The Bible – although following several main themes of Grace, Mercy, and Reconciliation – also has woven within it a host of sub-themes. Like threads, they all work together to create the beautiful tapestry of the Word of God. When we study God’s Word we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these Truths… and this is a life-time endeavor! Where a single verse can say one thing (and be true) – at another glance it can say something much deeper (and be true as well). That is the beauty of God’s eternal Word.

With that in mind, the goal of this blog is to focus on one major overall theme – that of God’s Blessing. That doesn’t discount the other themes – it just keeps our focus singular. We ask questions such as, Where is the Blessing in this? What is the major point of this chapter? What are the results of these actions? Etc, etc.

In the past few chapters we have seen Jacob wrestle with God (and himself) as he progresses from “Deceiver” to Israel (One who wrestles with God or Truth). We have seen the results of Jacob’s deception against Esau – and then ironically we have seen the act of forgiveness in Esau towards that deception. The underlying theme: when Jacob acts on his own merit he brings calamity – mercy is in action through Esau – grace is in action through God’s continuing blessing of Jacob. Just beautiful.

Now here in Chapter 34 we see another example of the devastating effects of self-rule. Dinah (curiously listed as a “daughter of Leah”) unwisely goes out on her own into a foreign city and gets into a precarious situation. The prince of the land violates her – causing an unfortunate chain of events. The prince (Shechem) and his father (Hamor) seek to not only cover up their violation by a speedy wedding – but also to gain personally in the end. Jacob’s sons have a much different ending in mind.

A few thoughts in this: Notice Shechem’s soul-tie with Diana! Although they were not married… and Diana did not agree to the relations… the result was still a sort of “one flesh” connection. Sex was created by God to unite a man and a woman together as one… and even when that beautiful gift is distorted and used for ulterior (and selfish) motives, it continues to do what God created it to do. The power of that is evident in Shechem’s willingness to undergo the pain of circumcision to fulfill this soul-tie for Diana.

So is sex before marriage ok?

We live in a culture which has strayed so far from the Law of the Lord that they “call that which is evil, good”. But despite what the culture claims as innocent – God’s plan is still in motion. When we make choices which go against what God created we bear the unfortunate results of those choices. Hamor, Shechem and the men of the city experienced the devastating effects of sin. Should this be blamed on God or those who made such a choice?

That Truth does not imply that the decision to slaughter the entire male population of the city was God’s plan either. Of all 12 of the brothers – only Simeon and Levi chose to act out their personal revenge in violent ways. (Although all of them did partake in the plunder). It is debated by scholars as to whether Simeon and Levi were justified in their actions. In essence – they felt the principle overrides the incident.

What do you think? Would you have chosen as Simeon and Levi – to take the defense of their sister to that extreme – regardless of the collateral damage?

Clearly, Jacob was not in agreement with the two sons – as he is angry with them (and not the other 10). In fact, in Chapter 49 we shall hear Jacob speak more of this on his deathbed.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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