or even mud.    Why salt?

So, again, I dug and found in scripture, “a land covered in salt  is considered  'desolate,'  a place where 'nothing grows' ... much like the area around the Dead Sea in Israel. There is no life.  Nothing grows.  Salt and sand appear everywhere.

 

Q:  'Was Lot's wife so ‘spiritually desolate’, so covered  in the 'salt of the world,'  that nothing  spiritual  took root in her?

Q:   'Why did she look back, even though the angel told her not to do so?'

 

The bible teaches Lot was extremely wealthy.  Lot's wife may have looked back at her beautiful home with manicured lawn; recounting all the great parties she hosted and planned to host; the new chariot  Lot just purchased for her; all her  friends,  her daughters and their husbands - all about to be destroyed.

 

Regardless of her reason, Lot's wife 'disobeyed' and looked back to witness the destruction of all she loved  in that sinful city - while she, Lot and their two daughters were about to be 'saved'  from death and destruction, through God's mercy

 

--Some teach what Lot's wife did is an example  of what happens to people when they choose to live  'a worldly life'  over  'a life honoring God.'    

--Lot's wife looked back at the lifestyle in Sodom she held dear -- but which God hated -- and was about to utterly destroy.

The bible teaches us in Prov 14:12 , "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."

Right now, if God were to send angels to warn  Christians living in America they must flee due to imminent destruction:

1. How many, like Lot's wife, would look back at what they would be losing? 

2. How many pastors and pew sitters would think the warning was ‘just a joke' like Lot's sons-in-law and refuse to leave?   How many Christians would say:  'Oh come on, God would never destroy America!'   'America isn't Sodom!' 

 

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because He hates sin.  Regardless of what door sin may lie, God still hates sin.   America, beware!

 

Why do so many Christians think God won't again destroy a city, or even a nation, because of its wickedness?  Has God changed His way of thinking

Heb 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  He does not change.

And Eccl 1:9 says:  "What has been again, what has been done shall be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun."

 

Many Jews living in Nazi Germany were warned of what was coming.  But, they 'looked back’ at what they would leave behind: their homes, businesses, their financial security, their friends and family - and chose not to leave.

And we know the consequences they suffered for not leaving when they had the opportunity.

 

-- How many Christians today would refuse to leave if warned by an Angel of the Lord -- because they, too, would look back on their comfortable lifestyle, possessions, unsaved friends and family members they would leave behind?

 

-- And if we're honest with ourselves, if we're confronted with a similar situation:  

"What would we do?"  "Would we also look back at what we're about to lose and what it would cost us?"

 

Life has always been that some have more 'possessions' than others.   But, until recently, with skyrocketing costs of goods and services, rent, fuel, utilities - most Americans didn't have to beg for bread.   And what's happening in America now?  

Could this be the start of God's judgment on this nation?

 

-- And although God promises to provide ‘all those who are His'  with the necessities of life, He never promised we would continue living the lifestyle we now enjoy in this country.

 

-- In fact, there may come a day when we're forced to live without electricity, or heat, or clean water from a tap.  We may be forced to live like pioneers.

-- But, God promises to sustain us as He did the Israelites coming out of Egypt.

 

And, if it does come to a point  it becomes necessary to live like pioneers, in a cabin with a dirt floor, or in a tent, how many Christians  would  'look back,'  like Lot's wife, yearning and pining for the luxuries and conveniences they lost? 

 

Q:  How many Christians would even raise their fist at heaven, shouting at God:

- Why did you allow this?

- Why did you allow our comforts to be taken away from us? 

 

- Why did You allow it so we can no longer purchase food without a digital chip

  embedded in our palm or forehead?

 

- Why did you save us from destruction, when we now must constantly hide

  from the authorities bent on killing us for our faith.

 

 

Q:  How many Christians, even now, turn a blind eye at the wickedness in this country; how wicked  America has become to the point God must punish? 

Q:  How many Christians would agree with what Billy Graham said, 'That if God doesn't punish the United States for all its wickedness, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah?"   Or, despite the godlessness in this once great nation, they would rather ‘go back’ to the comfort America offers rather than be saved?

 

Q:  And rather than shake a fist at heaven because of the drastic lifestyle changes, how many would instead, ‘lift holy hands’, and thank God for leading them to safety in Goshen, even though Goshen may not provide modern conveniences? 

 

Q:  How many Christians would murmur and complain about difficulties brought about by a lack of comforts such as a gas stove, microwave, or refrigerator?  How many would harden their hearts toward God and rebel like the Israelites?

 

Q:  How many Christians will cower to the authorities, denounce the Lord, and take 'the mark’ to buy and sell, so they could again live comfortably? 

 

Q:  And like the Israelites of old, how many Christians today would criticize God, and choose to exchange their freedom in Goshen ... for the flesh pots?  

Exo 16:3 says, “And the children of Israel said to them (Aaron and Moses), Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt , when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!  For you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

How did they so quickly forget they were slaves in Egypt and required to perform hard labor?  And praying for 400 years God would deliver them from bondage.  Was it because they 'looked back?'

 

Q:  Will some Christians 'look back' and sell their soul and birthright for a ration of bread and a cup of water?

Didn't God promise to feed and clothe those 'who love Him' and ‘are obedient' to His word?  Didn't God promise to provide for our needs?  Isn't He still Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides?

2Cor 9:8  says (New Living Translation):  "And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others."

 

After all  the Lord did for the Israelites in the wilderness,  after all  the miracles He performed, the Israelites still managed to complain ... through a heart of unbelief.   In fact, they complained 14 different times during their wilderness journey.  And God considered them to be in rebellion against Him.  (Heb 3:7-11)

 

Even after the Israelites witnessed God part the Red Sea for them to cross;  after extolling God with prayers of thanksgiving, it says in Exodus chapters 15 and 16

 

1)  " ... then they went out into the wilderness of Shur.  And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water ... And the people complained against Moses saying,  'What shall we drink?'   

They discovered the water was bitter and unfit to drink.  So, God showed Moses a tree that Moses cast into the water, and the water was made sweet.  (Miracle #1)

 

2)  Then, the Israelites came to the Wilderness of Sin, one and one-half months  (45 days)  after departing Egypt  (Ex 16:1).  They complained to Moses and Aaron they had nothing to eat.  "And the children of Israel said to them, 'Oh, that we had died in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!  For you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.' " (Ex 16:3)

 

God heard their complaint ... and spoke to Moses, saying in Ex 16:12,  "I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel.  Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread (manna).  And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.' "   (Miracle #2)

 

 

3)  Then the Israelites went from the Wilderness of Sin and camped in Reph' i dim;

Ex 17:1-2 says:  "... but there was no water for the people to drink."  "Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, 'Give us water, that we may drink.' So Moses said to them, 'Why do you contend with me?  Why do you tempt the Lord?'  And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses and said,  'Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?'

And in verses 5-6:  "And the Lord said to Moses ... 'Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb;  and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.' "  (Miracle #3)

 

 Q:  Did God overlook a lack of water in the wilderness, or was He testing the faith of the Israelites?  Testing their trust in Him to provide for their needs?

 

The Israelites tempted God by saying:  "Yes, we saw You do the miraculous by sending all those the plagues onto Egypt, and by parting the sea so we could walk on dry land.  But, do You also have the ability to provide us with water to drink and bread to eat in the wilderness?"

So, God supplied their lack of water and bread by performing three miracles.  But, the Israelites  failed  all three tests of  faith  because of their doubt, unbelief and lack of trust in God to sustain them.  They truly were a rebellious and stiff necked people.

 

But, now, let's fast forward to our generation and to us: 

(Ex)  A man complains to God he lacks a good paying job to earn enough money to support his family.  God provides him with the perfect  job, and with the perfect salary to supply his family's needs.

Then, a while later, a trial comes where the man becomes ill and unable to work.  He cries out to God:

 "You provided me with the perfect job and a salary beyond what I could ever imagine or hope for." "But, do You have the ability to heal me of this illness?"  

If we're honest with ourselves, we've all demonstrated doubt and unbelief, at one time or another.  Even after God may have performed the miraculous in our lives.

-- And, how our doubt and unbelief must grieve God's heart.

 

-- We read in scripture examples of how God is more than able to provide, and worthy of our trust!   But, do we truly believe it?   Or, are we just giving God lip service that we believe?

 

-- We criticize and shake the finger at the Israelites for their doubt and unbelief, even after experiencing all God's miracles.

 

-- We criticize and shake the finger at Elijah, because soon after God used him to call fire down from heaven to destroy the altars of Ba'al, Elijah ran into a cave in fear of Jezebel.

-- But, when we look in the mirror, do we also criticize and shake the finger at our own doubt and unbelief?  At our own lack of trust that God will answer us?

 

I've asked myself this question, and now I ask the congregation:

Q:   "Who are we living for in this life?"  

       "Are we living for self, or are we living to honor God?" 

       "Does self-will triumph over God's will?"  

       "Have we truly placed all our doubt, fear and unbelief at the foot of the cross?  

In Isa 29:13,  the Lord says:   “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

 

Should the time come  we're taken captive by the enemy and threatened with death unless we renounce the Lord, will we deny Him, or be willing to give up our life for Him as He gave His life for us?

Do we fear the death of our flesh  more  than we fear God? 

Like Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, are we willing to be thrown into a fiery furnace for God, or will we bow to the demands of the enemy ... because we 'looked back’ at the comforts and flesh pots America offers us?

 

We know from scripture, God often uses wicked leaders and nations to chasten His people.  We read of how the Israelites were dealt with in this fashion because of their disobedience against God.

 

So, what’s occurring in America today ... the rise of the LGBTQ agenda, child-trafficking, laws and values being changed to where  'good is now considered evil' and  'evil good' ... is this part of God's judgment? 

Is God allowing all this wickedness in order to wake up His church and expose those who are either with Him, or against Him?

Some American prophets  have  prophecied  God would eventually put an end to this madness and return the country to normalcy, and punish the wicked who are responsible for all this evil.

 

But what if God decides not to intervene?  What if God allows this wickedness to continue and reach its ultimate conclusion?

How many of God's people will look back and cry  for the 'good old days'  they once enjoyed in America?   How many would rebel against the Lord  just as the Israelites did against Moses:  (My added words) - Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of America,  when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full at our favorite restaurants!

Brothers and sisters, whatever the Lord has for us during the dark days to come, we have to resolve in our heart God is well able to provide for us, as He promises in His word. 

As Paul tells us in Eph 3:20, “Our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.”

 

Do we believe in Him?  Do we trust Him and His promises to us? 

 

Then, let’s resolve in our heart to incinerate the 'enemies' fruits of doubt and unbelief'  in our furnace of faith.  

 

And regardless of what happens, whatever hardships may lie ahead for us, let's resolve NOT  to look back. Earthly comforts are temporary, but the comforts heaven offers ... are eternal.

 

AMEN.

 

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