WOMEN NEEDED IN THE CHURCH
Todayís lessons goes along with other four lessons I did on men needed in the church and men not needed in the church. This morning we will look at women needed in the church and tonight we will look at women not needed in the church. Just as told the women, I want to the guys that while I will be using women as examples today there is still application that can be made to us all, so apply what you to you.
The first example I want to look at comes from a courageous yet humble woman who did what she could to serve God in a dark time of the children of Israel history. I am talking about Deborah. Her story is found in Judges 4. Let take a look at and notice her good characteristics along the way.†
Judges 4:1 When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD.† 2 So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim.† 3 And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he harshly oppressed the children of Israel.† 4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
Since the children of Israel had sinned against God and He allowed them to be oppressed by their enemy for 20 years. This was a very strong enemy because they possessed 900 chariots of iron which made them seem invincible. This sets the stage for the first woman to be appointed as a judge over Israel. She is also called a mother of Israel in Judges 5:7. Of course, Deborah was not the first prophetess in the Bible, but she was the first and only female judge. She was married, but we know nothing about her husband other than this brief mentioning of his name. You have to appreciate this woman rising to the occasion to serve God in this capacity that was given to her and she also had the respect of Israel.
Judges 4:5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.† 6 Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, "Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, 'Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun;† 7 'and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand'?"
She carried out her duties as she was supposed to. When the people came to her with their disputes or questions of the law, she would tell them Godís judgment of the matter. We can see that God was with her and telling her what to say and do because summons Barak that God has commanded him to take his men and go destroy Jabinís army. But notice Barak response,†
Judges 4:8 And Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!"† 9 So she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
Now some might ask why he wanted to bring her along. To me, it seems he wanted to bring her along because he knew that she was a judge for God and he it would make him feel more confident knowing he had a messenger of God with him. She agrees to go, but there will be a consequence. She said, there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman."
There are at least two thoughts on what the consequence would be.
1. Some believe that she is saying that if you take me with you, you will not receive any glory for this battle because it will be attributed to me.
2. Deborah is simply prophesying of how the women Jael would kill Sisera the commander of Jabins army with her own hands. I personally believe this second view is the correct one and it also the most popular one.
One thing we know for sure is that God is going to have a hand in this battle and the honor really belongs to Him. When I read about Deborah, I see a strong woman who has great faith in God and is willing to serve the Lord with all her might, but at the same time she is very humble about it and tries her to best to encourage Barak to rise to the occasion and put his trust in the Lord. These all great qualities that we need women to have in the church today. We need women that are willing rise up and serve in those capacities the God has allowed them to be in according to N.T. teachings. Though some women under the O.T. system were allowed to serve in positions that were usually for men, we are not under the O.T. we are under the N.T. system, so Deborah does not serve as an example for woman to rise up and take positions in the church that are clearly designated for men, such a being an elder, deacon, a preacher that preaches over men and women.
However, we do need women like Deborah, who are courageous enough to try new roles that are allowed for them according to Scripture. We need women in the church that help encourage the men to carry out their roles within the Lordís church. Letís continue the story:
Judges 4:10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.† 11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.† 12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor.† 13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.† 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the LORD gone out before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.† 15 And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot.† 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.†
Though Deborah goes with them, you can see that Barak is the one that is leading his men into battle. While the children of Israel are on foot and donít have any chariots of iron, †they have something far better, they have God on their side. Notice 15 again: 15 And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak.
It was the Lord who confused this mighty army and they became like scared rabbits and tried to flee, but Barak and his men chased them and destroyed every last one of them except for their commander Sisera.
Judges 4: 17 However, Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.† 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, "Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear." And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a blanket.† 19 Then he said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty." So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him.† 20 And he said to her, "Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and inquires of you, and says, 'Is there any man here?' you shall say, 'No.' "† 21 Then Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.† 22 And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, "Come, I will show you the man whom you seek." And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple.† 23 So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel.† 24 And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
Here Sisera thought he was safe and Jael made him feel safe but then while he was sleeping she ran a tent stake through his head. Now according to historians the women of that period usually were the ones that drove the tents stakes into the ground as the tent was being set up so she would be very skilled at using a hammer and a tent stake. Again, this seems to be what Deborah had in mind when she said that God would sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. As the text goes on, we see the children of Israel continue to get stronger and stronger until the completely defeat their enemy. In Chapter 5 Deborah and Barak sing a song about the battle they had went through and at the end of this chapter it says they had rest for 40 years.
Thanks to Deborah embracing the role God gave her and her ability to encourage men like Barak to lead his men in battle by the word of God, the children of Israel had 40 years of rest. Deborah is certainly a great role model for the kind of women we need in the church today.
Our second example comes from Queen Vashti, which I believe was a woman that put her life of the line for the sake of modesty. Notice our text:
Esther 1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus,† 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold.† 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.
Our text is too vague to be dogmatic about the specific reason Queen Vashti refused to go and flaunt herself before these drunken men. Some believe that she may have been pregnant at this time, others believe that the king was wanting her to come present herself with nothing but the royal crown on. Whatever it entailed, the Queen knew that refusing the king would have consequences and she refused anyway. She was not going to make her beauty into a show for drunken men.
From this, though we do not know the specifics, we certainly need women in the church that will not flaunt their beauty to appease to the lustful eye of men. We need women who show their spiritual beauty by their godly behavior. While the world says, if you got flaunt it, the Bible says:
1 Timothy 2:9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,† 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
Let all women have the spirit of Vashti and refuse to flaunt their physical beauty even if a king demands and the consequence could be death. If she could take as stand for modesty against an irrational king, women today can take stand against an irrational world that tries to push women to show as much skin a possible.††
Another courageous woman can be seen in this same book, which we all know is Esther. She also had to put her life on the line to go before this same irrational king to save her people from all being slaughtered by a foolish decree he signed by the prodding of Haman. We certain could use women like Esther in the church today who are not afraid to take a stand for what is right even if it means their physical death.
Our next example comes from:
Luke 10:38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.† 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.† 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."† 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.† 42 "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Women like Martha may have good intension to take of all the physical needs around them and make sure everything is just so, but Mary understood what was important in life and that was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Now ladies, this does not mean that a filthy home is sign of spiritual strong woman. Come on, I know some of you were thinking something like that. No the idea is that we need women in the church like Mary who make God and His Word their priority. As Jesus said:
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.† 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Some men have trouble with worrying about things, but in general women have a tendency to worriers. They are very concerned about their surroundings and especial things that are out of their control. So, women a tendency to try and control as much as they can around them and this can lead to them being like Martha who become so distracted by the things around them that they lose out on the best part, which is sitting at the feet of Jesus.
It is easier said than done, but we all we do better if we learn to make God and His kingdom our priority and not worry so much about everything physical getting done today. Dishes, lawns, repair work whatever it is will eventual get done, if not today, tomorrow, or next week. The point is donít allow the physical to rob you of the spiritual, which is far more important. We all need to learn to have balance in our lives with scale tipping more toward God.
Another great example of the kind of women we need in the church comes from a woman I talked about in last weekís sermon. Hannah was a woman who trusted in God and was a woman who prayed. Since we looked at story in detail last week I am not going rehash it all over again, but I do what to remind of how sad she was that had not had any children. She was so upset, that she would not even eat, but notice what happens after she prays to God.
1 Samuel 1:10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish.† 11 Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."† 12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli watched her mouth.† 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.† 14 So Eli said to her, "How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!"† 15 And Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.† 16 "Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now."† 17 Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him."† 18 And she said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
I never get tired of reading this because it shows that she was woman that believed in the power of prayer. She understood that once she turned her problems over to God that her load had been lifted and she trusted in His will. It was enough for to know that God was in control and could answer her prayer. So, she arose and ate and her face was no longer sad.
We need women in the church that believe in the power of prayer and can trust that when they turn their problems over to Him that He will do what is best. Even though our prayers may be answered in a different way than we expected, we can be thankful that God is in control and does what is best according His wisdom.
We also need women in the church like Pricilla.
Acts 18:24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.† 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.† 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Here we have a husband and wife that are working together side by side. When you can a wife and husband that desire to serve the Lord and that encourage one another to do so, then you have a powerful team that will not only help each stay focused on serving God, but will serve as a good example of Christian marriage where husband and wife have set eye on heaven.
Husbands need all the encouragement they can get from their wives and the same could be said for the wives. Much good can be done, when husband and wife have the same goal of reaching heaven, so I hope for those that are married and both are Christians that you always strive to work together at encouraging each other and being good examples to other that are around you.
Women that do not have a believing husband, the Bible also give instructions on how you can influence your husband toward Christ:
1 Peter 3:1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,† 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
Whatever you do, donít give up on God and continue to be a good example to your non-believing mate.
Not only do we need women in the church that are good Christian wives, we need women in the church that are good Christian mothers like Eunice an Lois (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). These women had great influence on Timothy and since his father was a Greek, we can surmise that much of teaching that he learned about the Scriptures can from these two women. A Christian woman is going to have great influence on their children because they are usually the ones that around them the most. So, we need Christian women that conduct themselves with a spirit of Christ and teach their children by example and by word what a Christian lady is all about it.
I could certainly give you more examples of godly women from Bible that women today should emulate, but I hope that if you see that you lacking in any of the good qualities I have mentioned today, that you will work on improving in those areas. There is always plenty of room for us grow and improve in, but the main point is for us to continue to serve God to the best of our abilities and try to improve ourselves every day so that we can be the best servants for the Lord that can be.
WOMEN NOT NEEDED IN THE CHURCH
This morning we took a brief look at the kind of women we need in the church. Well, just like I did with the men, I think it is important to look at the kind of women we do not need in the church. If you see yourself with the qualities I will be pointing out, I hope you see they are not good qualities to have and I hope you will work on getting these bad qualities out of your life.
The Bible is full of examples for us to learn from in OT. For example, Paul said the following about the children of Israel.
1 Corinthians 10:11 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.
It is always good for us to examine the mistakes that they made, so that we can make sure that we donít repeat their mistakes. We could learn from Nadab and Abihu about not breaking Godís command or we can learn a great lesson from how Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it, which caused him not to enter the promise land.
We must also learn to look at our own mistakes that we make and learn from them. This is what Abraham told the rich man he should have done.
Luke 16:25 "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
When we fail to learn from our mistakes, we can find ourselves in the same place as this rich man. So, letís see what we can learn from the mistakes and wrong attitudes of some of the women found in the O.T. and the N.T.
Our first example comes from Jobís wife. I know the Bible does not tell us much about her and I am sure she was lovely lady, but it might make you raise an eyebrow when you consider that Satan could do just about anything he wanted to Job except take his life and he did a lot. His goal was to get him to sin. So, he took away his animals, killed his children and many of his servants but he did not kill his wife and that is all I am saying about that one. Joking aside, the one thing that Jobís wife is known for is this:
Job 2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.† 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.† 9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"† 10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Job and his wife had been through a lot, but Job kept his faith in God. While that was a challenge after all that happened you know it had to sting to hear his wife utter these discouraging words. We can certainly understand to a degree how difficult of a moment this was, but this should have been a time with these two came together and worked together to get through this ordeal, but Jobís wife was being a discourager.
It is hard enough when we get discouraged by acquaintances or friends, but when your mate discourages you it can be hard to bear. Of course, this both ways. We need women in the church that are the opposite of what Jobís wife was being here. We need women that will encourage their husbands to cling to God during tuff times. We need women in the church that are encouragers and not discouragers. This certainly applies to men as well. Negativity is very powerful. In fact researchers say that it take 5 to 20 positives to balance out one negative when it comes a marriage.††
One sure way to do damage to congregation is to have discouragers. While it is easy to think negatively and say negative discouraging things, we must learn to turn this around in our lives and think more positively and realize how blessed we are as Christians and how damaging discouragement can be in the home and the Lordís church.
Another kind of woman we do not need in the church is deceitful manipulators like Delilah. Letís take a closer look at her story:
Judges 16:4 Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
The story of Sampson is a quite a story within itself, but at this point is Sampsonís life he meets Delilah. Many assume that he made her his wife but nowhere in the text does state that she was his wife. It is possible that she was just another one of the harlots he was staying with at the time. Whether she was his wife or just a harlot, he met his match with this lady. Sampson never did have much success with women, His first wife betrayed him out of fear but Delilah would betray him for money.
The Philistines offered her 1100 pieces of silver to find out what the source of his strength was. So she began to press him and work her charm on him to find out what his secret was and so begins the manipulation game.
1. Judges 16:6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you."† 7 And Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man."† 8 So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, and she bound him with them.† 9 Now men were lying in wait, staying with her in the room. And she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he broke the bowstrings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
Delilah was doing her best to find out what Sampsonís secret was. Of course, Sampson lied about it and Delilah put it to the test and she found out that Samson lied. Since the Philistines stayed hidden he apparently thought this was just some kind of game, and the game continues:
2. Judges 16:10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Now, please tell me what you may be bound with."† 11 So he said to her, "If they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man."† 12 Therefore Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And men were lying in wait, staying in the room. But he broke them off his arms like a thread.
Just like before she yelled out that Philistines are upon you and he jumped and freed himself from these new ropes. Now I am sure we have all heard the saying fool me once shame on but fool me twice shame on me. Well, you would think that that Samson would start to figure things out but he just couldnít see it. I guess he was blinded by his love thinking only the best about Delilah. Time for round 3.
3. Judges 16:13 Delilah said to Samson, "Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me what you may be bound with." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom" Ė
Once again Sampson lied, and once again, he was able to break from web of the loom. Then Delilah pulled out one of the oldest manipulation tricks in the book:
Judges 16:15 Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies." 16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, "No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have beena Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man." 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart." So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. 19 Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.
It is kind of hard to believe that Sampson was so blinded by love that he did not see the train wreck coming, but this just shows how powerful one person can be over another especial if that person thinks they have nothing to fear. We certainly do not need women or men for that matter in the church who will try to manipulate others for their own gain because people with this kind of attitude only think about themselves and how they can make things better for them. Nothing good will ever come from those who have the spirit of Delilah. Judas did what Delilah did except he betrayed Jesus for money.
The Bible teaches us to have just the opposite attitude:
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,† 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.† 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.† 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Is this always easy to do? No, but it is the attitude we are supposed to have, and when we strive to live up to this standard, there is little chance that we will have the attitude of Delilah.
Another kind of woman we do not need in the church is women like Lotís wife. In Luke 17, Jesus was teaching His disciples to always live their lives for the Lord so they will be prepared for the Day of Judgment. After He taught them this great lesson, He told them,
Luke 17:32 "Remember Lot's wife.
The first thing I want to point is that Lot and his wife were honoring what God taught about marriage.
Matthew 19:5 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
However, they found themselves living in a corrupt city where all kinds of sinful things were taken place including homosexuality. The awful behavior of those in that city and their destruction is used as an example in:
Jude 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
When you live the life of sin, you will face the eternal consequences. Because these people of Sodom and Gomorrah were so corrupt, God was going to destroy that city, but God was going to give Lot and his family the opportunity to escape before the destruction happened because when the two angels went to the city, Lot took them in and protected them and this is what they told them.
Genesis 19:12 Then the men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city -- take them out of this place! 13 "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." 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. 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." 16 And while he 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, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."
God had given Lot and his family the opportunity to escape since they were the only righteous people in that wicked city and they ran for their lives, but remember one of the commands was not to look back, but watch what happens in:
Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Since Lotís wife disobeyed the instructions that were given to her and looked back, she lost her life. Even though this is a sad story, we can learn several things about the mistake she made.
The first thing we learn about her mistakes is that God is serious when it comes to obeying all of commands. Not only was she supposed to flee, she was not supposed to look back, but she did and it cost her life. This show how one sin can be fatal. This teaches us that we should always work hard at remaining faithful to God and if we do sin, we need to repent as Jesus said,
Luke 13:3 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
We should never treat sin lightly because you never know what it may cause. For example, in Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphire both lost their lives when they lied to the Holy Spirit.
Ezekiel 18:24 " But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
Under the O.T., people who lived in sin were to be put to death, but even under the O.T. there was a way of avoiding death.
Ezekiel 18:21 " But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 "None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.
So from the OT and the NT we learn the importance of obeying Godís Word, and if we sin we need to take care of the sin right away by repenting.
The second thing we can learn from Lotís wife is that she perished even though she was married to a righteous man as Peter proclaims in:
2 Peter 2:6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)
This teaches us that no matter how righteous our mate may be or how much we surround ourselves with righteous people, they cannot save you because you are responsible for your own actions, and you must give account of how you lived your life. So, just as Lot could not save his wife by his obedience, no one else can save you by their obedience.
Another thing we learn from lots wife is even though she had a strong desire to be saved, she still perished. She was heading the right direction, but she allowed herself to get distracted and she looked back.
There are many that are like this today. They have a desire to be saved, and they may even start down the right path, but they get distracted and the look back, which causes them to get back on the wide road that leads to destruction. Jesus said,
Luke 9:62 "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
As Christians, we must be careful that we donít allow the world to district and cause us to take our eyes off our goal of getting to heaven, if we do, we could find ourselves far removed from God. John said,
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
The world has a lot of temptations to tempt us with, but as Jesus taught we must keep looking toward heaven, and remind ourselves that the temporary pleasures of the world are not worth losing the eternal happiness we will receive in heaven Jesus said,
Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
So, donít allow the world to cause you to look back and lose your soul. More could be said about Lotís wife, but from what I have pointed out we certainly do not need women in the church like her that are unfocused and easily distracted away from obey Godís commands.
There are certainly more women in the Bible we could look at like the most wicked women recorded in the Bible, Jezebel, who was self-serving and did many wicked deeds, or we could look Herodias, who wicked in own right, We could talk about the busybodies that Paul warns against in writings and the list could go on and on. The important thing is for us a Christian men and women, is to learn from the mistakes of these men and women we have looked at in these series of lessons to make sure we are not like them. On the flip side, we should also learn from the examples of the faithful men and women we looked at and try our best to emulate the great qualities. We should be thankful that the Bible is full of examples for us to learn from.
I cannot stress this enough, if you find that you have some of the of bad qualities of these men and women we have examined, recognize this weakness for what it is, and do what you can to change it because you know it is not a quality that a Christian should have.