Today’s readings.. (1 Chronicles 7), (Ezekiel 20), (Luke 17)

Those who read the Bible regularly know that the shortest verse is “Jesus wept” [John 11 v.35].  It occurs when Jesus comes to the tomb of Lazarus after he had been dead 4 days.  Everyone is weeping, the two sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha were there, they were grief stricken and at this point Jesus himself wept, but very soon there was great joy.   But the second shortest verse in the Bible describes an opposite situation!
It is the words Jesus said about a person who was in the process of being saved, but then wasn’t.  Not only was she not saved but neither were the others in her city – except her husband and 2 daughters. We read it today in Luke 17 v.32; Jesus is warning about the terrible drama to occur as he returns to this earth!  For the vast majority of people this will be utterly traumatic.
It is here we get the 3 word verse, Jesus says, “Remember Lot’s wife.” She was leaving Sodom reluctantly and looked and held back; her heart was in what she was leaving behind.  She refused the guiding hand of the angels which her husband and daughters accepted.  Jesus is indicating there will be some who do the same thing at the time of his return.  After saying, “Remember Lot’s wife” he adds, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it.”
What are they seeking to preserve? The things they value in this life, for their minds are centred on the abundance of the things they possess. Do you remember what you read in Luke 12 v.15 just 4 days ago?  “One’s life does not consist of the abundance of his (or her) possessions.”
It is intriguing that these words of Jesus about his return started when “the Pharisees asked when the kingdom of God would come” [17 v.20]  His answer is, “The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed” – it would not be a situation in which people would notice his impending arrival, as when he was on the back of the donkey.  How little did these Pharisees really know the Old Testament prophets – they had tunnel vision on what they wanted to believe!  But what about us?
Suddenly the King of the Kingdom will be in their midst, Jesus tells them (v.21), “for as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day” [v.24].  He then reminds them of the rescue of Lot, “so will it be when the Son of Man is revealed.” [v.28-30]  Reluctant believers, with little oil of real faith in their lamps will suffer the same fate as Lot’s wife, so let us make sure this life does not dominate our thinking.


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