Athlete, Take Time to Pray

*This series was written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virginia

Read Genesis 34

This is among the most difficult chapters to read in the Bible. The wickedness of the Canaanites, specifically the Hivite people, is on full display in this chapter. The wording could not be more clear that Shechem son of Hamor raped Dinah ("saw ... took ... violated"). Dinah, a very young woman, was probably unwise to venture into the Canaanite area. However, Bruce Waltke argues in his Genesis commentary that Jacob lacked leadership here and set a poor example by intermingling with the Canaanites when he moved to Shechem instead of returning to Bethel, where the Lord had appeared to him and where he had made a vow to build an altar to the Lord (Genesis 28). The Lord has to push him back to Bethel in the next chapter.

It's hard to blame Simeon and Levi for their outrage and revenge, in light of the atrocity of rape, and we must admit that it was a clever and fitting plan.  Nevertheless, they abused the sign of God's covenant and took judgment into their own hands. There would come a time when the sin of the Canaanites reached its full measure and God would call Israel to be his agents of judgment, just as He much later calls Assyria and Babylon to be his agents of judgment against Israel, but now is not that time. Dinah's brothers should have gone before the Lord in their outrage and sought an orderly judgment against the sole offender. Again, Jacob's leadership over his children appears to be lacking.

Questions for Reflection & Prayer

1. Take time to pray for victims of rape and sexual abuse and sex trafficking. Where are you not fully trusting in and submitting your sexuality to the Lord?  Are you putting yourself in places where you will be tempted to compromise?  Take time to confess, receive forgiveness and healing in Christ, repent and ask for the Spirit's wisdom and power to flee from temptation.

2. You may have never taken revenge in such drastic form as Simeon and Levi did, but how have you taken judgment into your hands in your relationships with others?  Take time to remember that God will judge all things perfectly and that Jesus has taken your judgment on the cross.

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