Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.”
King James Version
“Dinah: The Daughter Who Disobeyed”
“Our actions disclose what goes on within us, just as fruit makes known a tree otherwise unknown to us.”
Which “actions” in my life have resulted in consequences that have brought blessings?
What “actions” in my life have resulted in consequences that have brought sorrow?
“Prudence must precede all our actions since, if prudence is lacking, there is nothing, however good it may seem, that is not turned into evil.”
“Everyday the choice between good and evil is presented to us in simple ways.”
W, E, Sangster
English Methodist Preacher
Have you ever asked yourself this question, “If I had chosen to do _____________ instead of what I did, I wonder how different my life might be?”
I’m certain all of us can think of decisions we made which we later questioned. Sometimes we’ll think back to a move we made or the choice of the person we married. What we realize quite often, is that even the smallest decisions, can have a huge impact on our lives. I’ll give you an example. The day my husband, Jim, and I were hit by a drunk driver, we were coming home from a long and very tiring business trip. We’d been on the road driving for eight hours and decided not to stop even for a break. A small decision. At the time it seemed insignificant. But if we had been coming down the road 2 or 3 minutes later, what a difference that decision would have made in our lives.
As I have shared with you, out of this disastrous event, Transformation Garden was born and so I believe and trust that God can take the worst that happens to us and use it for His glory.
Having said that, this experience helped me recognize our choices and the decisions we make can, not only affect our lives, but the lives of those around us.
Just think of our study about Eve. I do not believe Eve ever intentionally made a decision to wander to the tree of knowledge of good and evil and get into a discussion with a serpent. She just began to walk. All of a sudden she found herself face-to-face with something she had never expected to see in a tree – a talking snake. It seemed like a small thing to carry on a conversation with this beguiling, seductive serpent. But, what disastrous results from that decision have followed us to this very day.
Then there was Sarah who made a decision to offer Hagar to her husband, Abraham. Custom dictated that this decision was appropriate. Sarah was barren. Hagar could have a baby. Sadly, God’s will wasn’t part of the process – and another disaster followed.
Add to this Lot and his wife who chose to pitch their tent in the Jordan Valley, “looking” toward Sodom. Seems like a small thing to do. Maybe even a convenient thing to do. But before you know it, the entire family was living in Sodom. The kids, married spouses from Sodom. And when the time came to leave Sodom, nobody wanted to go. Just a small choice. But it too, had devastating consequences.
Now we come to another choice, in a long line of flawed decisions. This time it was Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. Genesis 34: 1 has this one, descriptive sentence: “Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land.”
A little background, I believe, is required here. Jacob had two wives, Rachel and Leah, plus two handmaids whom he had fathered children with. At the time of Dinah’s foray to meet the girls of the land of Canaan, we are aware of eleven brothers and no other girls are mentioned. Let’s be honest, if you were Dinah, wouldn’t you be lonely for a little girl talk? Wouldn’t you like to get together with some friends to talk about fashion or love or all the other things we girls like to gab about? I can’t blame Dinah for wishing she had some female company to balance all the boys in her family.
So Dinah made, what at first glance, seemed like a very natural decision. She left her camp to mingle with the girls of Canaan. What was wrong with this choice? I would say that it didn’t seem wrong at all, that is until we look back at and revisit the word, “obedience,” a word we found out means to “listen.” In the case of God’s chosen people, He had told them to remain faithful to Him. Furthermore, there was enough evidence from Dinah’s family history about the results of intermarriage and inter-living with the “people of the land,” to make her question her desire. However, Dinah’s longing for friendship surpassed her longing to “listen” and so off she went, out of the safety of her home and out of the will of God.
Dinah’s decision to “do her own thing” is really a lesson for me. I think we all find ourselves faced with small decisions each day that we believe are inconsequential. We tell ourselves they don’t matter in the big scheme of things. And like Dinah, I too, have later found myself driven by some personal longing rather than being led by the hand of God. Author Edith Stilwell wrote: “Never till time is done, will the fire of the heart and the fire of the mind be one.” This is absolutely true, unless, we choose to have our Heavenly Father be the “Fire” that rules both our hearts and minds.
“From silken self, O Captain,
free Thy soldier,
who would follow Thee;
From love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.”
“Dear Heavenly Father,
As we face each new dawn, we are offered diverging paths upon which to trod. One leads to a partnership with the world and its fleeting prizes. The other leads to immeasurable joy, peace and eternal communion with You in Your Heavenly Kingdom. Each road beckons as we start a new day with promises for our fulfillment.
The world offers to open doors that we may achieve better opportunities. You open windows so that we may soar in the assurance of Your love and grace. The world praises us for self-accomplishment and acknowledges the best that we are. You recognize our selfless accomplishments and see in us the best that we might become. The world keeps us down and You, Lord, lift us up. The world promises shortcuts for many of life’s travels. You teach us that there are no short cuts but the trip is well worth taking. The world teaches us how to put out fires as we race through our daily lives. You teach us how to start fires in the hearts and souls of those around us for the love of Jesus Christ. The world loves us because of who we are. You love us in spite of who we are.
The one road is clearly mapped with worldly rewards at each destination. The other road has no map at all. We ask for Your strength as we choose our daily pathway. Give us discernment, clear minds and hearts, and the ability to keep our eyes focused on You. Help us turn away from the path of the world with its illusion of grandeur, and direct us toward Your path with its inclusion in the grandeur of Your Heavenly Kingdom. This we pray, in Jesus’ precious name. Amen
Touched by God
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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