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


On a warm November morning, I headed 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’d move to my box blind a few hundred yards away.

As I approached the blind, I came upon a small herd of deer in a clearing about 50 yards away.  We saw each other at the same time.  A doe snorted and 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 pointed soft point boat tail .25-06 bullet from my Remington Model 700 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 city’s men surrounded Lot’s home and demanded that he send out his guests so they could force them to have sex with them.  The angels responded by causing the city’s men 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 soon 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 on what Lot’s wife was thinking.  Perhaps she was just curious. Maybe she had friends there and had a connection to the city.  All we know is she disobeyed the Lord’s command not to look back, and she then 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 people who wanted to be his followers.  One man wanted to follow Jesus but asked him for permission to say goodbye to his family.  Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9:62b.)

Sometimes we Christians are guilty of looking back at our old lives and longing for them.  We remember what we perceive as “good times.”  But we also have to remember that in our natural state:

  • We were blind. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image 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 were rules by the price of power of the air. 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.”  However, Satan does not make us sin – we have only ourselves to blame when we choose to sin.
  • We embraced the lusts 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 lost. See Luke Chapter 15.
  • We were aliens and foreigners. 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 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 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.”
  • We were dead in our sins, deserving eternal condemnation. Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death.”  Death is spiritual separation from God for eternity.

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, all of us are 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 we met Christ.  We have to look at our past lives 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, says, “‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.’”  If we cling to what God wants us to abandon, we will not be capable of recognizing 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’s angel said to John, “‘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 purposes are 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 turn us into recluses rather than joyful servants of the Lord and make us proud of and content with our accomplishments.  Such emotions can result in our becoming proud and complacent.  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,” and Jesus said in Matthew 23:12 (NASB), “‘Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.’”  Dwelling in our past successes also can result in us relaxing our present and future efforts for the Lord.

A Christian advances more rapidly towards holiness by looking forward than by looking backward.  Our future is 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 Lot’s wife and the man wanting to be Jesus’s follower – wanting to dwell on what you left behind, remember that the ‘good ol’ days’ weren’t that good.  You also might find yourself like Lot’s wife and that buck that turned around and looked back – wishing you hadn’t.

Categories : Devotionals

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Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him — his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

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