Do you want God’s best plan for your life? I say I do. However, my actions reveal my true answer: I don’t. I know for a fact I don’t. Every time what I want and what God desires come into conflict, I have all the evidence I need to say I don’t want God’s best plan for my life. The catch is to not let that want change into action. For instance, if I really want that shiny new car but I don’t have quite enough in the budget to afford the monthly payments, I could easily reason to myself that if I cut back just a little bit on tithing I could afford it. God doesn’t need my money and since it’s such a small amount, no one would really notice. And before I know it I have that shiny new car that I wanted, I’ve cut back on my tithe, and I’ve strayed from the plan God had set before me. This is a big example and you may be thinking, I’d never do that. But how many small situations do you do this on a daily basis? Convicted yet? What if I told you that our seemingly small actions may have a drastic impact on the people around us? What if I told you that a “little” sin could lead to a big consequence, which then leads to a chain reaction of big consequences? Scripture tells us this type of thing does happen. That’s why we must not let want (selfish desires) turn into action (sinful behavior), but instead let our action (obedience to God) turn into want (a desire to glorify Him).
As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” – Genesis 19:15-17, ESV
The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. – Genesis 19:23-26, ESV
God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He hadn’t found 10 righteous folks. He found Lot and Lot’s family. If you consider them all righteous, that’s 4. Therefore, God would pour out His judgment on those two wicked cities. For Lot and his family, however, God had a different plan. He chose to give them a plan that would save them. However, it meant leaving everything behind and not looking back, with no time to think it over or consider the possibilities. They had to trust God and they had to act on that trust without doubt and without question. Would they?
Certainly God deserved the trust. Not only had God’s servant come to their rescue when Lot was captured during a war, but even in the preceding hours God’s provision upon them was visibly demonstrated. Lot’s daughters had been preserved from the unthinkable choice that Lot offered the men of the city. Then the angels from God stepped in and saved the family from the mob, spurring them on to leave the city. Lot and his family did flee, but Lot’s wife didn’t follow the plan. She turned back to look. Likely when she turned back to look, she paused. I can only imagine the scene as God rained down His judgment. It must have been horrendous. Who wouldn’t be paralyzed at such a powerful demonstration of God’s power to punish sin? This is probably why the angels said, “Do not look back.”
Lot’s wife didn’t make it. She didn’t follow God’s plan wholeheartedly. Likely something in her wanted to remain in the cities that had turned on her family. It’s amazing how we can cling to a terrible situation and justify it because we don’t want to face the unknown. And when she broke from the plan, she perished. It was just a little look. However, it led to a catastrophic situation for her. And that led to a chain reaction that was more catastrophic. Lot’s daughters, seeing that mom is no longer around, hatch a plan to give their dad a male heir. So they commit a horrendous sin that results in two boys being born. Those two boys were the ancestors for nations that would both be enemies of God’s people as well as introducers of barbaric practices that would turn God’s people from their worship of Him.
God has a plan for each one of us. It may not lead to material wealth, creature comforts, the job we love, and respect and admiration by all. Quite likely it won’t lead to any of this as He calls on us to sacrifice for others, to put others first, and to be ready to suffer for His name. But His plan is the best plan. We continually find ourselves in conflict with God’s plan because we haven’t shed the fleshy, sinful side of us. The challenge is to resist this side, to not let the wants that bubble forth from this side turn into action. Rather, we must subdue this side with complete obedience to God. We must choose to change our wants to match those of God by our actions to follow Him. We can’t do it alone. We need God’s help and power in this. That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit, to be our teacher, our mentor, our guide, and the power to change our hearts to be like His. God is required to make the change so God sent Himself! Think about that for a moment. It should bring you to your knees as you realize the magnitude of that loving act. Obey God wholeheartedly. Seek Him and His kingdom first, as He has commanded us. Then we’re on the best plan. And that’s where we should want to be.