- The Word of Faith is not “If” but “Since”
- The Cost of the Choice Based on Outward Appearance
- The Giver of Life
- The Giver of Blessings
- What God Sees
- What Do We Long For? Home
- God’s Token
- Doubting God
- Prayer of Faith
- The Value of Being Alone
- The Value of the Limp
- Signs of the Change
- What Makes a Child of God Stink among the World?
“And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.” (Genesis 34:30)
Was Jacob concerned about God’s honor, or was Jacob afraid for his own life in our text verse? The answer to this question has many faces.
It is true – according to Genesis 49:5-7, wherein Jacob had called “unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days” (Genesis 49:1) – that Jacob had chided Simeon and Levi for their cruel anger, “Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel” (Genesis 49:7a). Then Jacob prophesied, “I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel” (Genesis 49:7b).
But on the other side of this situation, Jacob was more worried about his own welfare than God’s Honor. In Genesis 34:30, notice how many times Jacob referred to himself: four times he used “me”; three times he used “I”; and he used “my” one time.
In Genesis 34:31, Simeon and Levi presented the following as their defense of their actions in Genesis 34:20-29: “And they said, Should he (Shechem) deal with our sister (Dinah) as with an harlot?”
See Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Exodus 22:16-17; Deuteronomy 7:2-11, especially verse 3:
“Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.” (Deuteronomy 7:3)
(The Law of Moses had not been given in Jacob’s day. However, parts of the Law of God had been revealed to Jacob and his sons.)
Clearly Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29 indicate not putting Shechem to death. But, if Jacob refused to give Dinah to Shechem, then Shechem had to pay Jacob. However, according to Deuteronomy 7:2-11, Jacob could not have given Dinah to Shechem, because Shechem was not of Israel.
The conclusions are – Jacob was worried about himself and his family; and Simeon and Levi used God as an excuse to carry out their own murderous heart.
What is the lesson as far as Jacob is concerned? Why did not Jacob correct Simeon and Levi for their murderous heart before God? Was Jacob concerned about God’s Honor, or about his safety? Jacob said, you have made “me to stink among the inhabitants of the land.” Why did not Jacob say, “You have sinned against God, and brought shame to my God; and therefore you have placed all of us in jeopardy in this land of Canaanites and Perizzites”?
The primary focus of this devotion is to answer the question, “What makes us stink before the world?” Is it our stand for truth? Or is it our rebellion to truth, and our actions bringing shame on us as Christians before the world?
The truth of the matter is – we are to be different and separate from this evil world only when the Word of God makes us different. We are not to be different by hiding behind a half-truth; or be different just to be different, just to be noticed.
When we, as Children of God, are different because Truth has made us different, then we are not to worry what the evil world thinks of us, or of our own safety.
Look at an example in Acts:
“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” (Acts 4:19)
“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)
“So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.” (Acts 4:21)
In Acts 5, Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, “had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space” (Acts 5:34). Read Acts 5:35-42, especially 38-42:
“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:” (Acts 5:38)
“But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:39)
“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.” (Acts 5:40)
“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” (Acts 5:41)
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42)
This shows that when God’s Children stand in Truth, and on Truth, and walk in Truth – God defends His People.
But, on the other side, God does not honor sin (and in the case of Genesis 34 – lies, deception, and murder). God proves through Jacob’s prophecy of Simeon and Levi in the “last days,” that He did not approve of their murder of Shechem and all the men of Shechem.
Simeon and Levi were walking in pride, using truth to carry out their wrongful deed. Yes, it was wrong for Shechem to lay with Dinah, a virgin. It was wrong for Shechem to be married to Dinah, the daughter of Israel. But Simeon and Levi murdered Shechem and his men out of pride; not because God commanded it.
So, they brought onto Jacob and his family a “stink“ before the heathen inhabitants of the land.
The conclusion of the matter is this – we must, at all times, stand for God’s Honor; but we must stand for His Honor according to Righteousness and not unrighteousness.
Jacob’s conclusion was correct, but this author submits that Jacob’s first thought was his safety and that of his families. Simeon’s and Levi’s conclusion was jaded through half-truth. Fornication is a sin is God’s eyes; but so is murder.
It behooves all of God’s Children to examine why or what has caused them to stink in the eyes of the world. Is it because they are standing in Truth, and for Truth, and walking therein? Or is it because they have sinned against God, and are using Truth to hide their sin; which brings shame on God and His People?
The truths to learn from Jacob’s response to Simeon and Levi’s lies, deception, and murder of Shechem and his men are:
- Rebuke and exhort the sin and the sinner with Truth;
- Don’t let the first response be the Result of the sinner’s sin, which was shame on Jacob and his family. But let the first response be a Correction of the sin.
The truths to learn from Simeon’s and Levi’s answer and consequent action are:
- Don’t hide behind Truth;
- Respond to Truth and act in Truth;
- Recognize pride, and don’t call it Righteousness.