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


On a warm November morning, I crept to my ground box blind on my deer lease near Georgetown.  I’d spent a couple of hours in my tree stand, but nothing was moving, so I decided to try my ground 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 bullet to his neck from my Remington Model 700 BDL in .25-06 dropped him where he stood.  Looking back cost him his life.

In Genesis 18:17 – 19:29, God decided to investigate Sodom and Gomorrah because he had heard of their wickedness.  Two angels arrived in Sodom and became the guests of Lot.  Before bedtime, the men of the city surrounded Lot’s house and demanded 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 house.  The angels then told Lot to gather his family and flee the city because they would destroy it.

Lot hesitated, so the angels grasped his, his wife’s, and his two daughter’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 God rained down burning sulfur from out of the heavens on Sodom and Gomorrah.  But Lot’s unnamed wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

The Bible doesn’t say what Lot’s wife was thinking.  Perhaps she was just curious about what was going to happen.  Maybe she had friends there and was connected to the city.  All we know is she disobeyed God’s command not to look back, and she then received his judgment.

Jesus also warned us about the consequences of looking back.  Luke recounts 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 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 often remember the times we sinned as ‘good times.’  But we also have to remember in our natural state:

  • We were lost.  See Luke Chapter 15.
  • 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.”  (The “gospel” is the good news of redemption of sin through Christ.)
  • 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 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 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, and Satan ruled us.  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.”  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 doesn’t make us sin – he can only tempt us to sin.  We only have ourselves to blame when we choose to sin.
  • 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, 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!”  Like Lot’s wife, sometimes we struggle with letting go of the past.  We know the old has passed away and everything has become new, but we cling to the past because it’s familiar.  God 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 destinies aren’t in our pasts; they’re in our futures – we’re 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 beneficial?  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 God.  Such emotions can result in us 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 can also result in us relaxing our present and future efforts for God.

A Christian advances towards holiness by looking forward instead of looking backward.  Our futures are one to celebrate – Jesus welcoming us into heaven and rewarding us for our service, a new heaven and earth, and no more pain, suffering, or tears.

So, if you ever find yourself wanting to look back like that spike, Lot’s wife, and the man wanting to be Jesus’s follower – consider that you might find yourself wishing you hadn’t.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible Verse of the Day

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.