Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 14

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It’s the weekend! Welcome to Day 14 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 34, 35, 36; Luke 14 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

Genesis 34, states that one of Jacob’s daughters, Dinah, is raped… v 31 says she was “treated like a prostitute.” I’m wondering about this… Why her brothers didn’t categorize this incident as rape as it states in v 2? Rape and prostitution are two different things.

Regardless, when Dinah’s brothers and dad got wind of this situation they angry. Wondering if they were more angry at how she was treated, or more unhappy that it was with whom it happened. More angry that she had been “defiled” by a foreigner, someone not of their tribe, who had no belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Or the circumstance surrounding this encounter itself?

“Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family.” Why would the “most honored son” commit an act like this?? This is such a sad situation all the way around… My heart sinks… Was this out of character for him??

“18 Their proposal [setting a price for her to be his wife, agreement between these people, that they be circumcised] seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, [being circumcised] because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter.” He was delighted with HER, but I’m wondering how she was with HIM? And where is Jacob in all this. No indication as to his feelings about her being “defiled” v 5.

Then Jacob’s sons (Simeon and Levi) go off and attack them after they had made an agreement? Where is the honor in that? They killed all the men of the city, including Shechem and his father, and took their sister back home.

Wondering about Dinah’s future. Were Simeon and Levi justified in doing what they did?

Note that Jacob did not thank them for what they did OR for getting his daughter back. He chastised them for “bringing trouble upon ME.” Upon ME?? It’s so easy to make situations about ME.

Sometimes when the Bible doesn’t record the detail I want it to, just causes me to wonder about the details. This whole story is so tragic.

BUT… Then God speaks to Jacob and tells him to go back to Bethel, the place God had revealed himself to him as he was fleeing Esau twenty-some years before. (Remember it had been twenty years since they had seen each other. Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel/Leah, then 7 more for Rachel, then worked another 6 for their father.)

Genesis 35, Rachel and Isaac both die in this chapter. Rachel during childbirth, but not before naming her last born son… So sad… Also records the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob/Jacob’s sons).

Genesis 36, records Esau’s lineage… Note: God’s faithfulness continues in Esau’s life.

Luke 14, This question of “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath” comes up again! Jesus brought it up, as he knew he was being watched closely… A good opportunity, right in a Pharisee’s house. Chapter 13 Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath in the synagogue in chapter 13…

Jesus took note of the seats they chose at this dinner… Vying for position. Told them to not just invite your family, or the rich and powerful, but the poor, the lame, the blind… those that may never receive an invitation. Jesus very clearly stated that those who were invited to the Great Banquet in the Kingdom would not be there… Referring to the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Teachers of the Law. They knew about God, they knew “the Law” but not the One who gave it. Remember the “woes?” “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Matthew 23:13

Consider the cost of following Christ. I know what it has cost me and my family over the years… but it has never cost us our lives as in some parts of the world. We have it relatively easy here… except for being ridiculed by our culture for our beliefs.

O bservation

Always good to go back to where God revealed himself to us. Back to His word. Back to fellowshipping at church, drawing close to God in worship, living according to His word. Going back to that place of remembering what God has done for us.

Jesus always reserved his strongest language for the religious people. Note to self.

A pplication

Be very careful about the decisions we make… Dinah’s decision to “visit the women of the land” had huge repercussions for her and her family, even the people of that land. Just think, all their men were killed. What did they do then?

Walking it out faithfully combats all the cultural stigma of being a Christian. Building a good reputation as one who is a believer and walks it out. Serving the community, serving the poor, being a resource, not a know it all, not self-righteous or pious. A humble servant.

P rayer

Lord, give me wisdom and insight as I read your word… Help me to not miss the forest for the trees. To not get so caught up in the details that I would miss what you are saying to me. Help me to make smart decisions. To not go off as Dinah or Jacob’s sons did…

P.S. I pondered Genesis 34 for a long time this morning… Keep in mind, that’s what this journal is… my ponderings. I wonder about a lot of things… Why did Dinah go? What was her motivation? What were all the circumstances surrounding this incident? How did Jacob feel internally and why is his reaction not recorded when his sons brought her back?? Etc, etc, etc… I’m always looking for the timeless spiritual principle for my life in every passage. What can I learn from this? 

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5 thoughts on “Day 14

  1. I was struck by God’s response to the debacle of Jacob’s sons (Gen 34). In their anger over the defilement of their sister, Jacob’s sons sinned heinously. Not only did they devise a plot to kill an entire community of men, but their deception was based on religiosity! The deal that they worked out with Shechem involved circumcision – the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham! So not only did the brothers sin by plotting deceptively and then committing mass murder, but they made a mockery of God’s covenant! I would have expected the wrath of God to fall upon them. But God’s response to Jacob, father of these wayward sons, was “go to Bethel and worship.” I hear God saying, “return to me, Jacob; re-commit your ways to me; seek my presence.” As the spiritual head of the household, Jacob was being called back to the One Who is the source of unconditional love and who IS unconditional Love – the only One who can order right relationships.

    The application to me is that when I mis-use love and/or behave badly in my loving relationships, that God shows me His agape love (His unconditional love) anyway. Look how Shechem mis-used his love for Dinah; look how Jacob’s sons, prompted by their love for their sister, acted sinfully. I need God to show me the ways in which I take advantage of those I love or manipulate them to get my way or abuse their trust . . .

    God, help me to maintain holiness in my loving relationships and to love unconditionally, even when it’s hard, when there are obstacles, or when it’s challenging. God, whenever I become angry, help me to not sin but to choose love. Thanks, God.

  2. Nicole on said:

    Gen 34,35-rape. murder. revenge. looting.

    Revenge is not the answer. Let God take care of evil acts.

    Gen 35:3 “I’m going to build an alter there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I have gone since.”

    Gen 35:5 “A paralyzing fear descended on all the surrounding villages so that they were unable to pursue the sons of Jacob.”

    A father’s faith, his sacrifice, his prayers…cover his children. God hears. He answers. Lord, don’t let me forget this. Even when my boys make choices that I know are not what you want, I do not need to worry. I do not need to live in fear. God is our defender and protector. He’s got the whole world in his hands.

    Gen 35:14-15-Once again Jacob is setting up a pillar that he pours an offering on, anoints and dedicates to God. This makes me want to do this at my house. So our land is dedicated to and will be blessed by God.

    Luke 14:11 “What I am saying is, if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

    Lord, help me to be myself. Help me not to focus on what others are doing, help me to get rid of unnecessary expectations. Help me to be me. Who you made me to be.

    Luke 14:33-“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple.”

    This reminds me of the amish people. They know that their children are not theirs. They are a gift from God. Everything we have is a gift from God. So there should be no pressure to be in control. God is in control. He owns it all. I am just responsible to train, love and nurture my children. God holds their future in his hands. Not me. Show me your plans, Lord.

  3. Rebecca on said:

    I was surprised at first to see Ishmael’s daughter had married Esau (Gen 36:3) – the blood of the two first born, but without a birthright, is joined together. It is interesting to see how stories repeat themselves in history; it seems God is always reminding us of His big picture. I noticed it once again when Esau and Jacob separated like Lot and Abraham because their possessions were too great to be supported by the same land (Gen 36:6-7).

    Lord, I trust in your big picture, even if right now doesn’t make sense to me.

  4. Cheryl Dunlap on said:

    Jacob was afraid because they were outnumbered, and his situation seemed impossible after his sons killed the men with Shecham. Yet, God provided protection for Jacob’s people by “a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.” For me, its a reminder that when I am afraid, alone, and feel outnumbered… God is with me.

    Father, thank You for Your loving protection.

  5. The SOAP process helps me to not simply read the words, but dig deeper. We are to try to put ourselves in the story and see how we feel about the situations. I wondered if we truly could see Rachel’s grave today. It is located in the West Bank. If I could see monuments or things like that does that mean we would believe? They say we cannot prove God exits. If we could then what would be the point of faith? I wonder if people see speaking in tongues as proof of God. I do not need proof. I know what I know and its truth to me.

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