Posted by: arieliondotcom | January 9, 2013

Taking Pleasure

In Chapter 32, we leave Jacob having been renamed Israel (struggles with GOD) after a miraculous struggle with a presence called a man but acknowledged to be GOD. For the first time, Jacob uses his new name for the land he settles down in after evading his brother Esau through trickery again. But here we see he is called Jacob again. Why? Perhaps the chapter is out of order? Or perhaps he has gone back to his old ways.

We know he has continued to have children with Leah. Now he has a daughter, Dinah, who is raped by Shechem, the son of the prince of the land. Shechem could have legitimately met and married any woman of his own people but instead feels lust for Dinah and rapes her. And note that it says after raping and humiliating her he thinks he “loves” her. And this is a key point. Sex equals love to him. In fact the Hebrew word used here for “love” could be “hungry” or “thirsty.” He begins to speak intimately to her because he has been physically intimate with her. But he knows nothing about being a man, or being respectful of another human being, especially a woman. But in his head they are now in love though he has brutalized her and they know nothing about each other. This is why Scripture warns throughout against lust. It makes you feel intimate where there is no real intimacy. And it doesn’t only apply to sex. Immediate satiation of lust (the desire for the inappropriate), for people or things, always leads to harm.

He adds insult to injury, literally, by keeping her prisoner in his family home, convincing his father and his countrymen he wants her for a wife.

We hear nothing of any of Dinah’s reactions to any of this. But we know her father, Jacob, hears of what has happened and though rightfully outraged can do nothing. He waits until his sons, now grown, return from the fields where they’re keeping the cattle. (Note that they’re being raised to be domestic as he was rather than hunting like Esau). And they resemble their Dad in another way, too, because they trick Shechem, his father, and their countrymen. They say they agree to give Dinah to marry Shechem and even agree to continue to intermarry as long as all the men of their now unspoken enemies are circumcised as they are. (GOD had required this of their great-grandfather Abraham for all male descendants).

These people agreed to even this because they had a trick planned of their own. As Shechem had taken Dinah they planned to take what Jacob and his sons had. So they allowed themselves to be circumcised and while still in pain were slaughtered by Jacob’s sons and everything that had been theirs…including their women…were now in the camps of Jacob and his sons. Perhaps one of the reasons Jacob is called by his original name (“one who takes another’s place”/supplanter) is to remind us that in his sons acting like him with trickery and with his worries about their reputation rather than Dinah’s or trusting GOD, he was acting like his old self rather than godly minded.

Lust, whether for sex (including porn), or objects, or position, or reputation is always harmful and never godly. It’s like handling explosives. In the Army, when encountering explosives Soldiers are told to do three things: Recognize the danger; Retreat from (don’t stay near or touch) it and tell someone in authority. When faced with the desire for quick pleasure, believers should Recognize the danger; Retreat (don’t stay in the tempting situation and don’t touch) and Report (pray to GOD and, if appropriate, mature Christians/counselors).

Taking pleasure that’s not given will bring heartache. You will learn to give yourself to sinful satisfaction rather than build the true strength of earning intimacy.

Genesis 33

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