How many of you read Genesis 34 and wondered what happened here? As a dad I was struck with lessons this chapter has for any father. Let me point out a few.
In Gen. 31 God meets with Jacob in a place he calls Bethel. Jacob worships God there and God tells him that one day he will return to Bethel and flourish - being a blessing to others from this place of nearness to God. In Gen. 34 Jacob returns but instead of to Bethel he buys land and settles his family near the wicked Canaanite town of Shechem. He is leaving his family open to ungodly influence. How do I do that as a father?
It is no surprise that his daughter, Dinah, wants to explore the city, but Jacob does not make sure she is accompanied with someone who will make sure she stays safe from a city that brags about how they make sport with young women for selfish reasons. Easy to judge Jacob, but what am I doing to keep my child safe in whatever streets they walk?
After Dinah gets raped, we read that Jacob’s sons are far more outraged than Jacob. What does this tell us about Jacob? When the God-appointed leaders take no action it creates a void often filled with others not ready to lead. When do we as fathers take a backseat when we should really be leading the defense of our children?
When the brothers come up with a deceitful plan to bring revenge for their sister, where did they get the creativity and morals for deception? Have any of you ever see the movie “A Christmas Story?" Ralphie says a bad word and his mother asks where he had learned it. He explains to the viewer that he learned it from his father who was fluent in foul language, but he blames it on his friend Flick who gets in trouble for something he never did. Jacob’s sons are fluent in deception because their father practiced it in front of them their whole life. What ungodly ways are your kids becoming fluent in by watching you?
Lastly, did you notice how Jacob’s only concern after the massacre brought by his sons was his own safety from retribution from other cities? No concern for right or wrong or his daughter or God’s righteousness or his own repentance. Jacob doesn’t even rebuke Simeon and Levi until his deathbed in Genesis 49! Way too late! When a hard lesson comes your way due to your lack of good action, do you reflect and seek the Lord or just try to protect your image and blame others?
Lots to learn from this crazy chapter in Genesis 34!