Look out! Culture will drag you down

Published 3:39 am Friday, June 3, 2005

By Staff
The automatic conclusion when you think of culture is development, improvement, and refinement.
Culture does refine certain things. The table cloths are nicer, there is more silverware positioned around your plate, clothing gets more daring, cars get flashier, houses get bigger, streets get smoother, language gets more polished, etc. But in every culture in human history as the outward look became better, core values were rotting. So-called mature cultures throw off moral absolutes.
Every culture is born dying because they are the work of man. The only means of refreshing a culture is the intervention of God.
When the Children of Israel journeyed from Egypt to Canaan, they came to the waters of Marah. The water was bitter and unfit for drinking. God showed Moses a tree. Moses cut down the tree and cast it into the waters, and the waters became sweet (Exodus 15:23-25).
The people of God can have profound influence on their culture as they live and inject God's principles at every opportunity.
The secularists know more of the power of the Word of God than the average Christian.
The secularists demand every utterance and display of Scripture be removed from sight and hearing, while the average Christian has so little faith in the power of the Living Word of God that they keep silent when they have freedom and opportunity to speak out.
What can one person do against the current tidal wave of moral depravity crashing through our society? Do what Daniel, the Old Testament prophet, did; stand up for God.
Daniel was young when he was captured and hauled off to Babylon. Daniel was from Israel.
Israel had drifted far from God and had incurred the judgment of God. They had been defeated at the hands of the Chaldeans and deported to Babylon.
The culture of Babylon was secular and godless. The rulers of Babylon desired to benefit from Daniel and others who were descendants of royalty (Daniel 1:3).
The plan was to immerse Daniel and his young companions into the culture of Babylon, and educate them in all the ways of the Chaldeans.
The first step was to change their diet. They were to eat of the king's table. Most would conclude, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." But Daniel knew one compromise would lead to another. He refused to eat the king's food. God honored his stand and elevated him, and others who stood with him, to prominence in the eyes of the Babylonian rulers. It seemed a little thing, but Daniel taking a stand against personal defilement established the power of the Living God of Heaven in a godless culture.
Throughout Daniel's life he had opportunity after opportunity to stand for God. Every time he took a stand, it seemed almost a trivial matter. The first time it was food, the next time it was the gold image his three friends refused to bow to (Daniel 3:12).
There was the issue of public praying (Daniel 6:4-10), when Daniel refused to cower to the pressure of culture. Daniel's determination to stand against a culture and keep his moral integrity serves as an example to all of us.
Believers in Jesus Christ are to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). Our culture will continue to degrade until we stand up and speak for God.
We mistakenly think we can have silent influence, that surely our lives will count for something, but it is the Word of God spoken, read, and displayed that has the power.
The priests in Haggai, chapter 2, verse 12, carried holy meat in their garments. The holy meat had no power to make anything holy. It is only God and His Word that have the power to transform cultures.