Genesis 33:18-34

"By them (God's Word) is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." (Psalm 19:11)"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Once again we learn from the Old Testament patriarchs and their family what NOT to do. (1 Cor. 10:6-11)

BEWARE OF WORLDLINESS– Jacob the pilgrim bought land and settled down in Shechem in Canaan. Jacob had vowed to the Lord on his way out of the Promised Land (Deut. 28:20-22) that if God would take care of him he would return to the land and establish Bethel as the house of God in the land of Canaan. He probably stopped in Shechem because of the good pasture land for all the livestock the Lord had given him. He also purchased land that the Lord promised to give to them in His time. His lack of patience, faith and obedience sets up the tragic events with Dinah that follow. Her curiosity of the "worldly" women of Shechem got her in big trouble. Lot pitched his tent near Sodom and Jacob near Shechem (both pictures of the world) and it costs them and their family and their testimony.We are warned in Scripture to beware of worldliness and look to the Lord for our heart's desires – ultimately in heaven. "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers."(Psalm 1:1) "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."(Heb. 11:13-16)

To grow up in Christ and be changed into His likeness (which is God's plan for our life -Rom. 8:29) we have to know how to deal with the constant downward pull of the world, the devil and the flesh. We need to be continually motivated to change and grow in Christlikeness to overcome these forces. We must truly believe there is great reward for obeying God and wait for our full recompense in heaven. "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (1 Cor. 15:19)

BEWARE OF PASSIVITY AND INDIFFERENCE AS A FATHER/SPIRITUAL LEADER"Be angry (righteous anger), and do not sin" (Eph. 4:26) Jacob expresses no anger over this and his passive reaction to his daughter being raped is hard to understand.(v. 5) It also seems he was absent when his sons deceitfully and sacrilegiously tricked Hamor and his son Shechem into circumcising all the men in his city. (vv.13-17) But we also see the deceit of Hamor and Shechem and their true motives for intermarriage: "Won't their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us give our consent to them, and they will settle among us." (V.23) Jacob was a wealthy man. "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." (1 Peter 2:1; also see Psalm 15)

BEWARE OF SEEKING REVENGE  BUT WAIT FOR GOD'S JUSTICE -IT IS COMING – "Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male." (V. 25) "Be angry, and do not sin" (Eph. 4:26) Where Jacob was overly passive his sons were overly angry and sinned in their anger. We have God-ordained government as "God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." (Rom. 13:4) In the meantime we renounce personal revenge as commanded by God: "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord." (Rom. 12:19) "But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."(1 Peter 2:20-23)

BEWARE OF PUTTING YOUR CONCERNS ABOVE GOD'S CONCERNS – After his sons' great sin of sacrilegious deceit, mass murder and plunder, Jacob said nothing about God's Name being defamed through his family. He said nothing to his sons about the great sin they committed. He only talked about the concern he had for himself and at least briefly mentioned his family. In fact in the King James version one verse uses the first person pronoun eight times. "And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house." (V.30)


What did the Lord say to you through this message? 

How do you deal with the downward pull of the world?  "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity." (1 John 2:15-17 The Message)

What motivates you to grow spiritually and to be changed into the image of Jesus?

Where do you see men in our culture being spiritually passive as fathers or spiritual leaders? What are some examples of how the Lord wants us to be spiritually active?

What are some of the dangers of seeking personal revenge? How can we rightly seek God's justice?

The world teaches us to look out for #1 (I read a book by that title before I became a Christian). Why don't we have to look out for #1 (our self) as believers?

Scripture memory verse: "By them (God's Word) is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." (Psalm 19:11)



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