Response to Folly and Injustice (no audio) Back to all sermons


Date: June 2, 2019

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Genesis

Scripture: Genesis 34:1–34:31

  • Genesis 34
  • Response to Folly and Injustice

1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.”

(Genesis 34:1-4, ESV)

5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, for such a thing must not be done. (Genesis 34:5-7, ESV)

8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife. 9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 Ask me for as great a bride-price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife.”

(Genesis 34:8-12, ESV)

13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone.” (Genesis 34:13-17, ESV)

18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor's son Shechem. 19 And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob's daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his father's house. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people—when every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their livestock, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” 24 And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

(Genesis 34:18-24, ESV)

25 On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem's house and went away. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. 29 All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered.

(Genesis 34:25-29, ESV)

30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

(Genesis 34:30-31, ESV)

Main Point

  • This describes the story of Dinah being sexually assaulted by Shechem
  • They are willing to negotiate with the Israelites
  • The Israelites will only become one people if the men are circumcised
  • Simeon and Levi enact revenge by killing all the males and pillaging the city
  • Jacob shows genuine apathy with the exception of caring about repercussions

Application Points

  • The Company You Keep
  • We begin with the first negative event which took place
  • There may be an indication in the language which does not put her innocently visiting friends
  • Regardless she would have known that the Canaanites were sexual deviants
  • (See Sodom and Gomorrah, Abimelech, etc.)
  • By willingly going to the women Dinah was putting herself in a dangerous situation
  • This is a situation which has hit our modern ears
  • “What was she wearing?” “Why did she put herself in that kind of a situation?”

Application Points

  • The Company You Keep (2)
  • “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20, ESV)
  • If we put ourselves in danger then the likelihood of something terrible happening is increased
  • It is a reflection that the probability of harm increases the more foolish we are
  • We cannot assume everything will go well if we make poor choices
  • Some lifestyle choices are more likely to lead to terrible consequences when compared to others
  • The positive is there too, walking with the wise leads to wisdom
  • The local congregation…gives wisdom which would otherwise be unattainable

Application Points

  • The Company You Keep (3)
  • This is something we need to prepare our children for now rather than later
  • It’s not about bubbling them off from the world, but teaching them to walk wisely in the world
  • First: By parents and grandparents who seek to walk wisely in this world themselves
  • By setting an example we can help them become familiar with wisdom
  • Second: By teaching them proper doctrines and teaching them the Scriptures
  • It reflects the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ
  • Christian theology and philosophy further builds upon the great foundation which is the Scriptures

Application Points

  • The Company You Keep (4)
  • We have a lot of work to do as individuals walking in a dark world
  • Thanks be to God that we have the strongest Light in Christ
  • We are not alone in this endeavor for ourselves, or our children
  • Praise be to God for God’s help in our attempts to glorify Him with our lives

Application Points

  • Unwarranted
  • While it is true foolishness leads to higher probability of harm being done
  • It is never acceptable for a woman to be sexually assaulted
  • Wisdom and folly
  • What we often assume is that one who does folly will automatically do evil
  • Folly increases the likelihood of sin
  • When it comes to women living questionable lifestyles…it is foolish choices
  • In such a case the individuals overabundance can lead to sin, but it is the sin of the person who assaults her and theirs alone which causes that assault to take place

Application Points

  • Unwarranted (2)
  • When a rape victim is raped the only one to blame is the rapist
  • There is no human who has warrant for wicked behavior against another
  • It doesn’t matter what friends were around her at the time etc.
  • There is no warrant for taking advantage of an individual in such a situation
  • In our society there is a stigma concerning sexual assault
  • There is a difference between justification and warrant
  • I can be justified in thinking goats blood will reduce the risk of cancer because I heard it all my life
  • Does that give warrant? No

Application Points

  • Unwarranted (3)
  • The same is true of sexual assault
  • We allow justification to mean warrant and by doing this it leads to individuals who commit these crimes to get off with easy/no punishments
  • 1. Justification: “She was drunk at the party and was asking for it.”
  • 2. Justification: “Taking advantage of someone in such a situation is evil.”
  • Warrant: The latter because we know taking advantage of such individuals is sinful
  • Unfortunately, when so many people allow justification to mean warrant it leads to many kinds of abuses
  • We could even go beyond sexual assault and include any kind of evil as long as there is justification for them it is allowed

Application Points

  • Unwarranted (4)
  • Another example may the people themselves
  • How did Jacob find out about Dinah before Shechem and Hamor come to him?
  • The people of the city likely knew it happened…and did nothing
  • Is this because they found justification in the action by saying, “That is our culture?” or “Shechem is honored so we won’t do anything about it?”
  • Even if their culture were not against such practices, it doesn’t give them warrant because God defines what is moral, not culture

Application Points

  • Unwarranted (5)
  • When it comes to the story we can and should recognize the act of Shechem is abominable
  • We should recognize those who are taken of cannot be at fault for the sins committed against them by others
  • Even if they have justification for their actions, in the end they are unwarranted

Application Points

  • Justice
  • We can see how Shechem was at fault for the sin
  • How Dinah acting as she did led to a higher likelihood of something happening
  • But there is a question…what can we do?
  • There are many victims (women especially) who are assaulted in such a way
  • Consider how every two minutes a child is exploited in the sex industry.
  • Every. Two. Minutes.
  • What should our response be?
  • Instead of Jacob we should be individuals who seek justice
  • While Simeon and Levi were overzealous, we can say they were desiring something to be done

Application Points

  • Justice (2)
  • The actions of Simeon and Levi remind us that they did something
  • We are called to be Salt and Light in the world
  • To seek justice
  • It is our responsibility to speak out against evil acts of sin which occur and call injustice exactly what it is
  • It means that we are to be there for the victims
  • To walk with them on their long roads to recovery and healing
  • Support them with tears and welcome arms
  • To be seekers of justice for each other, and the world around us

Application Points

  • Justice (3)
  • We need to seek the evidence and follow where it leads, allowing every person to tell their story
  • If the evidence points to assault, then we should be the first to demand justice
  • If it leads elsewhere, then we should demand justice wherever it leads to
  • What we should never do is demand silence from individuals who have been, or potentially been, victimized
  • There should not be a stigma in them telling their stories, instead, they should feel free to speak out and be encouraged to do so with the hope that the truth and justice would come to bear

Application Points

  • Justice (4)
  • I think all I can say is…I look forward to the kingdom of God being fully revealed in the second coming of Christ
  • I look forward to a world where women feel safe in their own skin
  • Where children can be safe to live
  • To a time when these stories no longer exist, but are a distant memory of a world gone awry
  • My hope for today is that we would stand firm on truth
  • That we would desire righteousness and justice
  • I hope we can be strong and stand against darkness
  • I hope that the love of Christ and His peace would come upon all the broken, the hurting, the victims of evil, and that they would find comfort in the God who loves us so much through His Son Jesus Christ

Application Points

  • The Gospel of Christ
  • Origins
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Glorification