In November I taught a three-week series yesterday called “You Asked for It” at Oak Tree Community Church. We asked our congregation to submit questions that they wanted me to answer during the series. Their questions could be about a Bible passage they don’t understand, a Biblical topic they want more information about, or something in the culture they wonder if the Bible addresses.
However, there were several questions I couldn’t get to during the services, so I’ll post answers here over the next couple of weeks. Here’s are two for you today:
How do you know that you’re doing something that pleases God?
The Scriptures are full of things that we can know do please God. His admonition is to live wisely, doing whatever we can to bring him full glory in our lives and this world. Matthew 5:16 says to live in such a way that the people around us can not only see our good works but also tie them back to God and come to praise him with us.
I read in the Bible (Lot and the destruction of Sodom in Genesis 19, for example) where daughters are offered to be used in whatever way men want to use them. What would be the justification for this action?
Well, “justification” can be taken in two ways. If you mean, “why did they think this was a good idea?” the answer has to do with the culture at the time. Often women and children were treated like property, even if they weren’t called that. This is difficult for us to comprehend because we don’t see a difference between the two. If something is our property, we treat it that way. But we don’t treat like property something that isn’t.
In other cultures, men can love their wives and children but still use them as if they were property. In Lot’s case, he had invited guests into his home, which carried an enormous responsibility and personal guarantee of protection. So when the mob tried to harm them, Lot needed something to trade, and he chose his daughters. This did not mean that he didn’t love them; I’m sure he did. But growing up and living in that culture allowed him to think that was a valid option.
Now, secondly, if you mean “justification” as in “could God call this good or right or proper?” the answer is “no.” There is no valid justification for this type of behavior, regardless of the culture. Sin is anything that goes against God’s perfect and holy character, and God never requires us to sin to fulfill his purposes and plans.
If you still have questions, we’re still taking them. Just comment below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.