July 16: Step Up

Read Genesis 34:1-31

What a chapter! It is difficult to know all that the Lord would have us take from these lines now thousands of years later. After all, they are written in a descriptive form rather than prescriptive or even fully interpretive. In other words, we are told what happened then without being told directly what we should do today. Still, after rereading (and consulting other theologians), here are some helpful thoughts.

Be impartial – Dinah is clearly identified here as “the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob.” You probably remember that Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel. It was no secret that Jacob preferred Rachel over Leah (Gen. 29:31). He seems to have also shown a preference for his children born of Rachel over those from Leah (Gen. 37:3, 4). Is it possible, then, that this was part of the reason for Jacob’s laissez faire response to the rape of his daughter? We may never know, but still this question is worth asking, “Am I guilty of an ungodly preferential love or preferential negligence in my relationships?”

Be protective – As indicated above, Jacob seemed negligent in this situation. Regardless of how you feel about the response of the brothers, one thing you have to recognize is that they were protective of their sister. The world is full of injustices. Many people without a voice or without strength are mistreated or abused. We discover that with issues like racial inequities and human trafficking. Once again, it is worth asking, “Do I speak out on behalf of others in need of mercy and justice?”

Be honest – The story communicated by the brothers just wasn’t true. The Shechemites could intermarry under one condition…all the men should be circumcised. In reality, that was just a deceptive ploy to be able to attack them at a vulnerable time. Had the sons learned the art of deception from their father? Jacob had not only fallen prey to it under Laban (Gen. 29), but he had also been guilty of it himself repeatedly (Gen. 25, 27). Worth asking are the questions: “Am I a person of integrity and honesty? Do I misrepresent the truth to my own benefit?”

Be selfless – In the end, Jacob seems more concerned about his own welfare than protecting his daughter. He complained to his sons that they had “brought more trouble” on him (v. 30) because of the destruction of the Shechemites. That leads to one final question for our consideration today: “Am I more concerned about myself than I am about others that God has created in His image?”


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