Genesis chapter 34 is a bleak story. While Jacob and his family were sojourning through the land, a Hivite prince named Shechem became infatuated with Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. Shechem forced himself on Dinah and raped her. He then asked his father, Hamor to negotiate a deal with Jacob for the right to marry Dinah, setting a precedent for intermarriage between the two peoples.
When Dinah’s brothers heard of her rape, they were furious. They struck a deal with Hamor, agreeing to intermarry with Hamor’s people under one condition…that all the Hivite males agree to be circumcised. Believing this was an opening to economically take advantage of Jacob, Hamor agreed.
But, when all the Hivite men were recovering from their circumcision, two of Dinah’s brothers came into the city. They slaughtered the Hivite men, looted the city, and retrieved Dinah. The chapter ends with Jacob’s fear of retaliation.
All of the ugliness of mankind is found in this chapter. There are Shechem’s “I-want-it-now” attitude and his violently wanton sexual appetite. There are a people who are willing to over-look wickedness for the sake of closing a deal. There’s Jacob, who seems more concerned about keeping the peace than standing against wickedness. There are two groups of people plotting behind the scenes to take advantage of each other. And perhaps the most disturbing thing of all…there’s no mention of God anywhere in the chapter.
The parallels between this story and today’s world can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. After all, when it gets so bad that God isn’t even mentioned, what can we do?
But therein lies the key to change. We must bring God back into the story, in order to interrupt the falling dominoes of wickedness in our world.
Can you think of one way you can acknowledge God and bring Him back into the story of your life?
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.