The Valentine’s Day season is upon us once again. Jewelry store commercials are airing on television at an all-time high. Your favorite shopping centers have aisles and aisles of pink and red cards, stuffed animals, candies, flowers, and other gifts. For some people in relationships, Valentine’s Day is a special occasion to celebrate your sweetheart. For many singles, Valentine’s Day (Affectionately known as “S.A.D.: Singles Awareness Day”) nothing more than a painful reminder of their relationship status. The temptation for singles during this “love season” is to sink into minor depression and, as a result, self-medicate that depression by creating their own happiness or self-fulfillment. What is the common tendency for singles around Valentine’s Day? Contacting an ex.
Dr. Myles Munroe says in his book, “Waiting and Dating,” that loneliness is a spiritual disease. A disease is a malfunctioning organ, part, structure, or system as a result of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors (definition derived from Dictionary.com). This definition insinuates that loneliness affects your spirit as a result of some sort of internal or external influence. So, if loneliness is a disease, then what is the remedy? Simply put, Jesus is the cure for the loneliness you may feel in your soul. Only Jesus can satisfy you in ways that money, sex, relationships, social status, cars, or any such thing cannot. He does things to you on the inside that mere words can barely express. When you cling to Jesus and begin to open yourself up to Him, He will breathe into you and capture your heart in ways you never thought possible. When that happens there won’t be any room for thoughts of loneliness to be entertained. You’ll be basking in the glory of the Almighty God. This isn’t to say that the devil won’t tempt you, which leads me to what I want to share.
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.” 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. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he [the angel] said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there and my soul shall live.” And he [the angel] said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plains, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. — Genesis 19:15-26 NKJV
This is a very familiar text that many of us have heard before. Many people usually focus on Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt. I want to focus more on what God is telling us throughout the entire text that spoke greater volumes to me. There are some things that I want us all to be mindful of as Valentine’s Day approaches. I want us to be mindful of the enemy’s devices and tactics to take our focus off of the Lord and how he distracts us with loneliness, discontent in the Lord, and disbelief in His faithfulness to us.
- Don’t Linger
God loves us. That is the most profound and humbling truth to ever exist, that a totally Holy, Perfect, Unchanging, Mighty, Beautiful God could love sinful, flawed, unstable, weak and feeble human beings. Not only does He love us as God, but He wants us to be apart of His family as His children. The love that a father has for his child is ferocious. He will go to any extent to ensure that his family is safe and secure. How much more will the God of the Universe do what He can to ensure our protection? In the text, God is going to incinerate Sodom and Gomorrah because of all of the filth there. If you read in Chapter 18, Abraham pleads with God to save Lot and his family and God honors Abraham’s prayer. So, God sends angels to Sodom and Gomorrah on a rescue mission to save Lot’s family. The angels clearly tell Lot what God is going to do in the place. Lot knows that the condition of Sodom and Gomorrah is unfit according to God’s standards. In fact, the night before, the men of the town tried to burst down the doors because they wanted to have sex with the angels, even after Lot offered his own virgin daughters to the lust-filled men (Genesis 19:1-11). Yet, when the morning arrived, Lot was not eager to leave. The Bible says he lingered. Are you like Lot? Is there a relationship in your life that did not fit God’s standards and you were commanded to leave before God destroyed it Himself? You know the condition of that relationship. You know that if you stay, destruction will be your portion. God, as your Father, wants to protect you. Even if you don’t think you have the strength to leave, He will send angels to help you make that decision. Listen to your Christian friends, your pastors, your spiritual leaders, your parents. They are God’s agents that He has deposited in your life to help you leave that situation. Don’t linger! The angels told Lot to hurry! When they saw him begin to linger, the Word says they took him and his family by the hand. Let God take your hand and show you the way to safety. If that relationship will bring destruction, God wants you out of it!
- Escape for Your Life!
The Word says that once the angels led Lot and his family out of the way of destruction (Sodom and Gomorrah) that they instructed them, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Hear the Word of the Lord. If God has told you to leave a relationship, don’t look back! There is nothing for you there! All that is good comes from the Lord and there is no good thing He will withhold from those who love Him. A destructive relationship is not something you skip away from. The Word said ESCAPE! Imagine that you were being held captive in prison and that relationship is the prison guard. If God has shown you the way to get out, you don’t timidly crawl away. You don’t wave goodbye to your captor. You run with all you have in you! Run for your LIFE! The angels gave specific instructions. They told Lot to escape to the mountains and not to stay anywhere near Sodom or Gomorrah. Sometimes we think it’s enough to end the relationship, but not to cut off all communication with that person. No, the Word says don’t go anywhere near the plain. In fact, the angels told Lot to go to higher ground: the mountains. When God sets you free, He doesn’t want you gallivanting around near the place He wants to destroy lest you get caught up in the destruction. Remember, He wants to ultimately protect you and your heart. He wants you to run away from harm and run to HIM where He knows you will be safe. Run for your life. We know who that source of Life is: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE. If you remain in the plains (a complacent place) you are still susceptible to be hurt. Go higher into His presence.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Climb
After hearing this, Lot says to the angels, “Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there and my soul shall live.” Sometimes we want out of a destructive relationship, but we don’t want the challenge to ascend into the hills of the Lord where His presence is. Why? We want to be normal! We don’t want to make the sacrifices needed to go where He is. We want to heal on our own without God’s help. We want to do things our way. We are thankful, as Lot was, that God got us out of a terrible situation, but we are yet unwilling to climb that mountain to get to Him. We make negotiations with God, instead of fully doing that thing which He requires of us. The whole point in getting you out of Sodom and Gomorrah in the first place was to bring you back to Him! He doesn’t want you to live in the small city near Sodom and Gomorrah. Even though you’ve left the place of destruction, it is still too far from where He wants you: the mountains in His Presence. I challenge you not to be afraid to climb. Lot made the excuse that he would die if he attempted to climb the mountain. That’s what the devil wants us to believe. He wants us to believe that the things of God aren’t fun, aren’t good, aren’t beneficial, aren’t relevant! The devil is a liar! The angels granted Lot his request and allowed his family to find refuge in the city. God is a gentleman! He won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do. He will wait until you want Him desperately enough. But I exhort you, don’t let the lies of enemy thwart you from experiencing what God has for you! Cast away spiritual laziness and begin to climb the mountain. Get up early. Pray. Read the Word. Seek His face. Climb the mountain.
- Don’t Look Back
As we all know, Lot’s wife looked back as the Lord began to rain down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Some of us may arrogantly proclaim, “I would have never looked back at that city! There was so much evil there! I would have kept my eyes on God.” But, would you? I’m sure she looked back for many reasons. Sodom and Gomorrah had been her home for many years. She had friends and family (The Bible says that her sons-in-law did not depart with the family) in that city. She had memories of her daughters growing up in that place. Everything she had worked hard for was in that place and God was going to destroy it. So, even though she was with her husband and children following God’s will, she turned back to get one last glimpse at what she loved, at what she had invested into. We all know that was the last thing she saw. I encourage all of you, when you decide to follow God, go all the way! Don’t look back at that relationship! Don’t reminisce on the “good times.” Don’t allow yourself to think for even a moment that what God is bringing you out of is better than what He will bring you into. That is untrue! Another thing I must say to my fellow singles: Let God deal with your past accordingly. Leave that situation, that person, that relationship, and everything you put into it into the hands of God. There is nothing that Lot’s wife could have done to save Sodom and Gomorrah’s fate. There is nothing you can do or offer your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. All you can do is give their place in your heart into God’s hands and trust Him to be God. Trust that He told you to leave that person alone for a reason. Trust them in His hands. But, whatever you do, don’t look back! If you do, you’ll be like Lot’s wife: initially following God, but turned for even a split second and ended up stuck in one place forever. It may be hard, but don’t stop. Don’t look back. Keep following Jesus.
- Hide in the Lord
And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt. Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. –Genesis 19:29,30 NKJV
When the Lord began to literally wreck everything around Lot, he changed his mind about staying in Zoar and decided to seek higher ground! HALLELUJAH! This is such a powerful testimony! Why did he leave Zoar? This is the place the angels said it was safe for him to live. Think of all that has happened. Lot has pretty much been evicted from his home, leaving behind his entire life, and his wife has suddenly turned into a pillar of salt. He finally decides, “NOWHERE IS SAFE OUTSIDE OF THE LORD!!!!!” So he goes to the place God suggested in the first place. Maybe you have recently broken ties with a former lover or friend. Maybe you’re not sure what to do next. You’re in a strange land and you see your world crashing around you. You see relationships ending left and right. God is calling you to a place of rest in His bosom. The Word says Lot left Zoar because he was afraid. Maybe he was afraid that he, too, would turn into a pillar of salt. Maybe he was afraid that he would long for the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe you’re at a place of intimacy with the Lord and you’re afraid you’ll be tempted to sin again. Maybe you’re afraid of disappointing God. Maybe you were believing in God yesterday, but today you long for a relationship. I believe that Lot was afraid to remain in Zoar because he knew it was very likely that he’d go back to the place God destroyed. Zoar was a plain, on the same level as Sodom and Gomorrah. Zoar is what is comfortable; it’s normal. Run from normal! You don’t serve a normal God, so don’t settle for normal! I encourage you to do what Lot did! Decide today that you will climb that mountain and hide in Him. Follow hard after Jesus and rest in Him. Let Him be your Lover. Let Him woo you. Let Him be everything you could ever desire.
Learn from Lot this Valentine’s Day. See how the devil tries to get us every year. He’s been exposed. Now you have the secrets! Use them against the enemy!
God has one last question He wants me to ask you:
“Will you be Mine?”
♫ Now Playing: “Gorgeous Face” by Rick Pino ♫