Yesterday we learned
that Jacob’s daughter, Dinah,
was raped and taken
by a young ruler named Shechem.
But what you may not have known
was that Shechem was a descendant
of Noah’s cursed grandson named Canaan.
You may remember from Genesis 10
“Canaan was the father of Sidon
his firstborn, and of the Hittites,
Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites,
Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites,
Zemarites and Hamathites.
Later the Canaanite clans
scattered and the borders of Canaan
reached from Sidon
toward Gerar as far as Gaza,
and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah,
Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.
These are the sons of Ham
by their clans and languages,
in their territories and nations.”
You may also remember
how Jacob’s sons responded
when they learned that their sister
had been taken and violated.
“Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields
as soon as they heard
what had happened.
They were shocked and furious,
because Shechem had done
an outrageous thing in Israel
by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter -
a thing that should not be done.”
Jacob’s sons had been set apart
by the covenant God made
with their grandfather Abraham.
The circumcision was an act
that God had them do
to show they were willing
to cut off the flesh -
as an expression of their love for Him.
“Because their sister
Dinah had been defiled,
Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully
as they spoke to Shechem
and his father Hamor.
They said to them,
“We can’t give our sister
to a man who is not circumcised.
That would be a disgrace to us.”
We will enter into an agreement
with you on one condition only:
that you become like us
by circumcising all your males.
Then we will give you our daughters
and take your daughters for ourselves.
We’ll settle among you
and become one people with you.
But if you will not agree
to be circumcised,
we’ll take our sister and go.”
Genesis 34:7, 13-17
Jacob’s sons knew
the act of circumcision
was very debilitating and very painful.
And they knew if the Canaanites
decided to circumcise their flesh,
God would know their hearts evil intent.
God would know
they were doing it for themselves.
God would know they were doing it
to have access to more women,
and more control.
God would know they would continue
to keep false gods and pagan customs -
God would see their impure hearts.
“All the men
who went out of the city gate
agreed with Hamor
and his son Shechem,
and every male in the city was circumcised.
Three days later,
while all of them were still in pain,
two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi,
took their swords
and attacked the unsuspecting city,
killing every male -
The sons of Jacob
came upon the dead bodies
and looted the city
where their sister had been defiled.
They seized their flocks and herds
and donkeys and everything else
of theirs in the city
and out in the fields.
They carried off all their wealth
and all their women and children,
taking as plunder
everything in the houses.”
In chapter 35 we see Gods response
to the sons of Jacob’s decision
God said to Jacob,
“Go up to Bethel and settle there,
and build an altar there to God,
who appeared to you
when you were fleeing
from your brother Esau.
So Jacob said to his household
and to all who were with him,
“Get rid of the foreign gods
you have with you,
and purify yourselves
and change your clothes.
Then come, let us go up to Bethel,
where I will build an altar to God,
who answered me
in the day of my distress
and who has been with me
wherever I have gone.
So they gave Jacob
all the foreign gods they had
and the rings in their ears,
and Jacob buried them
under the oak at Shechem.
Then they set out,
and the terror of God
fell on the towns
all around them
so that no one pursued them.
Jacob and all the people with him
came to Luz (that is, Bethel)
in the land of Canaan.
There he built an altar,
and he called the place El Bethel,
because it was there that God
revealed himself to him
when he was fleeing from his brother."
You see, Canaan was cursed,
and the sons of Jacob were blessed -
even though that evil thing happened to Dinah.
God took Jacob and his sons,
and their families, and told them
to go to Bethel -
the place where Jacob
first saw the Lord.
Jacob told everyone in his community
to get rid of
all the foreign gods and gold rings.
Jacob honored God
and did a wonderful thing!
Rape - it’s a travesty!
It’s a sinful behavior
based on self-centered power.
what is more important to God -
is for us to love Him
more than we love false images,
foreign gods and that which is cursed.
For some sovereign reason
God decided to choose Abraham
to set up His covenant with.
This Eternal God decided
that Isaac would be the chosen son -
not Ishmael, the son of Abraham
and Hagar, his Egyptian slave.
God decided to choose Jacob,
the second-born twin
of Isaac and Rebecca,
to set apart and give a new name -
God took Jacob full circle.
He led him to Luz
and gave him a dream -
a ladder that bridged
between earth and Heaven.
Jacob saw the angels of God
ascending and descending on it,
and at the top stood the Lord
who identified himself.
Then God led him to Harran,
where he became Laban’s slave
and was humbled.
In that place, God gave him
knowledge and wealth and sons.
Then God led him to Edom,
where he came face to face
with his brother who wanted to kill him.
In this place Jacob wrestled with God
and humans - and won -
and God gave him the name Israel.
God gave Jacob favor!
Esau was excited to see him.
He showed love to him.
Then God led Jacob back to Shechem,
the same place Abraham was led.
There Dinah was raped,
and God led Jacob and his sons to Luz -
the town Jacob had renamed Bethel -
“The house of God.”
You see God took Jacob full circle.
He showed Jacob and his sons,
where had come from,
and he reminded them
of where they are going.
They returned to Jacob’s first love.
“I am the Lord,
the God of your father Abraham
and the God of Isaac.
I will give you and your descendants
the land on which you are lying.
Your descendants will be like
the dust of the earth,
and you will spread out
to the west and to the east,
to the north and to the south.
All peoples on earth will be blessed
through you and your offspring.
I am with you and will watch over you
wherever you go,
and I will bring you back to this land.
I will not leave you
until I have done
what I have promised to you.”
Then Jacob built and altar to God,
and he called that place Bethel,
though the city used to be called Luz.”
Genesis 28:12-17, 19
And now, after Shechem
violated Jacob’s daughter,
and Jacob’s sons lied
and caused Shechem and his men
to circumcise themselves;
after Jacob’s sons
destroyed the whole town -
killing the men
and taking all their possessions -
God tells Jacob to purify himself,
he and his sons and all that they own.
Then God blesses them.
The scripture says,
“Then they set out,
and the terror of God
fell on the towns all around them
so that no one pursued them.”
Jacob and his sons
and all that they owned,
were sovereignly set apart
by the Eternal God.
It was not due
to the circumcision of flesh -
it was based on the condition of their heart,
and their reliance to trust in Him.
Jacob's sons had zeal.
They knew they had the Lord's protection.
They used evil to fight evil for good.