Don’t Look Back by Randy Rowley 3/2/12 ©


On a warm November morning, I crept slowly to my ground blind on my deer lease near Georgetown.  I had spent a couple of hours in my tall tree stand, but nothing was moving, so I decided that I would try my box blind a few hundred yards away.

As I approached the blind, I came upon a small herd of deer in a clearing.  We saw each other at the same time.  A doe snorted, and then high-tailed it away, and the rest of the herd quickly followed her.  Most of them ran until they were out of sight.  But a spike only ran about 50 yards and then stopped, turned 90 degrees, and looked back.

That was his last mistake.  A Federal Premium 120 grain .25-06 pointed soft point boat tail bullet from my Remington Model 700 BDL to his neck dropped him where he stood.  Looking back cost him his life.

In Genesis 18:17 – 19:29, the Lord decided to investigate Sodom and Gomorrah because he had heard of their wickedness.  Two angels of the Lord arrived in Sodom and became the guests of Lot.  Before bedtime, the men of the city surrounded Lot’s home and demanded that he send out his guests so they could force them to have sex.  The angels responded by causing the men of the city to go blind, which prevented them from finding the door to Lot’s home.  The angels then told Lot to gather his family and flee the city because they would destroy it.

Lot hesitated, so the angels of the Lord grasped his and his family’s hands and brought them out to safety.  One of the angels then instructed Lot and his family to flee to the mountains and not look back.  Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur from out of the heavens on Sodom and Gomorrah.  But Lot’s unnamed wife looked back, and the Lord turned her into a pillar of salt.

The Bible doesn’t go into detail about what Lot’s wife was thinking.  Perhaps she was just curious about what was going to happen.  Maybe she had friends there and had a connection to the city.  All we know is she disobeyed God’s command not to look back, and by doing so, she received his judgment.

Jesus also warned us about the consequences of looking back.  The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus and the disciples were traveling from village to village.  Along the road, Jesus encountered three men who wanted to be his followers.  One man wanted to follow Jesus but asked him for permission to say goodbye to his family.  Luke 9:62 says, “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'”

Sometimes we Christians are guilty of looking back at our old lives and longing for them.  We often remember the times we sinned as ‘good times.’  But we also have to remember that in our natural state:

  • We were lost.  See Luke Chapter 15.
  • We were blind.  2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) says, “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing.  Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.  They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.  They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”
  • We were sick.  Mark 2:17 says, “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'”
  • We embraced the lust of the flesh and eyes and the boastful pride of life.  1 John 2:16 says, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
  • We were lovers of darkness.  Jesus said in John 3:19-20, “‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.'”
  • We were slaves to sin.  Romans 6:17 says, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.”
  • We were dead in our sins, deserving eternal condemnation.  Ephesians 2:1-2 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”  Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death.”  Death in this passage is spiritual separation from God for eternity.  However, Satan does not make us sin – he can only tempt us.  We have only ourselves to blame when we choose to sin.
  • We were aliens and foreigners to God.  Ephesians 2:19 says, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.”
  • We were separated from God.  Ephesians 2:12 says, “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.”

In our natural state, the most vital part of our being – the spirit – is dead to the most important person in life – God.  We rightly deserve God’s wrath.  We are not Satan’s ‘victims’ – we brought God’s judgment upon ourselves.  Without God’s grace, we’re spiritually helpless and hopeless.

Although Christians are now alive in Christ by his resurrection, we must never forget where we came from and what we were truly like before meeting Christ.  We must look at our pasts without our rose-colored glasses on.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  Just like Lot’s wife, sometimes we struggle with letting go of the past.  We know that the old has passed away and everything has become new, but we cling to the past because it’s familiar.  The Lord instructed us regarding that tendency in Isaiah 43:18, saying, “‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.'”  If we cling to what God wants us to abandon, we won’t be able to recognize his present blessings.

Our destiny is not in our pasts.  It is in our futures – we are destined for the throne.  In Revelation 3:21 (NLT), Jesus said to John through his angel, “‘Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.'”

Is looking back at our lives ever profitable?  Yes, if the purpose is to reflect on God’s mercies and blessings and spark flames of gratitude and humility instead of mourning what we gave up.

But reflecting on our pasts often results in us becoming melancholy and gloomy.  It can make us proud of and content with our accomplishments and turn us into recluses rather than joyful servants of the Lord.  Such emotions can result in our becoming complacent and self-satisfied.  God has a dim view of the proud.  Psalms 138:6 (NLT) says, “Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.”  Jesus concurred in Matthew 23:12 (NASB), saying, “‘Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.'”  Dwelling on our past successes also can result in us relaxing our present and future efforts for the Lord.

We Christians advance more rapidly towards holiness by looking forward than by looking backward.  Our futures are one to cheer about – Jesus welcoming us into heaven, rewards for our service, a new heaven and earth, and no more pain, suffering, or tears.

So, if you ever find yourself like that spike, Lot’s wife, and the man wanting to be Jesus’s follower – wanting to look back, remember that the ‘good ol’ days’ weren’t that good.  You also might find yourself like that spike and Lot’s wife when they looked back – wishing you hadn’t.

Categories : Devotionals

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