They stood at a crossroads. Abraham and Lot decided to part ways in order to prevent more violence and bloodshed between their respective families and hired hands. As they looked out over the land of Canaan, Lot chose the lush, wealthier region to the south near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot goes south, Abraham goes north.

Flash forward several years and Lot had really made a home for himself. He and his family had moved into town, made a living, and remained faithful to God. Then one day, God sends some messengers to do some undercover investigation. Lot invites, or urges rather, the travelers to stay at his place for the night. You know the rest of the story. The men of the city threaten to gang rape the newcomers, and God decides at that point to destroy the cities completely.

God gave Lot enough warning to get his family out, telling them to never look back. As fire rains down from the sky, Lot, his wife, and two daughters make a run for it, never looking back.

Well, except for Lot’s wife.

For centuries, salt has been mined, gathered, and traded as currency. There is evidence that ancient civilizations actually used molded salt as coins. Entire cities and highways were built along salt mining and trading routes. Slaves were often bought with salt, hence the term “worth his salt.” Roman soldiers were largely payed in salt – which is where we get the English word for salary. There was even a time when salt was traded ounce for ounce with gold.

Salt was a sign of wealth and prosperity. It was something special to be brought out for guests at a meal. It was something precious, something of worth.

Salt was valuable.

So Lot’s wife looked back at the ruin and destruction. She wasn’t rubber-necking like we do on the highway as we pass by the overturned trailer. She looked back with longing, with sorrow, with a desire to have it all back. She looked back like a college student leaving home for the first time, or like a lover who has just been dumped. She would have rather gone down with the ship.

“Lot’s Wife” on Mt. Sodom

Why couldn’t she let go? Well, we know they were a wealthy, well-respected family. They had herds, land, a large house, friends, family…and they had to leave it all behind. They had called this place home for many years, and she couldn’t help but look back with longing as her whole life went up in flames.

So God turned into a pillar of salt. Her longing for wealth consumed her entire being at that moment, and she literally became that which she longed for the most.

What in your life is worth turning back for?