Monday, September 28, 2020

2020.09.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 33:18–34:6

Read Genesis 33:18–34:6

Questions from the Scripture text: To what city does Jacob come safely in Genesis 33:18? In what land was it? From what land had he come? Where does he pitch his tent? Of whom does this remind us (cf. Genesis 13:12)? What does Jacob buy in Genesis 33:19 (cf. Genesis 23:15–20; Joshua 24:32)? How much does Jacob pay for it (cf. Genesis 23:15)? What does Jacob do there (Genesis 33:20)? What does he call it? About whom does Genesis 34:1 tell us? Where does she go? Why? Who sees her in Genesis 34:2? What is his status? What does he do with her? How does the end of verse 2 judge what was done? But what was the feeling of Shechem’s soul toward her (Genesis 34:3)? And what does verse 3 say that he did to her? And how does it say that he spoke to her? To whom does Shechem speak in Genesis 34:4? And for what does he ask? What other father has heard something (Genesis 34:5a)? What does he (not!) do? What does Hamor, however, do already in Genesis 34:6?

Jacob has obeyed Genesis 31:3 quite literally, and returns to the first place in the land where God appeared to father Abraham (Genesis 33:18, cf. Genesis 12:6). It is in the promised land, the land of Canaan (verse 18). He does as father Abraham did and buys a parcel of land (Genesis 33:19, cf. chapter 23). He does as father Abraham did and builds an altar (Genesis 33:20, cf. Genesis 12:7, Genesis12:8, Genesis13:18). And he follows through on the promise “Yahweh will be my God” (cf. Genesis 28:21), calling the altar, “God [is] the God of Israel.”

This is all very encouraging, and we rejoice at God’s grace to impossibly helpless sinners. For, we are such, too!

But just as we learn here to have hope, by God’s grace, for sinners, we also learn here to be serious about the sins of saints. For, Jacob’s folly in this passage has grievous consequences.

Like Lot toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12), Jacob tries to get the benefits of pitching his tent toward Shechem (Genesis 33:18). And he ends up with similar results. Dinah goes out to see “the daughters of the land”—a phrase that reminds us that they are wicked and under judgment (cf. Genesis 15:16; Genesis 24:3; Genesis 26:34–35; Genesis 28:1).

This covenant father Jacob put his covenant daughter Dinah in a place where she falls prey to her own curiosity to intermingle with the daughters of the land (Genesis 34:1). Indubitably, this path to her romance with Shechem (Genesis 34:2-3) is similar to the path that Lot’s daughters took to being betrothed to men of Sodom.

Worldliness in even otherwise godly and believing fathers—or even just carelessness about permitting worldliness among their children—can have painful consequences indeed. They may go to glory, but will they go with their children? Or will their children perhaps come at last with them, through a path of much unnecessary pain and misery?

We noted in Genesis 30:15–16 that it was the wives, and especially Rachel, who were running the show at home. Now, it seems to be the sons (Genesis 34:5, cf. Genesis 34:7Genesis 34:13) who are doing so. Shechem and Hamor seem oblivious to the idea that anything sinful has been done—they’re Canaanites, after all. In fact, the sincerity of Shechem (Genesis 34:3-4) puts the deception of the sons of Jacob (Genesis 34:13) to shame. And the initiative of Hamor (Genesis 34:6) puts the passivity of Jacob (Genesis 34:5) to shame.

The result is going to cost Simeon and Levi their morality as they become murderers (Genesis 34:25), the Shechemite men their lives (Genesis 34:26), the brothers generally their morality as plunderers of the murdered (Genesis 34:27-29), and Jacob his honor and sense of safety in the land (Genesis 34:30).

Oh, fathers, let us see how much rests upon—in the wise providence of God—faithful rejection of worldliness in our homes and faithful initiative in our duties. Let us not be content to have “fire insurance” as believers and families that are Christian in name. But let us seek God for grace to grow and preserve us in godliness that we might lead our homes well, honoring God and doing good to our children!

What are some ways that your entertainment, leisure time, or companion choices endanger your family? What is one of your duties that you could be more active in, but you are tempted to let someone else in your home take the initiative on?

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear” or TPH128B “Blest the Man Who Fears”

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