Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, ‘Get me this damsel to wife.’”
Genesis 34: 2-4
King James Version
“Get Me What I Want!”
“How helpless we are, like netted birds, when we are caught by desire.”
Is there something in my life that I “desired” and yet, I knew that my “desire” was outside of God’s will for my life?
“When a man (or woman) desires anything inordinately, he (or she) is at once unquiet in himself (herself).”
Thomas á Kempis
“As obedient (listening) children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”
I Peter 1: 14
N. I. V.
A beautiful young girl. A dry barren desert. A breeze blows her long hair and the scent of perfume flows through the air. She was a new girl in town. A fresh face. And Shechem, the prince’s son fell for her. He was smitten. If you were a privileged young man in your society, most likely you had few restraints placed on your desires. What you wanted you got! And Shechem knew, without a doubt what he wanted – her name was Dinah.
The Bible tells us 4 things Shechem did:
1. His eyes “saw” Dinah.
2. He “took” Dinah.
3. He “lay” with Dinah.
4. He “defiled” Dinah.
Hold everything for a minute! Does this story remind you of something we studied earlier this year? In case we’ve forgotten, let’s refresh our memories.
It was a beautiful day. The garden was perfect. And there was a tree. A gorgeous tree with luscious fruit, ready for picking. We are told Eve did 4 things:
1. She “saw” the tree that it was good.
2. She “desired” the fruit to make her wise.
3. She “took” the fruit and ate of it.
4. She “hid” because she was ashamed.
Over and over again, as we go from Genesis to Revelation, we will find this same scenario repeated. If you think about it, we do the same thing today in our own lives in the 21st century. We see something – people or possessions. It looks great and we desire it. We want it. So we take it, sometimes even if it belongs to someone else. And the result is, we want to hide as Eve did or we are shamed, as in the case of Dinah.
Some historians try to make the story of Dinah and Shechem into a “he raped her” tale. However, if you read the King James Version of the Bible and then check out the Hebrew meanings of the words, a different picture is painted. And, it is a picture that isn’t as easy for you and me to dismiss as just a story about a rape.
We are told in Genesis 34, once Shechem saw the beautiful Dinah, his male hormones went into overdrive and he wanted to have an intimate relationship with her. Furthermore, the Bible says, he “loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.” Face it, this isn’t the first time a sweet-talking male lured a woman into his bed. What’s more, there’s absolutely no record that Dinah put up any resistance. For all we know, she was very attracted to Shechem. It was a new man. Someone who was smitten with her. In the Bible the words that are used to describe Shechem’s feelings for Dinah are, “and his soul clave unto Dinah.” The Hebrew translation reads like this: “His body and breath pursued Dinah and joined together and stuck with Dinah.” I have to tell you, it is flattering to girls when a handsome, wealthy young man pursues you. And when, with every breath he is taking he longs for you, it makes you want to drop in his arms and be carried away – anywhere, anytime. Face it, we love romance, and someone cleaving unto you, wooing you with all they’ve got, can make a girl weak-in-the-knees. Before you know it, Dinah had gone too far to reclaim her innocence.
The Bible uses the word “defiled” to describe what happened between Shechem and Dinah. If we look up “defiled” in the Hebrew, we are enlightened as to why God said, “Listen to me. Wait! Don’t take what isn’t yours. Don’t go out with the people of the land. Don’t go out and make a ‘harlot’ of yourself with anyone who has honey dripping off their lips.”
The word “defiled” in Hebrew means to weaken, abase, or look down on. Wow! What a revelation to me and I hope to you, too.
First, we found that obedience means to “listen intently.” When I obey God, I will listen to His advice. I will pay attention to what He says for I know and can trust it is for my best good. But there’s more, God told Abraham’s family that they were chosen. They were special. They were blessed. You and I are “heirs” of this promise. We are special and blessed by Heaven, too. So our Father, God, tells us that as His special child, never do anything to bring yourself lower than where I have placed you. God doesn’t want us to abase ourselves, to bring ourselves down. He wants His children to be lights on a hill. He wants us to be “looked-up” to, not “down-on.” He doesn’t want us to be “defiled.”
Never forget, when we see and desire and take what God has not given us, we defile ourselves. And we are ashamed. Then what happens? We hide away because we’re embarrassed and we feel we can’t be all God wants us to be.
Thank God, He doesn’t abandon us, ever – NEVER! Even when we feel we’ve “defiled” ourselves intentionally, beyond repair. No, our Father says, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isaiah 44: 22, K.J.V.). God has delivered us by sending a “Kinsman,” our brother, Jesus Christ to pay the ransom. This promise is great enough to make ALL God’s daughters and sons around the world say, “Thank You! Thank You!”
“This then is the Way of Light: if anyone wants to journey to the place appointed for (her), (she) must work zealously at it. And this is the knowledge that has been given us so that we can walk in this Way. You shall love your Maker, and fear the one who formed you, and you shall give glory to the One who ransomed you from death.”
“Remove every evil desire and clothe yourself with good and holy desire. For if you are clothed with good desire, you will hate evil desire and bridle it as you please.”
Shepherd of Hermas
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul…”
I Peter 2: 11
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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