Friday, February 17, 2023

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional: Anonymous Women Bible Study - Lot's Wife

The story of Lot’s wife in today’s world might be considered for a movie script. It’s disturbing to say the least. It doesn’t have a happy ending, but it does teach us once again, the importance of obedience to God’s commands. To begin her story, we need to learn a little bit about Lot, where he was from and who he was as person. If he was a television character, he might be a guy a bit like Eddie Haskell from “Leave It to Beaver.”


Lot’s story begins in the place of Ur where both he and Abram were from. Abram had a brother, Haran who was Lot’s father. When God called Abram to go to a new place, as any good uncle would, Abram takes his nephew on the journey. Lot's father died so Abram may have included Lot as a son since he didn't have one and took him with him.


They set out and traveled all the way to Egypt. After leaving Egypt, they settled in Bethel and Ai region. Both men had become wealthy along the way. But things got complicated between the Abram and Lot’s herdsman so they decided it was time to separate. Abram gave Lot the first choice of choosing where he wanted to live. He chose the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley, which was like a well-watered garden (Genesis 13:10). This was where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located. Looks can be deceiving as beautiful as this area was, it is noted in the Bible the people were wicked (Genesis 13:13). This is a case of “the grass ISN’T always greener.” 


Eventually a war broke out between the kings of the region and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah lost the battle and the people of these two cities were captured. This is interesting as Sodom was a great city with 15-foot thick walls of protection. A place where people felt safe and secure. It was a center for arts which brought wealth. Abram got word and set out to rescue Lot. Abram not only freed Lot, but the women and other captives which is why it’s possible this is when Lot met his wife (Genesis 14:16).


Lot’s wife was possibly a Sodomite. According to some Jewish rabbis, her name may have been Idit (Edith). They may have had 4 daughters as the scripture says they had sons-in-law. We know 2 of the daughters were virgins. It is possible that she was a worldly woman. Especially having grown up in the midst of wickedness. God’s law had not been given yet, so people once again were living without restraint. As some women would respond with unexpected company, she may not have been happy about having the two angelic visitors. It is thought that she only had enough food preparations for her family. It’s also thought that salt was an ingredient she lacked and she went to neighbors asking for some.[1]


As we know God gave Abram, now known as Abraham, a head’s up as to the destruction that was to come to the two cities. This just may be the original story of “A Tale of Two Cities.” Scripture tells us that there were no righteous men. Abraham couldn’t believe this was possible, especially since his nephew was living there. Lot and his family had favor because of Abraham. God said He would bless anyone who blessed Abraham (Genesis 12:3). He pleaded with God not to destroy all the people, so God said we would not destroy it for the sake of 10. Could this have been the number of people in Lot’s family? (Lot, Idit, 4 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, and 2 betrothed sons-in-law).


The night before God was about to reign fire down on these two wicked cities, He sent two angelic visitors to warn Lot. This is where our story takes a sad turn. We see how evil these people were as they tried to beat the door of Lot’s house down to sexually violate these visitors. Lot knew better and tried to reason with these men, so instead he offered his two virgin daughters. What? Thankfully, the angelic visitors intervened. They told Lot to evacuate and get out as many family members as they could. Lot’s wife was probably shaken at hearing all of this, especially as she didn’t have time to pack. Unlike Noah’s wife who had time to plan, Lot’s wife did not. They were commanded to flee to the mountains and to not to look back!


Lot did not do his family justice because he didn’t obey the Angels instructions to go all the way to the mountains. As we read these Old Testament stories we find God takes men to the mountain top. He wants to bring us higher. Instead, Lot cut a deal to go half way. This caused Lot’s wife to stumble. We don’t know exactly what she was thinking, but if it was only Lot, the two virgin daughters, and her, that means her other daughters and family members were left behind and destroyed. Her disobedience by looking back not only caused her death, it created more long term and lifetime trouble for God’s people. Upon her death the two virgin girls thought it was a good idea to conceive children with their father so they could keep the family line going which is how the Moabites and Ammonites were born. They were enemies of God’s people and fought them on their way to the Promised Land. If the condition of Lot’s wife’s heart was bitter, it’s no wonder she turned to salt. As much as salt flavors with small amounts, too much can ruin a good dish. The decisions and disobedience of Lot and his wife changed what God for them - SALVATION.


The impact this story makes on our lives today is clear, God hates sin. God made a way for us to be free without having to drown or burn. All of us are subject to sin whether it’s of our own doing and/or someone else’s leading. We can become captives without even knowing it. All of us have experienced trauma of some kind at some point and when we bond to that we then filter everything through it. Our culture today wants to tell us it’s okay, that it’s our truth and that’s just who we are. God’s desire is for us to find healing, be set free, to look up and move forward. We can become secure in our bondage and God wants to save us from that. Lot’s wife’s only making it half way because of her husband’s choice and looking back in her own rebellion caused more trauma to her family legacy. Because of Jesus, we have the opportunity to change our own legacy by forgetting the past and looking forward to what God has for us in the future. He wants us to keep moving forward, leaving what we think is secure to the abundant living of salvation.


In closing, we can learn so much from Noah’s story and Lot’s. Even Jesus uses both Noah (Matthew 24:37-39) and Lot’s wife’s (Luke 17:28-32) stories as an example of the times we are living in. As we connect these two stories in God’s big story, it’s not a coincidence they were our first to study. We see God’s aversion to sin and His desire to eradicate it. In Noah’s story, God uses rain to destroy the whole earth. In this story God uses fire to destroy two cities. We can see God was trying to purify His creation. It takes water and fire to do that. After Jesus came, these two elements are used in our redemption story. We are baptized in water as a sign of new birth and we are baptized with fire, which represents the power of the Holy Spirit who now dwells in us and begins our transformation process, burning away the old ways. This is a sign and a wonder for sure! Let’s keep pressing forward and not look back so we can see the great things God has for us ahead.


Scriptures in the event of an evacuation:


Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NLT)- Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.


Luke 9:62 (NIV) - Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”


Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) - Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)- For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.


Proverbs 14:12 (NLT) - There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.


Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) - “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.


Psalm 39:7 (NIV) - “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.


Psalm 42:5 (NIV) - Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.


Matthew 6:34 (NLT) - “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.


Psalm 28:9 (NLT) - Save your people! Bless Israel, your special possession. Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.


Colossians 3:2 (NLT) - Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.


Romans 12:2 (NIV) - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 *This information is a summary of the study and observation the "Anonymous Women of the Bible Study" by the anonymous women of an online group out of Hills Church in Laguna Hills, CA. There are also women from other states in the U.S. who are participating that attend other churches. This is why we are called the body of Christ.





Thursday, February 2, 2023

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional: Anonymous Women Bible Study - Noah's Wife

Our investigative women did a great job taking facts and coming to some conclusions of what Noah’s wife was like. Yes, it is all speculation and presumption, but basing it on life as we know it, the nature of men and women is the same. God created us in His image and that never changes. As we know they were living in crazy times. Probably similar to our generation. They were 9 generations from Adam and Eve. The people on the earth were made up of two brothers, Cain and Seth, so the multiplication of the earth was as we’d say “kissin’ cousins.”  


It’s possible Noah’s wife was a daughter of Tubal-cain. She may have been an adventurous woman, ready for anything. It said the Noah was the ONLY blameless person living on the earth and he walked in close fellowship with God (Gen. 6:9) just like it was said about his great grandfather Enoch (Gen. 5:21). In pre-flood times, it had never rained. The water they needed came from under ground so this was a phenomenon to have been told that it would rain. 


Noah’s wife may have been concerned by what was going on around her. This means her extended family were considered evil. She was going to have to leave them behind, along with her home, and everything that created security in her life. This wasn’t like they were going on a cruise and then coming home from a vacation. As Noah built the ark, she had to plan the meals for the next year and prepare and pack. She had three daughters-in-law joining her that also were leaving family behind. They most likely were young, as the sons were born when Noah was 500 (we assume she was close in age) and the rain began when he was 600. That right there can be a challenge because sometimes in-laws don’t always see eye to eye.


We speculated that she was patient, trusting, follower, loyal, and obedient to what her husband was called to do. She submitted to the process. If she wasn’t a Proverbs 31 woman before this, she most likely became one after this experience.  It was crazy to get on this boat, but crazier not to, especially if God was telling them to. She probably experienced rejection in the community since her husband was building a large boat that was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high (1 and a half football fields). Remember, these people had never seen rain so the people probably ridiculed them for doing something so ridiculous.  The ark had 3 levels: top deck was for Noah and his family. The second deck was for the animals. The bottom deck was for waste. There was only one door on the side and one 18 inch window. Imagine the darkness inside and the smell. No glade plug-ins to help with the smell they would endure for the next year. The boat probably rocked as well so the combination was not a pleasant experience. We all know what it was like being locked down in our homes during COVID. We loved the people we lived with, but at least we could go outside and enjoy fresh air and find some space.  Those were some long days and nights living in darkness. Never knowing whether it was day or night. They couldn’t go outside and walk the deck like a you can on a cruise ship. The sun didn’t shine for at least 6 weeks when they first boarded. They didn’t have much light inside. What a picture of sin. In that giant environment of darkness and only lit by possibly some fire light. That can be a challenge. It’s romantic at first, but after a while, it’s grueling.  But what God does in the darkness can be life changing. Just as a seed is buried in the ground, life that begins to grow underneath the soil until it’s time for it to break forth. There was probably a transformation happening in this family of 8. When they disembarked, they were probably not the same people as they had been.


God was going to preserve them and the animals. Noah was probably the last one onboard and as his foot crossed the doorway, God, with His mighty hand shut the door. Like a treasure chest filled with precious gems, these people and animals were tucked away and safe.


There was no covenant at this time. The closest was God telling Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of Good and Evil . It wasn’t until the time of the Mosaic law that God had made a covenant.  But after the flood, God placed a rainbow in the clouds to ensure that He would never destroy the earth or mankind again. As we have experienced rain throughout our lives, we’ve all seen rainbows. We know that somewhere there is a break in the clouds and the sun is shining. There are times of consistent rain in our own lives, spiritually, physically, and emotionally speaking.  Storm after storm, we get hit, soaked, sometimes it’s dark and we become weary wondering if it will ever end. But we have hope when the rainbow of God’s love appears, we know that His son is shining. Even when there isn’t a break in the the clouds of life, our faith tells us that the “Son” is shining and we can expect Him to come through.  This is what we call faith. If we sum up truly what Noah’s wife had, it was faith. Faith to trust the process, faith in her husband, and faith to believe that when she couldn’t see, there was salvation at the end. “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” (Hebrews 11:1-2, NLT)


As we know, the Bible had not been written and there was no scripture to hold onto. But we have promises to hold onto in our times the unknown.  The following scriptures are promises that were shared in our group last night.


Life preservers in the storm!


Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.


Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.


Proverbs 31:30 - Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.


Psalm 18:28 - For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Isaiah  43:2 - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 85:9-13 - Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.Yes, the LORD will give what is good; And our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway.



I pray you will be encouraged to know that God’s got you and He’s protecting you through the storm. Keep your eyes on Him. All of His promises are Yes, and Amen!



Compiled by the R.E.A.L. Women Bible Study out of Hills Church, Laguna Hills, CA