Genesis 19:16 and The Will of God

Can anything thwart the will of God?  This is a major theological question.  If God is completely all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere, can anything happen that is contrary to his will?  Major divisions have arisen within Christianity because of this issue, with some saying that nothing can be contrary to the will of God and others saying that, yes, some things are beyond his will.

This verse in Genesis is interesting in light of this debate:

He [Lot] hesitated, but because the Lord intended to save him, the men grabbed him, his wife, and two daughters by the hand, took him out, and left him outside the city.

This is during the Sodom and Gomorrah scene.  Abraham had already “negotiated” with God and seen the incredible mercy of God, a mercy that even trumps his justice in allowing the cities to continue if only ten righteous people could be found in them.  The angels had already arrived and determined that only Lot’s family were to be saved from the coming destruction.  Lot already could not convince his sons-in-law to come with them.  And Lot still did not want to leave the city, for whatever reason.  Now the angels physically took Lot, his wife, and his two daughters outside of the city so that they would be saved because “the Lord intended to save him.”

A pillar of salt in the region of Sodom, traditionally identified as Lot's wife.

A pillar of salt in the region of Sodom, traditionally identified as Lot’s wife.

This shows that if God wants to do something, he will do whatever it takes to get it done.  This seems to show that nothing can interfere with God’s will.  But the story is not over.  They are told to flee and not look back.  Then there is 19:26, “When Lot’s wife looked back, she turned into a pillar of salt.”

Despite all that God intended and willed for Lot and his family, even going to such great lengths as to have two of his angels physically take them out of danger, it was still up to Lot’s wife whether or not she would be saved.  Salvation from impending destruction was given to her on a platter, but she still had to be the one to cooperate with the will of God.  Lot and his daughters were spared, just as God had intended, but his wife was destroyed contrary to what God intended.

We have the ability within ourselves to choose whether we obey God or not, whether we follow God or not, whether we have a relationship with God or not.  God desires that all be saved, but it is our own choice whether or not we will accept this gift.  Lot’s wife did what the angels said, to a point.  Sometimes people say they will accept the gift of salvation offered by God, but then do not fulfill the calling on their lives to continually grow in grace and be transformed from the inside out into the holy people God desires us to be.

Do not be like Lot’s wife, who perished contrary to the will of God.  Accept the gift of salvation and obediently cooperate with God’s will in your life.

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