Year 2 Day 269
Read - Genesis 34
Message - Scott Woodburn
As you well know Alan and I started these devotions when Covid 19 first hit. We wanted to give you daily food for your soul and our plan was to write devotions from March to June and then reevaluate once Covid had gone away. Eighteen months later we’re still here! We trust these devotions are a blessing to you and that each day these words get you into the Word of God. With that said, today’s devotion is horrific. This is a chapter that is hard to read, hard to preach and hard to fathom the wickedness of men.
Jacob has returned home and experienced the wonderful forgiveness of Esau. Yet Jacob is still acting like Jacob! He lies to Esau and fails to obey God. Jacob bought some land outside the city of Shechem and pitched his tent at that place rather than Bethel. Without realising it, Jacob had put his family in harms way.
One day Jacob’s daughter Dinah was kidnapped and raped by a man called Shechem. He abused her and humiliated her despite the fact that it appears he had fallen in love with her (v3). Shechem decided that he wanted this young girl to be his wife and so he urged his father Hamor “get me this girl for my wife.” (v4) Needless to say, Jacob and his sons were outraged by what had happened to Dinah. They knew that such actions were a disgrace to Almighty God and understood that rape should not be practiced in Israel (v7).
Before anything further happened either good or bad, Hamor approached Jacob and asked for Dinah’s hand in marriage for his son Shechem. Hamor told Jacob that it would be to his advantage as it would mean he could dwell and trade in the land as he saw fit. Additionally, he could name as big a price as he wanted for Dinah as his rapist son Shechem had fallen head over heels in love with the girl.
It is said that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and it appears to be true in Jacob’s clan. His sons respond to Hamor’s offer with lies (v13). They initially tell the truth that Jacob’s family and Hamor’s should not intermarry. The people of God should not forge marriage relationships with those outside the faith. It was true in Jacob’s day and it is true in ours. Yet this truth was a means to a wicked end. The sons of Jacob urged Hamor to have all the males of the city circumcised - only then could the marriage take place.
This seemed like a good idea to Hamor and Shechem. It would mean that Shechem could have Dinah as his wife and so he and his father urged the men of the city to be circumcised. Shechem argued that it would be good for everyone, providing the men of the city with new wives from Jacob’s family and peace and prosperity (v23). So every male of the city was circumcised at Hamor and Shechem’s request (v24).
It is at this point that we see wickedness breeding wickedness and sin breeding sin. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi waited until the men of Shechem were sore from their circumcision and then in response to the rape of Dinah they killed Hamor, Shechem and all the males of the city. They robbed and plundered the city, taking all the possessions they could find and even taking the women and children as spoils of war (v25-28). Jacob knew that the actions of his sons was going to lead to further trouble (v30). If the inhabitants of the land attacked then he would surely be killed. Yet his sons were deaf to their father’s protest asking Jacob “should he treat our sister like a prostitute?” (v31) Shechem’s sin was abhorrent but any revenge should have been left to the Lord.
My friends if you feel like you need to have a shower after reading such a chapter - then good. It is a brutal chapter and one that shows humanity’s depravity in all it’s bloody nastiness. A young girl is raped. Lies are spoken. Many are butchered. The sign of the covenant had even been used as a means to murder. The whole situation is horrific.
The Lord is gracious in that He allows us a “warts and all” view in this passage, therefore we shouldn’t be surprised at the sinful lengths humanity will go to. This is a brutal world, utterly depraved and desperately wicked. What should we do? Brothers and sisters, flee from sin and be wise in your dealings in this world. Nothing and no one is neutral. Look to Christ and obey His Word - entrust your way to the Lord.
Q33 What is justification? Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.