February 16, 2019

JACOB EXPERIENCED ANOTHER TYPE OF STORM IN SHECHEM.

The scripture sys “Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.  And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, built himself a house, and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called  Succoth . Then Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan Aram; and he pitched his tent before the city.  And he bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected an altar there and called it El Elohe Israel.” (Genesis 33:17-20)

The story that was told after settling in the land of Shechem was another story that caused a lot of pain to every one in the family. The only daughter of Jacob, Dinah was raped by Shechem (the prince of the city) when she went to visit the daughters of the city.  Her brothers were out in the field when the report got to them but their father did not say anything about it. This situation was panful to all of them because it was a disgrace in Israel for such thing to happen so they decided to revenge. Opportunity came when Shechem and his father Hamor came to ask for Dinah’s hand in marriage, they answered them in a deceptive way, proposing to them that all their males must be circumcised like them, which was the only way to allow Dinah to marry them. They agreed and went to convince the whole city to agree to circumcision of all their males so that intermarriage can take place between them. The Bible says “Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males.  And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out.  The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. They took their sheep, their oxen, and their donkeys, what was in the city and what was in the field,   and all their wealth. All their little ones and their wives they took captive; and they plundered even all that was in the houses. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I.” But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?” (Genesis 34:25-31)

The episode of Dinah’s defilement was a typical example of why God was breeding a nation that would have the fear of the LORD and would not behave like all the other people of the world. The people generally are immoral and do not consider other people’s feelings and do not have the fear of the LORD. It simply shows the deplorable state of human existence. God wanted every one of us to live a holy life (Be Holy as I am Holy), and this type of immorality God abhorred, and that was why they could not take the defilement of their sister lightly. Unfortunately they too overreacted by exterminating all the males of the city. They should have allowed God to judge the matter Himself. If not for God’s intervention again, the other people around them could have retaliated and war could have started among them. But God had promised Jacob that He would not leave him until all that He had promised him came to pass. God did not allow the inhabitants of the neighboring cities to attack them.

God is forever faithful. He was faithful to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and always rescued them whenever they were in trouble. Psalm 46 :1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,” So we have every cause to trust this God that He would keep us safe because we have run to Him so that we can be kept under His shadow. Do you have any troubles or any fear of the unknown? God is there for you working things out in your favor, and all things will work out for good for you because you are loved of the Lord. The lessons from the lives of these chosen people are practical demonstration of the Love of God towards us no matter our shortcomings. Once you are His, His goodness and mercy are upon you always. That is why Psalm 23 ends with “Surely goodness and mercy (of God) shall follow us all the days of our lives and we shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever Amen. Please let us continue to stay in the house of the LORD so that He can hide us in His pavilion during the storm. The LORD be with us all. Amen. 

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