Sunday, February 03, 2008

Humanity in Sin Part 41: Dinah's Story

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 27 January 2008 in Newton Life. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: Genesis 34

Dinah is the only daughter of Jacob mentioned in the Scripture. The Bible does not mention whether Jacob had any other daughers. She was curious about the women of the land so took a walk there. But another man was observing her and violated her later on. Her original plan was thwarted and she lost her innocence. Many women go to the city to observe the night life and end up getting raped. That is what often happen. We plan to do one thing but something else occur out of our expectation that cause us to regret.

Beauty is an asset and a grace. But it is also a source of danger. If we are beautiful, people will take notice of us. If we are ugly, in this respect we are very safe. Grace is dangerous. Danger is all around us when we are full of grace. Dinah was not aware of the value and potential danger of her beauty and hence got herself into trouble.

God did not create all of us equally in His distribution of grace. Justice is not about equality. But to whom more is given, more will be asked. God’s grace is linked to His sovereignty. If more is given to us, God will require more from us in the future.

Shechem was not wise as he had no self-control. He succumbed to his desire first before knowing the consequence. But he was a responsible man after all. After violating Dinah, he loved her and wanted to marry her very much. Shechem’s father negotiated with Jacob to allow Shechem to marry his daughter, Dinah, and all of them could live together in their land and intermarry with their daughters.

This case is different from adultery committed by a man who had another woman other than his wife. The Scripture said if those who committed adultery should be put to death. But if a man violated a virgin outside of marriage, the Scripture said he should pay restitution and then marry the woman as wife for life.

Jacob kept quiet when he found out what happened to Dinah. But her brothers were really angry and revengeful. They were not willing to give Dinah to them. They tricked the Shechemites that they had to be circumcised if they wanted to intermarry with them. This is not in line with God’s principle because only the descendants of Isaac were the people of Israel. Shechem were taken in by their deception and due to his good reputation, the people agreed with his proposal to circumcise themselves on one appointed day.

Circumcision is a painful process. When they were in pain, Simeon and Levi, Leah’s sons and the blood brothers of Dinah, went around and killed every male in the city and plundered all their goods. This is a very impulsive act.

If we act based on impulsive emotions, we will cause greater trouble. We need the Holy Spirit to give us the power of self-control. Self-control is the most difficult thing to do.

Simeon and Levi seemed to have great victory but it was not glorious. They acted out of uncontrolled fury. They were not solving any problem but heaping up problems for the future. If we take the place of God in judgement and take revenge on our own, it will become a reason for others to revenge against us. The cycle of violence will happen over and over again. This is not wisdom but a manifestation of foolishness. We need to learn to be like Jesus Christ who submitted all judgement into God’s hands when He was treated so unfairly.

Much violence and bloodshed took place in this passage and it all started with Dinah’s curiosity. Many times our curiosity is the starting point of many disasters and we suffer greatly as a result. We will do well to take heed to control our curiosity when it is not the right time or not for us to know.


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