Transformation Garden - Feb. 25, 2011

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"And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully…." 
Genesis 34: 13 
King James Version


EXPLORATION

"Deceit Spells Disaster"

"Nothing is so easy as to deceive oneself; for what we wish, we readily believe."
Demosthenes

What consequences have I seen in my life as a result of someone trying to deceive another person?

"Sir, don't tell me of deception; a lie, Sir, is a lie, whether it be a lie to the eye or a lie to the ear." 
Samuel Johnson

INSPIRATION

"The practice of deception was so constant with her that it got to be a kind of truth." 
Louis Erdrich

Have you ever been around a person who made it impossible for you to know whether they were telling the truth?  Unfortunately, I think we all, within our lifetime, run into individuals who lie so frequently and with such ease that we can't distinguish between an honest answer and a blatant lie. 

What I have found, when dealing with an individual who uses lying as a normal way of behaving, is that not only do you lose all confidence in anything they say, but you call into question your own judgment. For if someone tells you a lie long enough, it is our human nature to sometimes believe the lie.  We question our own ability to tell what is truth or error.  This is why "truth" becomes such a cornerstone in the building blocks of our lives. 

As we have witnessed over and over again in Jacob's life, dishonesty, deceit and lying were almost treated as "normal" activities.  Rebecca and Jacob deceived Isaac, their husband and father. Laban deceived Jacob and his two daughters, Leah and Rachel.  And all during their lifetimes, the children involved in today's story, Simeon and Levi, had watched this deceitful behavior unfold.  Lying became a part of their common behavior. 

But there was one other thing these boys also had witnessed.  This was the favoritism and special treatment their father, Jacob, showered upon his beloved wife, Rachel.  Simeon and Levi were Leah's number two and number three sons.  They had been part of the group that was put in front of Rachel and Joseph when Esau, Jacob's brother, came calling with 400 armed men. 

With this background, our story today begins with the father of the love-smitten Shechem, Hamor, coming to commune with Dinah's dad, Jacob.  The Hebrew translation of the word "commune" gives us a broader view of what this little gab session might have been like.  Hamor, in an "arranged" meeting came to "entreat and talk with" Jacob.  This dad came on behalf of his son. 

At this time, Dinah's brothers, Simeon and Levi came in from the field and they got the news of what had happened between Dinah and Shechem.  The Bible, in Genesis 34: 7 says that Dinah's brothers were "grieved and very wroth."  The form of the word wroth, that is used here, means, hot, burning, incensed.  These brothers were furious.  In fact, this word "wroth" is the same word used to describe Cain in his anger toward Abel his brother.  Cain was wroth at Abel because God accepted his offering and we know what happened next.  Cain murdered his righteous brother. 

As we move forward in the story, Hamor said to Jacob and his sons, "The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter; I pray you give her him to wife.  And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you" (Genesis 34: 8, 9, K.J.V.).  Please remember one thing. Abraham's relatives had inter-married with the people in Canaan. So it was very likely Hamor didn't see any problem at all with his family getting hooked-up with Jacob's.  The fact is, the chosen ones, who were to be a "witness for the true God" to the people of Canaan hadn't been very faithful in living up to their God-given responsibility. There was obviously a great deal of confusion as to what the relationship between God's people and the "people of the land" should be. 

Hamor's request, to me, sounds like a father coming to Jacob with a sincere desire.  

Shechem was the next to enter the picture.  He began to speak for himself….  "Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.  Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife" (Genesis 34: 11, 12, K.J.V.). Shechem was basically asking for mercy. 

The next text, Genesis 34: 13, is our lead text for today.  In one sentence, the entire story is told: "And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully…."

Don't get me wrong, Shechem and Dinah's behavior was out of God's will.  But here's where we get to the "truth" of today's story.

It is this: "Two wrongs don't make a right." 

Just because Shechem made a mistake didn't mean it was alright for God's children to be deceitful and lie.  In fact, I'm going to go on record and say that God's people were more at fault because they knew better.  Shechem was a man of the world.  But Jacob's sons were called to be men of God. 

However, instead of living up to their calling, they chose to use deceit, revenge and violence as their weapons, and destruction and fear followed. 

Tomorrow, we will finish our series on Dinah as we uncover the sad result of disobedience, defilement, deceit and destruction.  The 4 D's that can also hinder us from being all God intends.

"Those who love truth more than life itself turn away from the fleeting things of time with all their souls.  To use and expression of Plato - God himself sets their faces in the right direction." 
Simone Weil

AFFIRMATION

"For my deceitful heart and crooked thoughts; 
For barbed words spoken deliberately: 
For thoughtless words spoken hastily; 
For envious and prying eyes; 
For ears that rejoice in iniquity and rejoice not in the truth; 
For greedy hands;
For wandering and loitering feet; 
For haughty looks; 
Have mercy upon me, O God." 
John Baillie 

Your friend, 
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author 
When A Woman Meets Jesus 
mailto:Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com  

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

 
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