Tag Archive: Jan Brueghel The Elder



“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.'” -Luke 9:62

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I’m sure on occasion poets look at the words of Christ and if they don’t admonish or worship Him, they must certainly salivate with envy. I half jest, but indeed Christ’s words are so beautiful they resonate throughout our lives and through all of creation. Yet, Christ came for much more than linguistical aesthetics. Christ’s words are remarkable in that, within such a phrase like this, there are found many different meanings and they hold untold riches for those who seek Him and the wisdom that is found in the Lord. This simple phrase spoken by Christ is anything but. It holds not only a warning for us, but also vast hope for the Christian in regards to their spiritual journey.

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"The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah," by John Martin. oil on canvas, c. 1852

Genesis Chapter 19 contains the infamous account concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These two sister cities were the epicenter for all forms of detestable vileness and evil. The Las Vegas of its day. Or possibly worse. Maybe even Detroit (Kidding). Indeed, the cities were so disgusting that the Lord decided to purge them from the face of the earth forever. However, in Sodom there lived a man named Lot. Lot lived there with His family, and God, in His grace, decided to spare Lot and his family from the destruction that was coming, due in part to Lot’s sheltering of two angels He had sent into the city, and because he was indeed the nephew of Abraham, who was greatly beloved by God. Yet, there were strict conditions. The angels told Lot and his family in Genesis 19, Chapter 17:

“Flee for your lives. Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

Despite these pretty straight forward and urgent instructions, Lot’s wife looked back as they fled, and as the angels had warned, she was indeed turned into “a pillar of salt.” Explanations for how this could have occurred range from the natural, the miraculous, and even to ancient technology theories. Yet, the how isn’t as important as the why. Why simply by looking back did she perish and turn into a large pile of the mineral adored by horses the world over?

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Lot’s wife, who some scholars believe was named “Idis,” didn’t merely look back out of some fleeting uncontrollable curiosity, but rather she looked back on the city of Sodom with longing eyes. She saw the sinful city life she was accustomed to being razed to the ground and she felt sorrow and longing. Thus, becoming a large heap of a crystalline preservative was her fate. It is a little bit of a confounding situation, for though Lot was just, as 2 Peter tells us, one wonders why they dwelled in such a detestable place. Furthermore, by the mere fact she looked back, that alone suggests that “Idis” was indeed caught up in the sin of Sodom to some degree or fashion.

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Yet, be that as it may, this example gives us insight into one meaning behind Christ’s words, and that is, when we become a new creation in Him, we should not look back with desire to who we were before, for this can only lead to death. Why run back into the burning ruins of sin that the Lord Himself has delivered you out of according to His grace? You have been delivered, bought with a price, and the Lord has answered your prayer. Why fight the Lord and crawl back towards what would be your demise? A heart that longs for sin has no place in the Kingdom of God. Christ has granted us a reprieve that we may escape the destruction that is to come and even now it is ongoing, so on that date and time, which the Lord has set by His own authority, we may be long afar from that destruction which will cover the whole earth.

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"Sodom and Gomorrah," by Jan Brueghel The Elder

Secondly, realize that no matter where you were and what you were, your Lord has delivered you. You have been deemed worthy by grace to be covered in the blood of the Lamb, thus, again, do not turn around and regret your decisions or the bad choices of the past, for those too are forgiven. Such regrets are like a tether or lead, they may allow us to scamper about and even move forward somewhat, but essentially they still hold us firmly in place. Christ has cut these bonds from us and let not regret, nor worldly sorrow, keep you from partaking and drinking from the Cup of Life. Do not strive to place yourself back into bondage, but rather persevere. Do not tarry or grow weary, keep your eyes on Christ and the prize that is offered, for those who do, their paths will remain straight, but those whose eyes wander, so does the path of their plow, guiding them into rocky soil, danger and eventually death. May The Lord be praised that even wanderers such as myself can be set straight again by His grace and directed out of, and away from, the city of destruction.

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“I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other gentiles.” -Romans 1:13


Paul in verse 13, tells of his strong desire to visit the church at Rome. Indeed, it could be reasonably said, that it was something very important to Paul, for despite it not coming to pass for some time, he never abandoned his plan, but rather held to the desire throughout his numerous travels.

Paul continues telling the reader that the reason he didn’t visit, was that he was prevented from doing so. At least in this verse Paul doesn’t elaborate, but due to the manifest relationship with Paul had with the Lord, it seems that the Lord, even by allowing hardship, postponed Paul’s visit to the Romans.

1,400 Year Old Fresco Found in Roman Catacomb Purportedly Showing The Apostle Paul

The plans of Man and the plans of the Lord scarcely match up. Even when we feel that we are dong something to further the Lord’s kingdom on earth and have nothing but the best of intentions, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is God’s will. Paul did eventually make it to Rome, suggested by the use of the words, “until now.”

This seems to be a place where God’s will and Paul’s desire are in sync, at least to some degree. However, we must remember that in our relationship with the Lord, this may or may not be the case and though we may wait on Him, our desires may never come to fruition.

The fact is that God can easily prevent, or even force people, to do His will, like in the case of Jonah. This is a right God has because of His sovereignty  and like it or not, our existence denotes that we are already part of His will. So, this being the case, where does responsibility fit in, for some suggest that if God is indeed sovereign then it follows that responsibility is an illusion?

"Jonah Leaving The Whale," by Jan Brueghel The Elder. oil on panel, c. 1600

To state it simply without going into pages of philosophical ramblings, our time and place is predetermined in that the decisions we would make freely would be the necessary means to God’s final purpose. An omniscient awareness of choice and it’s outcome doesn’t necessarily contradict or negate the particular individuals responsibility in decision.

In our struggle of our will with God’s we have a freedom to choose what role we will Play in God’s ultimate purpose, and this freedom represents a clear choice and if there is choice, than it follows their must be responsibility in our actions and decisions.

"Adam and Eve," by Albrecht Durer. copper-plate engraving, c. 1504

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