Genesis 1-11, Cultural Context

Genesis is thousands of years before our present. The first major sections (chapters 1-11) has next to no information of their culture. From the passages we can gleam that they had a civilization, society, art, and metal work (Genesis 4:21-22). Apart from what the Bible tells us we know nothing of how their day-to-day life was before the flood.

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5, ESV).

How is this an aspect of culture? Culture is the worldview of a people group: how they think, what they believe, and how they behave is respect to the world around them. The culture is the primeval world was filled with evil. To be honest it was not that different than later biblical periods or even compared to our age. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25b. The original audience of the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) knew all too well how rebellious people can be, even when they had the blessing of seeing God at work before their eyes. Half of the kings of Judah and all of the kings of Israel had led their people into evil.

The cultural context here is one that repeats throughout human history: sin and judgement.

When we get to Exodus we will look at the cultural context of the original audience as we study the contexts of their own stories found in Exodus through Deuteronomy.



Prayer Challenge Seventy-Six

DEVOTIONAL: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2, ESV.

CHALLENGE: A “spiritual war is taking place around” us, the New Testament makes this abundantly clear. Here are several truths we face on a daily bases: Everywhere we look (on billboards, in the news, in books and movies) some sin is being glorified. We are called to live in this world but not be of this world. All aspects of the Armour of God are spiritual tools at our disposal in order to fight in this war (see Eph. 6:13-18). With these truths in mind how can we pray defensively?

In chapter 28 of The Battle Plan for Prayer Kendrick gives us the acronym RESPOND. He says that it “is a powerful, biblically based battle plan to help you strategically respond to a personal attack by the enemy.” When we face temptations to lust, fear, live in condemnation, when we are discouraged, begin to rationalize sin, or “lies are trying to take root” in our hearts, we can RESPOND.

Resist Satan in Jesus’ name”, (James 4:7).
Escape with Scripture”, (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Search for unconfessed sin”, (James 4:8).
Plead the blood of Jesus”, (1 John 1:7-9).
Overtake ground given to Satan”, (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Name someone in targeted prayer”, (Ephesians 6:17-19).
Delight in the Lord”, (Psalm 27:6).

Let us RESPOND in prayer, in our personal prayer lives, with our families and friends, and in our churches. How are we responding to God’s call to live perfect lives? How are we responding to sin in our lives and in our world?