February 18, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 34

Upon his return to Canaan, Jacob’s family is immediately impacted by tragedy. His daughter is savagely raped by Shechem, a pagan man who lived in that area. While studying this passage I was truly overcome by mixed emotions. I was devastated for Jacob, a father whose daughter was violated. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must have felt hearing that kind of news. I was enraged like Dinah’s brothers who wanted to defend their sister’s honor and avenge her. I was confused by the strange proposition and “deal” that was made between the two families. I was surprised at the length Shechem’s men were willing to go so that he could marry a foreign girl. I was initially sort of glad but then appalled at the actions of Simeon and Levi, who so viciously deceived and destroyed Shechem’s men.  Then I was confused at Jacob’s response to his son’s actions. He seems more concerned about getting attacked by other nations because of what his sons have done, rather than addressing the sin of their actions. This is a crazy account to say the least.

The big question is: what do we take away from this? What is God showing us through this passage? One glaring thing that I see in this account is how it is void of any mention of God. When Jacob learns of his daughter’s defilement he doesn’t seek The Lord. There is no mention of prayer, crying out to The Lord for his daughter, or for comfort, peace, strength, wisdom or any number of things Jacob and his family needed from God during this time. They seemingly responded out of rage, emotion, and human understanding rather than the way God would have had them respond.

We are all tempted to live our lives in this way, completely void of God. This is especially true in times when we have been sinned against and vengeance seems like the most justifiable option. Dealing with a situation like this is never easy, especially when we try to go through it without God. If you’re struggling with this in your life today, turn to The Lord first and seek Him. It is only through the power of Christ, not on our own power, that we can walk through the deepest valleys of life.

By: Matt Mofield

Author: Center Point Church

A multi-campus church in central Kentucky. Our mission is to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

7 thoughts on “February 18, 2016”

  1. To make things even more confusing, Shechem goes on to be a very important city in biblical history. So despite the lack of mention of God in this passage, there may be more to the routing of the city than meets the eye from the standpoint of maintaining that city as a stronghold of the Lord’s people. Super interesting stuff!!

  2. This chapter reminds me of one of many stories, or movies, or one-hour shows where — after all the emotions run their course, after all the behaviors are fleshed out — I turn to the person next to me and say “This is what it’s like in a world without God…isn’t it…?” We know it is.

    The king and the merchants see a chance for some social (v.16) and economic benefits (v.23).

    Look at how easy it might be to intermingle and marry with the Canaanites — the lost and hopeless, with their idolatry and profane heathen celebrations. This thought just occurred to me: when you were about to get married (or move in together), weren’t the social and economic benefits mentioned? The drop in rent, the shared living place? So that’s today’s comparison, but back then — multiply the benefits by 1,000, and either way, see what it looks like when you do not make it a spiritual discussion.

    To the men and fathers, let me ask you this question: what was your daughter thinking in verse 1 when she “went out to see the women of the land?” We don’t know about Dinah, and can only speculate. So perhaps the real question is, what would you say to her as she departs home? Would it be, “Cinderella was a lie, my love, don’t go near the prince.”

    Here’s what you might say, 1 Cor. 6:18. When it comes to sexual temptation, this is what the Bible says: Flee. Run. Yes, go see the daughters but DON’T go near that young man that you don’t know, you haven’t met the family, haven’t worked side-by-side, and…you have not MADE him earn your trust. Earn my trust, you say? Trust me in this: men are wretches. I’m a man saying it, and God has been REALLY good to save me out of it.

    You can’t “stand your ground” in this scenario, or “resist the devil.” That can NOT be done, and 1 Cor. 6 affirms this. Men…start nodding your heads, your own conscience should be agreeing in this. In other passages, yes, the Bible says to “stand” but in this situation: RUN.

  3. It wasn’t until you mentioned it that I realized the absence of Jacob seeking God through this passage. Great perspective to keep in mind when reading these accounts.

  4. Way to pull a gospel-centered, convicting message out of a bizarre, sin-and-revenge story today. Thanks for that pearl of wisdom!

  5. Matt, I appreciate so much you noticing that there was no mention of God. I think that is key. We have to turn to him and fall before him in our desperation, especially when we’re hurting. We need him; he’s the Lord!

  6. Ya, Jacob should’ve gone back to Bethel as had promised the Lord he would, all those years ago, and given Him the glory that was due. Costly detour….

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