Genesis 34 — God’s Grace on Halfhearted Believers

by | Sep 25, 2020

READ Genesis 34

Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully because he had defiled their sister Dinah.  (Genesis 34:13)

This is one of the toughest chapters in the Bible. One commentator even said, “I doubt if any preacher who had proper discernment ever drew anything worthwhile from this chapter.” You’ll never find this chapter in a children’s book or hear it on Christian radio. Because the sin of Jacob and his family gets worse than it’s ever been before (and it was pretty bad before!).

This chapter is a virtual catalog of sins. Apathy in the face of sexual assault gives way to anger, deceit, blasphemy, and mass murder. Which is then followed by greed and theft. All committed by the halfhearted believers in God’s chosen family. Jacob sets up an altar to God in chapter 33, but his faith doesn’t seem to affect his actions at all in chapter 34. His sons talk about religious rituals like circumcision, but not about how these symbols point to the one true God. In fact, God’s name isn’t even mentioned once in this chapter!

In spite of all this, God shows love and mercy toward Jacob’s halfhearted family. In the following chapters God continues to bless and protect them. He even commissions the descendants of (mass-murderer) Levi to be the priestly tribe of Israel. But there’s much pain for Jacob and his family before that happens.

Maybe you’re living as a halfhearted believer. You do many of the religious things that religious people are supposed to do, but there’s not a hunger and thirst for God that’s driving you. You say you follow God, but you’re mostly concerned with making your own life secure and comfortable. Well, God loves you so much that he won’t allow you to keep worshiping yourself while you’re worshiping him. He’ll do whatever it takes to transform you. For the rest of the book of Genesis, God’s going to keep chipping away at Jacob’s heart, bringing crisis after crisis and tragedy after tragedy. You have the chance to avoid all that. Start living your life to glorify God instead of yourself right now, and see the blessings God brings!

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