2024_05_29 Insight Post- Rusty Coram


This week’s reading- Genesis 34

This week’s reading reminds us of what we see played out around us all the time. Someone does something horrible and evil and is then served a large platter of revenge. Dinah was treated without respect or dignity by both her rapist and his father. She is a commodity to be used and traded. Dinah’s father, Jacob, doesn’t do much better. He is more concerned about his status than his daughter’s well-being. Her brothers are rightly enraged by what has happened, but they go way out of bounds in their quest for justice.

When I read this, what stands out to me is the lack of anyone calling out to God for comfort for Dinah and wisdom in how to address the atrocity. Instead, we see basic human nature playing out. Shechem follows his lust with no concern for honor. His father seeks peace and compromise with self-serving diplomacy (“But if we do this, all their livestock and possessions will eventually be ours.” Genesis 34:23). Jacob, for some unknown reason, cares less for his daughter than his own security and downplays the situation. Dinah’s brothers are rightly angered but choose to pursue revenge without restraint.

How might this have been different if God had been pursued first? It wasn’t as if God hadn’t shown Himself to be present and strong to Jacob. Why didn’t he immediately gather his family and weep and pray with them? Why not go in faith and confront Shechem while bringing their daughter and sister home?

I can most identify with the brothers who “were shocked and furious that their sister had been raped,” but they needed wisdom and God-honoring direction to bridal their (understandable and appropriate) anger. They got none of that. One thing I appreciate about the Bible is that it doesn’t photo-shop out the dysfunctional and broken aspects of people’s lives and families. Being able to read and learn from other’s failures can help us avoid doing the same if we listen and learn.

Rusty Coram
Senior Pastor