Overcome or Succumb

Overcome or Succumb

Have you ever been the victim of a heinous crime? Has anyone ever stolen your peace? Has anyone ever stolen your innocence? I have heard a term being used quite often and it normally is tied to the injustice of the situation. The term I am referring to is “rape culture.” I know, personally, people who have been violated by rape. I have seen/heard the firsthand accounts of what it did to them physically, emotionally and psychologically.
Unfortunately, I do not think these are isolated. I’m sure almost everyone knows someone or has heard the stories about the effects of this culture. This is not something that needs to be swept under the rug, but something that needs to be addressed.

As you look through history, you will see that this is nothing new. This culture has been around for a long time. This does not make it right, nor should you remain silent about it. We are constantly hearing news reports about it, some true and some not. This should be taken seriously, and justice should be pursued. Justice that is from God is the best route, but that is another topic for another day. I want to focus on the rape culture that we find in the Bible and what were the results of it.

We see twice in the Bible that the rape culture was a prevalent part of society in some of the towns. I do not want to focus on the culture, but you can go read Genesis 19:4-11 and Judges 19:22-30 to get the context. In Genesis, we see that God saved Lot and his family for Abraham’s sake and not because Lot was a righteous man…because honestly, he wasn’t. His wife turned into a pillar of salt as she looked back to get one more glimpse before they left permanently. Although they left the rape culture, the rape culture did not leave them. In Genesis 19:30-38, we see that Lot’s daughters raped him, conceived and bore children. These children became the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites.

The Moabites and the Ammonites were Israel’s neighbors. Israel was told to leave them alone due to the fact that they were family. Unfortunately for Israel, the feeling was not mutual. The Moabites and the Ammonites had their own gods, in Moloch and Chemosh. They sacrificed their own children to these false gods and continued in the vile culture of sex and rape. But in the midst of all of this, we have the story of someone who overcame their heritage, overcame this culture, and became a great picture of what you can do no matter what culture you come from. Who is this person? It is Ruth the Moabite.

Ruth married Naomi’s son. Naomi was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah and her family had moved to Moab due to a famine in Israel. Both of Naomi’s sons married Moabite wives. In the course of time, Naomi’s husband and both of her sons died. Naomi set out to return to Judah, but told her daughter-in-laws to return to their mothers’ houses. Orpah returned, but Ruth did not. As a matter of fact, Ruth made a life changing decision. She said, “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth decided to leave the culture of her heritage and join with the God of Israel. You can read the rest of the account in the book of Ruth. Not only did she overcome, but remarried and is in the lineage of King David and ultimately the Messiah. So, I ask the question…which one are you? Are you one who will be dictated by the culture of the day or will you be an overcomer no matter the culture and make a difference for God in this world? As with Ruth, you will never know how big your destiny is until you walk away from the culture of the world and begin to trust God and obey Him.

Until next time, continue your journey with joy.

Aaron