Did God call Jacob to go to Shechem?
Okay, technically it’s in the promised land.
But it’s not where God called Jacob to go.
He was supposed to travel to Hebron.
And as we have already seen, in the final analysis, this “partial obedience” resulted in the rape of his daughter and the unlawful massacre of a whole town.
I find Jacob’s indifferent attitude and behavior to be quite peculiar throughout this horrific story of Dinah’s rape and the subsequent events that unfold.
When Jacob hears the news about his daughter, there is no sign of outrage or anger.
Why is Jacob so indifferent?
The culture in the Mideast was such that it is not just the daughter who is defiled, but the whole family was violated.
Yet Jacob does nothing.
Instead it is his sons who take the upper hand and tell King Hamor that there is no way they can intermarry with his people unless they become circumcised.
Again, my question is why this huge failure on Jacob’s part to step in and exercise proper authority in his home?
And after the massacre, when Jacob rebukes his sons, it is very apparent that he is only thinking about himself and his reputation in the land.
“Since I don’t have many people,
they’ll align themselves together against me and attack me;
and I will be destroyed, I and my household.”
He is only concerned about himself.
Notice also that he rebukes his sons but he never rebuked King Hamor and Shechem for what they did to his daughter.
There are so many take-aways we can glean from this incident at Shechem.
Here are just a few.
First, as a youth, just as Jacob had practiced deceit, so too do his two sons dishonor themselves and him by deceiving the people of Shechem.
Second, I think this is a good example of failed leadership in the home and what happens when one becomes too self-centered instead of God-centered.
A self-centered person is usually timid and concerned about protecting himself, his property, his reputation, his money and is always concerned about what other people think of him.
A God-centered person is free to be bold for the Lord and is generous with his or her time and money and cares little about how others regard him.
Third, this incident is a perfect example of how “partial obedience” is just plain disobedience, period!
If Jacob had settled in Hebron instead of Shechem like he was supposed to, this whole ugly mess wouldn’t have occurred in the first place.
Fourth, (and this one’s my favorite) in the story of Jacob and moving forward, we see how in spite of Israel’s gross imperfections and weaknesses, God still loves them, protects them and powerfully works through them.
“Adonai didn’t set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people — on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. Rather, it was because Adonai loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors.“-Deuteronomy 7:7-8
I find this greatly reassuring because I know how weak, selfish, egotistic, prideful, stupid and sinful a human being I am.
I have done so many shameful things (and continue to do) in my life that I would be embarrassed to share these incidents with anybody.
Just as He did with Israel, I am counting on the grace of God to get me through this life.
He carried me yesterday, He carried me today, and I am counting on YHVH to carry me tomorrow.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN GENESIS CHAPTER 35