/ / / When Christianity and Culture Collide {Genesis 19}

When Christianity and Culture Collide {Genesis 19}

In God's Word, very often we see Christianity and culture collide. In a culture of tolerance, we find that God is not tolerant of what He calls sin. #Biblestudy #Genesis #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

 

In our culture, the only wrong – is saying something is wrong.  Tolerance is held as the world’s moral standard.

But so far in Genesis, we have seen that God was not tolerant with Adam and Eve’s sin.

God was not tolerant of Cain’s murder of Abel.

God was not tolerant of the wickedness during Noah’s day.

God was not tolerant of the pride of those building the tower of Babel.

And in this week’s reading, God was not tolerant of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In God’s great mercy, He sent 2 angels to rescue Lot and his family before the destruction of the city – but look at how Lot hesitated:

Genesis 19:15-17

15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “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!”

Why did Lot hesitate?

Was it his material possessions he couldn’t leave behind? Or his friends, perhaps his son-in-laws who refused to leave or the fun?

They were told “Don’t look back and don’t stop!”  but Lot’s wife was too immersed into the culture of the city of Sodom to obey…and she faced judgement for looking back.

God did not tolerate the sin and wickedness of the men of Sodom or even Lot’s wife —-looking back!

God rained down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah in judgement.

Genesis 19:24-26 says:

24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

In America, Christianity and culture are colliding and some Christians are giving in to the pressures.  As they immerse themselves into the culture in the hopes of leading some to the Lord, they themselves are being led astray. God calls us to not love the world or anything in it – and yet we hesitate.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
~1 John 2:15

This November, I am a part of an on-line Church Leadershp Summit discussing how to respond to the change of culture in America.  The title of this on-line conference is Culture Crash.

I wasn’t planning to share this video today – it was recorded and sent in and will be played during their conference – but I have a really bad cold this week and hardly any voice left.

So while I drink this:

honey and tea

Grab yourself a glass of something hot or cold too – and listen to my video I recorded last week –  on how I believe Christians should handle the collision of culture and Christianity in America.  I think it is relevant to this week’s reading in Genesis.

{if you are subscribed to Women Living Well and are receiving this in an email – don’t miss out on the content of this video – please click through here to view it.}

**Chime In**

Do you feel there has been a shift in our culture in America?

How should believers deal with these changes?

What are you learning so far in your reading in Genesis?  

How would you answer this question:

Genesis 19 discussion questionWalk with the King,

Courtney

This week’s reading plan:

Genesis Reading Plan Week 3

 

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34 Comments

  1. There has absolutely been a shift in our culture! It just keeps getting darker and darker as many walk farther and further away from the ways of God. This is why it is all the more imperative that we shine more brightly. This world needs salt and light and we have the good news of the Gospel! It needs to hear the hope that Christ brings. It needs to see husbands and wives loving each other, children walking in Truth, and joyful attitudes no matter what is happening around us. In this way, they will see Jesus in us, the Hope of glory and hopefully, be drawn to Him. We need to preach the Gospel with our life and our words!

  2. I totally agree with everything you said in your video. It is hard to stand up for what I believe in. I struggle daily with the way I live my life and the way we raise our daughter. We do things differently than everyone else and because of that I have been criticized. I am proud of our daughter. She loves God, she respects others, she loves and befriends those that are made fun of by others, and she does not follow the crowd. I often feel lonely, but I know we are raising God by His will and that is important to us. Being in God’s will is so much better.

  3. In reading chapter 19, two things stood out to me that I was hoping you might have an answer to. 🙂 One, was why Lot was so willing to send his daughters out to appease the angry mass of drunken men who came to his house. And two, why his daughters thought it was okay to get him drunk and get pregnant by him. Those are some really messed up things to do, and I just wondered, in a passage about destroying a town for their wickedness, why so much wickedness still came from those who were “saved because of their righteousness?”

    Just some of those random bible questions that I’ve never quite understood and was always afraid to ask about. I think a lot of the times we’re just taught that the bible is good and perfect, which it is, but we’re afraid to dig in and find out why!

    I’ve really been enjoying this reading through the bible series. My husband has been doing it with me and I’m praying that it will open up doors for us to discuss things that maybe we never have before, or just have them revealed to us in a different light and be able to mull that over together, too!

    1. Your questions are good ones Alyssa, but there are few good answers for them. I think it is important to give the story of Lot some added perspective.

      First, we cannot judge the views of morality held by pre-Law OT saints in the same light as we would post-Law OT saints, and more so NT saints. Each saint is accountable for the knowledge they have of both what it means to live righteously and how to please God. Lot and his daughters are living in a time frame where they know about God from their great-grandfather Terah, their grandfather Haran, their father Lot and uncle Abraham. But this is the early beginnings of choosing a line from which the Savior of the world will come. Terah knew he was to separate his family and move away, but there was not given the 10 Commandments nor the rest of the law to guide the family. All they were asked to do was believe and move towards the Promised Land and the line gets narrowed down to Jacob (Israel).

      As to why Lot would offer his daughters to these evil men? This is such a bizarre decision, unless Lot was sure that the men had no interest in his daughters. Perhaps he was simply pointing out to the evil men how far they had really fallen to not be interested in virgin daughters? Perhaps he was hoping they would find husbands through this incident? There is no good answer until we see “righteous” Lot in heaven and ask him. My guess is it was God’s way of proving how far the city had fallen into unrighteousness and how evil sodomy really is.

      Remember too that Lot and Abraham are “reckoned” righteousness by God not based on their works, but based on their faith in God. They believed God and God in turn called them “righteous.” For those days and times, with no developed written moral code, these two saints probably were perhaps living far more righteous lives than others, yet Abraham is married to his sister, so incest is not yet condemned. Early on brothers married sisters and God certainly did not condemn it.

      This brings us to the story of Lot’s incest with his daughters. Obviously God is not pleased as the descendants become the Moabites and Ammonites, two of Israel’s perpetual enemies. The two daughters had just seen most, if not all of their world, blow to bits. Imagine if you or I were hiding in a cave and thinking that if the whole world is not blown up, whatever is left holds no hope for your race and special line as you know God has proclaimed. We might do some pretty stupid things with some really bad thinking. And that is what the daughters did. Got Dad drunk, and laid with him to get pregnant. Incest was pretty common back in those days, so this would not be as far off base for them as it seems to us today.

      All in all, the story shows a faith that is continually lacking. Lot chooses poorly where to live, then when saved, his wife chooses poorly to look back, and the daughters choose poorly to get pg by Dad. All bad choices leading to disastrous results when faith in God is not exercised and we impatiently take matters into our own hands. I can’t wait to see Abraham and Lot and ask them lots of questions.

    2. I have a few answers for you that I hope will help answer your questions. Yes, the bible is good and perfect but it is full of imperfect people (minus Jesus, obviously). I think sometimes we can forget that as we read the stories, I know I can. And grace. Grace, grace, grace! We are saved by God’s grace! So why did so much wickedness still come from those who were saved by righteousness? 2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it perfectly. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” We are made righteous through Christ! We are saved by grace through faith and made righteous through Christ however, we are still sinners living in a fallen sinful world and we won’t be made perfect until we see Him in heaven. When we become saved that doesn’t make us perfect, it just makes us perfectly forgiven!!

      Why was Lot so willing to send out his daughters? Sin. I believe that Lot was so caught up in the world and being so immersed in the culture of Sodom that he was almost completely blind by his own sin. Rather than him give the angry crowd the two angels (like they were demanding) he found it to be ok to give them his daughters. I think he was so caught up being in the world, that the choices he made reflected him being of the world. You can even get a glimpse that Lot knew where he was living wasn’t the best place to be. In the beginning verses these two angels were just planning on sleeping in the town square, but Lot insisted (it even says insisted so strongly) that they go with Lot back to his house. Right there, to me, it shows Lot knew how sinful and gross Sodom was, but there was something about that place that still kept him and his family there. I believe that’s one of satans great devices! Pushing us to the edge where we know it’s wrong but it still feels so good. The bible even tells us, there is pleasure in sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25). Even when the angels told Lot to leave and flee to the mountains, he was still wanting to hold on to that feeling. You can see in vs. 19-20 how Lot was (what seems like pleading) for them to let him stay as close to Sodom as he could.

      About Lot’s daughters, again I think this just shows sin and God’s grace. How gracious he is to call his children righteous in the midst of their sinful nature. The daughters were concerned about preserving their family line, when I believe they should have had faith in God to provide a way to preserve their family line, rather them get their dad drunk and lay with him. The older sister even tells her younger sister to do the same thing the night after she does, sin is gross and it makes us do and act in gross ways. Another thing I noticed was it seemed they were trying to validate their sin too when they say, “so we can preserve the family line”. Sin makes us do stupid things, act bizarre, and satan try’s to make us validate what we are doing as “ok” or “not that bad”. I think that’s why it’s so important to stay close to God and in His word so when strange things come our way and seemingly harmless temptations we’ll be able to decipher them!

      All in all I believe this just shows how gracious God is to sick and gross sinners like us. We are all fallen and we are all sinners but we are made righteous in Christ Jesus! 🙂

    3. Where is Lot called righteous in the Bible? Nothing that I’ve read about him even implies he was righteous. He was the nephew of righteous Abraham who pleaded with God on behalf of not only Lot, but the entire city. I always thought that “Lord was merciful” to Lot for the sake of Abraham.

      1. I just found the verse to back up what I said:

        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 the which Lot dwelt. Genesis 19:29

        1. I stand corrected: And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
          (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 2 Peter 2;7-8

        1. Yes, I agree Sarah, that Lot is called a righteous man in 2 Peter 2:7. It’s there in black and white. He followed his Uncle Abraham and he believed in God. And through his faith in God, it was sufficient for him to be saved. He was declared righteous at the moment he believed. We all are. God extended His gracious hand of mercy to Lot. He had been living very much over the fringe; but ultimately it is clear from scripture that he must have repented and put his trust in God (otherwise he couldn’t have been called “righteous Lot”).

          There are so many christians today who do not want to give up on their sinful lifestyles, they compromise with sin far too often. They excuse it and say they can’t help it. But God will judge all sin righteously. 1 Cor 3:15 speaks of being saved as one by fire. I’m sure there will be many who are saved this way. I’ve heard preachers say before, some will get to heaven “smelling of smoke”. But personally I don’t want to be saved “by the skin of my teeth”. I don’t want to be consumed by sin, and continue in sin, and none of us have to. I want to recognize sin for what it is and how it saps our Joy and Fellowship with God, and grieves the Holy Spirit. In other words, I want to live a totally repentant life. The power of God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us enables us to say “No” to sin. We just need to grasp hold of these truths and mean business with God.

          When we are “Walking in the Spirit”, it gives us the freedom to be able to live the Christian life. On the other hand you have Licence and Legalism; neither of these brings freedom, but instead the Wrath of God because it’s self righteousness, not trusting in the Grace of God alone.

  4. Courtney, loved the video. Thank you so much for your faithfulness. I really needed to see, hear, and read this today. Thank you.

    Blessings to you,
    Cindy

  5. Courtney, thank you so much for sharing this video. Your passion for the Lord and standing firm in your faith is contagious. I can see how much He is working in you through this study. God bless 🙂

  6. I totally agree with this post and have had my heart changed with a number of issues that previously I thought was “ok”.
    One I still struggle with is friendships. Before I became Christian I made friends with someone at work and only found out after a few months that my friend was gay. She trusted me with this, and at the time (pre faith) I was fine with it. I would talk to her and advise her as I would any of my other female friends. But now I feel I am being dishonest in some way to God. She knows I am a Christian, but we remain friends, catching up a few times a month.
    What would others do in this situation? Am I seeing a problem where there is none?
    Thank you for the work you do with this blog Courtney_ you and others here are a blessing.

    1. Anna –

      The greatest commandment is that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and the second is that we love our neighbor as ourselves. It sounds to me like you love her and she is not hurting your walk with God. If she was causing you to stumble spiritually – then I might advise that you put distance between you two – but it seems that you love her and care about her and enjoy her as a friend. Continue to love her and be her friend. Just don’t hide your light 😉 She needs to hear and experience the love of Jesus and God has sovereignly put you in her life – perhaps because you will be the one to bring her to Jesus!!!

      🙂
      Courtney

      1. Great answer! I was going to say that while these people were judged by god and destroyed, Jesus came along and gave us the commandment to LOVE above all else! I think the main point is to make sure the strongest relationship/friendship you have us with HIM so that other relationships–possibly with non believers–will not influence you to stop believing. If you are looking for friends who don’t sin, well… That’s not going to happen. Just love everyone and keep Jesus at the center of all of the ose relationships. We want to lead others to their own relationship with Christ, and them let HIM take their sin away (and by that I mean forgiveness from him, not perfection by them.) 🙂 I love being in the word everyday and reading all of these responses!!! This is just such and awesome work of God!!!

  7. Thank you so much for your heart in speaking truth! I could totally feel the spirit pouring out of you in this video! I am so thankful for people like you speaking truth in the midst of so much adversity and fear of hurting or offending others. My prayer is the Lord raises up leaders in these days that will continue to shine their light on this narrow road we walk.

  8. My Bible used the word “lingered”. Boy did that hit home for me.. So many things I am content to stay in because they are comfortable, even though I know that I should leave. I also realized that Lot was so immersed in the culture that giving his daughters to be raped and used was no big deal to him. So much so that his daughters were willing to get him drunk and sleep with him. His family was just too immersed…

  9. Thank you Courtney for your video. Our culture is morally bankrupt and people just accept it. I compare just the things on TV now as compared to when I was a kid…what a moral decline and what is acceptable and what’s not has changed tremendously! But God has not changed and that is a truth I hold on to! He is the same and yes, being in His word will keep us on the narrow road!! Feel better, Courtney!

  10. I definitely see a shift in our culture! It has been so evident to me since moving away from my small town to college. For the entire first year I felt like I was the only person who believed the way I did. I have since come to find true believers in Christ to surround myself with. I was raised to have pretty conservative beliefs and that was so odd to everyone around me that I still wanted to hold on to those beliefs. My views on things like alcohol have really isolated me from people at school because going to the bar is the “thing to do” at school. I finally realized that by standing firm in what I believe those same people are seeing Christ’s light in me, and what could be more worthwhile than that? So I want to encourage you to stand firm in your beliefs in the midst of a world who is completely against them….you may be the only glimpse of Jesus’s character they see.

  11. Courtney, I thought your video was awesome! Thank you so much for sharing God’s word and showing how we can live a life for God in these times that we are living in.

  12. AWESOME POST !!!!
    Thank you for being bold and clearly speaking about the Truth of God’s Word and culture . They do not mix and We are called to be separate !
    Blessings to you Courtney !!!!

  13. Courtney, AWESOME! You nailed it. Our family has been discussing this very idea for some time now. With the dramatic decline we’ve seen in recent months it is imperative that those who call themselves Christians walk the walk! The church as been weak and given ground for generations in this country. We need to call sin sin and repent of it. We can’t continue to “Christianize” the sins of this culture so we can participate in them. We called to be separate from the world, not blend into it.

    Thank you for speaking so boldly. I hope this message is spread far and wide. I pray that it will cause many to seriously consider their lives in light of the gospel and example Christ has given us to follow. God bless you and your family. May God bring restoration to the church in America.

  14. Yes, there has been a shift in our culture. The sins we see in our culture have always been present in America, however, I think people have become more bold to glorify their sin and demand acceptance of it, not understanding the consequences. I believe that if Christians live what the Bible teaches that people will begin to see the ugliness of sin and the beauty and love of God and His holiness and will turn to Him. Christians and the church in general are anemic. I’ve been in churches for most of my life and it is really sad to see what American Christianity has become. There are still men of God who preach the truth of God’s Word, yet they are viciously attacked both from within and without the church for taking a stand on the Word of God and against sin. There are many more wolves in sheep’s clothing in the pulpits of America – false teachers filling congregants minds with the ideas of the world and soothing their consciences by proclaiming a false “god” and not the God of the Bible. We were warned in the Scripture that this would happen –

    2 Timothy 4:1-3 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.

    We, as believers, have to stand firm in the faith. To do this we have to know what the Bible says and be able to communicate that in love with a desire to see others come to the knowledge of the truth. There are so many voices out there that are proclaiming a way to live, what to believe, or to not believe anything. We need more voices proclaiming the truths of God’s Word. To be one of those voices I have to be prepared and continually learning. That is one reason I am loving this study so much. Going chapter by chapter through the Bible is so rich. I am able to read the account in Genesis in order and really think about what is going on in the chronology of events.

    In this study I am seeing the hand of God in the lives of people in a new way. While God didn’t micromanage people’s lives and force everyone to obey Him I can still see how He intervened in people’s lives to protect them, and I can see the devastating consequences of sin.

    God protected Abraham and Sarah twice from Abraham’s lack of faith when they didn’t tell the whole truth that they were married.

    God protected Lot and his family, even though (I believe) Lot made a seriously flawed decision regarding where he would live (he was sitting in the gate with the wicked men of the city after all – just what Psalm 1 warned us about – sitting, standing, walking with sinners. Lot was definitely not blessed by his choices. He lost his home, his wife, and witnessed the destruction of the city he live in and the people that he knew).

    God protected King Abimelech by showing him the truth about Sarah and Abraham and giving him a way to escape judgement – just like he does for each of us in His Word.

    This is the message we need to be able to communicate to this lost world…there IS hope, God has made a way of escape and He wants each one of us to listen to His instruction and obey (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ) But if we choose to go our own way there are consequences (Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a mans, but its end is the way of death.) Now I just need the courage to share the truth with those that God places in my path.

    Praying for America and for God’s people!

  15. I understand you have about 30 other comments here with some having added comments to those, but I wanted to thank you for making the time to post these reading suggestion challenges as well as videos of your understanding along the way. I bumped into your blog some time back, just after our family went on a business trip with my beloved husband and best friend to Ohio. We also home school, enjoy time together as a family, having fellowship (let’s talk about what that should look like *small smile*), and growing in God’s ways no matter how painful or hard it is for us more often than we would like. *smile* I enjoy growing into the woman God has outlined and going through different seasons of life with my Father guiding me along the way. *smile* Again, thank you for making the time to keep your blog up and running with edifying scripture filled posts. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

  16. Courtney, I am only just now getting around to being able to sit quietly and listen to the video from this post and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated and loved listening to it! My heart is right there with your sentiment. I’ve been hearing God call me to set myself apart lately and it’s been a slow, hard pull but I’m finally opening myself to the grace to receive his courage to do just that and it feels INCREDIBLE! I know not everyone understands and I’m OK with that for once in my life. Praise God for his mercy, compassion and patience for me in my journey to becoming closer to him. I am finally in a place in life where I see the value of investing in the blessings God has given me in this world rather than investing in this world. Allelujah!

  17. I love reading with you all! Such an inspiration. This is new to me, but I’ve never felt so welcomed among strangers! Thank you all!!

  18. I am just finding this series. I started the year out trying to read the through the Bible by myself and quickly became overwhelmed. We are in the process of finding a new home church because we feel our home church is embracing the current American culture.
    I had been listen to many different sermons on-line and so many of them did not stand for truth. We too want to set ourselves apart and teach our children to make wise choices.
    I am looking forward to joining this discussion and reading through the Bible.

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