Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
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.”And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!”
Here's a little bit of background, Sodom and Gomorrah are two very sinful cities. God is so displeased by the sinfulness. Abraham had pleaded with God before to spare them if he found someone who loved God in the city, but Abraham could not come through with this because there was no one (not a single soul) who was not wicked in Gomorrah, so God destroyed the city. Now, Sodom is just as bad, but Abraham has a nephew, named Lot in Sodom and asks God to remember his family.
Here’s what happens, the angels go to warn Lot that the city is going to be destroyed and that he needs to go and take his family and get out of there. Lot’s sons-in-law did not take him seriously so the angels told him to get out with his wife and two daughters or else they would be destroyed with the city. Lot didn’t realize the urgency of the command so the angels carried him and his family out of the city. Here we are painted a picture of God’s mercy. God commanded Lot and his family to flee to the hills and not look back. Lot didn’t want to go to the hills so he asked if it was okay to go to Zoar and the Lord granted favor upon this request. Sodom would not be destroyed until Lot and his family got to Zoar. When they got to Zoar, God inflicted Sodom with a flash fire incinerating all its inhabitants as well as vegetation. This shows God’s hatred and wrath toward sin and His mercy toward those who love Him.
Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. There had to have been more than just the physical act of looking back. The passage states that she was behind the family. It can be implied that she was significantly lagging behind which shows she was still holding on to her life in Sodom. She had physically left Sodom, but her heart was still there. She disobeyed God’s command. When she looked back, it is implied that she longed to go back to the life she once had. We know that Sodom was a very sinful place, so we must put into question what Lot’s wife’s lifestyle was like in Sodom.
Let’s look at the symbolism in the salt. What does salt do? Well, when you think of it in a meat context, it’s good for preserving and for adding flavor. Lot’s wife is forever stuck in the state of disobedience. We can ask ourselves, if God would have spared her, would she have been any different? Probably not; most likely her heart was so hardened and consumed by worldly desires that she was spiritually stuck in a state of disobedience and God just preserved the physical act of her disobedience to remind us to obey Him. In the context of adding flavor, only pure salt tastes good. Salt with impurities is tasteless. Lot’s wife was like salt with impurities. We are just like Lot’s wife, our hearts have blemishes all over it. We are a sinful bunch.
What can we learn from this? Flee from sin! Don’t look back to your old way of life! Run toward and embrace the new life God has given you! Recognize God’s mercy and don’t take it for granted.