Luke speaks of Lot’s wife, who could not resist the attractions of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:26). The command in Luke 17:32 is to “remember,” or “bear in mind,” this Old Testament story.
Paul describes the reason these Old Testament stories were recorded: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11).
The angels warned Lot, who then attempted to save others, but no one believed him; they refused to leave the place of their pleasure and perversion until it was too late. The angels also warned Lot and his family not to look back at the city (Gen 19:17), “but Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (19:26).
What was so bad about Lot’s wife looking back at Sodom? Perhaps she did not take seriously the command not to look back: too many fail to take the commands of the New Testament seriously because they believe there will be no consequences.
Perhaps she was missing something in the city and clinging to the past, unwilling to completely abandon the evil of the city and the comforts of her possessions. In any case, it is apparent that she was more anxious about the things she was losing than the blessing she was gaining by being saved. She surely was “setting her affections on things below, instead of on things above” (Col 3:1).
However innocent it may seem, it was a disobedient look. Anyone who refuses to admit his sin and indulges in prohibited things only defiles his own heart. Though Eve’s eating of the prohibited fruit might be thought of as a slight offense, it corrupted the whole world. Should this not warn us to take His commands seriously?
Luke 17:33 summarizes the main command Lot’s wife violated: “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Compromising by being disobedient is an effort to save a part of your old life that you decide is more important to you than being obedient to even “insignificant” commands.
“Lord Jesus, when I do not focus my mind on You and my life with You forever, I sometimes want to look back. How foolish! Forgive me even for the thought. Nothing compares with what I have in You. Thank You, Lord.