Rash Decision

Genesis 34:13-31

13Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.”

18Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. 21“These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.” 24All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.

25Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

30Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” 31But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”

Hog Trap

Year 2019 is the year of pig according to traditional Chinese Zodiac. Wild pigs have become destructive that there’s no need for license to hunt them in many areas in Canada accordingly.

Using a very large hog trap can be an effective means to hunt wild pigs or boars. Pigs are attracted to food and they do not think about danger. They just want to satisfy their craving. Such is like rash decision, if you would accept it.

Rash decision is a hasty, reckless or indiscreet action or without any consideration of consequences. There’s no precautionary measure in making decision. Pigs don’t need to think. They just want to satisfy their craving for food.

It says in Proverbs 14:15, 15The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.

While Proverbs 27:12 says, 12The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

It also teaches in Proverbs 21:5, 5The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

The term ‘poverty’ can also mean ‘deficiency’ or lack of anything. Poverty is insufficiency as oppose to sufficiency and abundance. Have you ever come out of the house during winter without proper winter clothing? It’s a simple idea of the tragedy of rash decisions as oppose to careful planning which requires diligence.

As soon as they heard what happened to their sister, Jacob’s son came in from the field while Hamor and Shechem were talking to Jacob. They made a rash decision when they cannot wait for Jacob to speak after Hamor told them that Shechem wanted Dinah as his wife. Shechem said in Genesis 34:11-12, 11“Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”

When Jacob did not respond, his sons required a deceitful condition.

1. Condition

13Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.”

Rash Decisions are often sparked by intense emotion, sadness, anger, or excitement. The sons of Jacob were furious that an outrageous thing in their culture happened to their sister. They felt the same thing to avenge their sister. They were wise not reveal such intention when they required circumcision.

The practice of circumcision that Jacob’s sons required did not surprise Shechem and Hamor. Althought, they did not practice it, they could have an idea about circumcision. Abraham and Isaac practiced it and it could have known in Canaan. The Lord required all males in Abraham’s household to be circumcised.

It says in Genesis 17:23, 23On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.

After he heard what happened to his daughter Dinah, Jacob may have been still in shock that he did not perceived the scheme his sons were planning to avenge their sister when they required Hamor, Shechem and all males in their city should be circumcised. Jacob may have been praying but his sons decided.

As the head of his household, Jacob should have decided what should be done. Why did God let Jacob undecided pertaining to the desire of Shechem to marry Dinah? Did God allow Jacob’s sons to decide deceptively to teach us the need to always seek the will of Lord when we are faced with unfamiliar situation?

Most preachers advise believers to use the Scripture as manual for Christian lifestyle. Yet, there many modern activities, events, things or ideas that are not mentioned in the Bible. Lotto, cigars, cruise, computer, cellphone, TV, etc. What are things you are confuse about that the Scripture has not mentioned?

What should believers do if the Bible does not prescribe or specified about a situation, events, things or ideas? It is advisable to seek enlightenment from the Lord. It says in Numbers 9:8, 8Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the Lord commands concerning you.”

The concern of the Israelites was about participating in the Passover feast and Lord’s appointed time. It so happened that some Israelites were ceremonially unclean because the touched the dead bodies of their relatives. That was new to

Moses, so first, he asked the Lord about it and told the Israelites what God said.

It also teaches us in 1 Timothy 5:22, 22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

Why did Paul warn Timothy about “Laying on of hands?” In the preceding verses, Paul gave instructions about selection of elders. In the succeeding verse, Paul warned about false teachers. Some respected theologians interpret that Paul was pertaining to selection of church leaders or reinstatement of church members who have been expelled or disciplined by the church.

Can we also conclude that it’s not Christian lifestyle to have rash decision?

After Jacob’s son offered a deceitful scheme, Hamor and his son Shechem were satisfied and compromised with the requirement of Jacob’s son.

2. Compromise

18Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city.

Perhaps, Hamor and his son Shechem may have also been curious about circumcision even before but they never took it seriously before Jacob’s sons required of them. The men in the city may have been talking about it also. That’s why they knew how to circumcise others and were willing to be circumcised.

Interestingly, Shechem was described as the most honored among his siblings and relatives. He may have been doing great or honorable things favorable to the people of Shechem, except for what he has done to Dinah. Yet, his honorable reputation did not prevent him from making rash decision also.

21“These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.” 24All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.

When all the men in the city agreed with Hamor and Shechem, it presents an idea that they have great respect to every decision made by Hamor and Shechem. When they were given the idea, “to allow Jacob and his household settle among them,” they agreed as beneficial to them and their family. Why?

Jacob had many livestock that they can buy cheaply. The women in Jacob’s household, his daughter and the daughters of his servants were beautiful. Jacob’s sons and the sons of his servant were handsome. That was not bad idea for them to be intermarried with the household of Jacob.

Together with Hamor and his son Shechem, they compromised and agreed to the condition required by Jacob’s son just to establish good rapport among them. Rash decision can victimize anybody, great or simple minded.

Jacob was a believer of God but his children displayed that they were vulnerable to making rash decision. So, anybody can make rash decision.

How can we avoid making rash decisions? How do great leaders decide? Would great leaders decide rashly? Godly leaders wait upon the Lord’s signal.

Joshua

One great leader in Israel who made great decisions was Joshua. Joshua saw how rebellious the Israelites were when Moses was still leading and it could have frightened him that but the Lord chose him as leader after Moses died.

God knew that Joshua could be frightened, that was why He told him in Joshua 1:7-9  7“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua may have thought if he would be successful in the mission God has given him or even thought about the future of his family so that the Lord assured him to be successful and prosperous if he carefully obeys the law.

We need leaders like Joshua who don’t decide rashly but make decisions in accordance to the Scripture. Pray that church leaders and government leaders would spend much time meditating on the word of God. It says in Joshua 6:27:

27So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

People who wish to become famous would take daring selfies or attempt extreme sports, and post them in their social media accounts. Yet, many famous celebrities are not satisfied with their fame. Others are frustrated. In contrast, fame or greatness as result of obeying the Lord has eternal significance.

Believer’s lifestyle prescribed by our Creator is written in the Scripture. The believer’s lifestyle that the Lord has designed is the most wonderful life we can ever experience in this world. Only by faith, we believe such truth and practice it.

Jacob had a blessed life because he trusted and obeyed the Lord. His sons knew and experienced it. Yet, because of furious desire to take revenge, they made a rash decision that scared Jacob of possible Canaanite attack.

Confident and excited when they heard what Jacob’s son required, Hamor, Shechem and the men of their city had decided immediately to be circumcised. And as a result, they suffered the consequences of their rash decision.

3. Consequence

25Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

The fury of Jacob’s sons was deadly. It’s not mentioned but perhaps, they just cannot stand the arrogance of Shechem. Simeon and Levi were Jacob’s sons with Leah. Jacob didn’t have warm affection with Leah as compared to his love for Rachel. Is it possible that Simeon and Levi were emotionally affected by Jacob’s treatment of their mother so that they were also angered by injustice?

30Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” 31But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”

Simeon and Levi may have taken care of their sister Dinah so much like a princess so that they cannot accept any disrespect toward her. Perhaps, Dinah may have been very affectionate and caring sister also to Simeon and Levi.

Yet why did God allow those terrible decision made by Jacob’s children? Being a believer of God, did Jacob teach his children properly? His children may have observed that he decides on his own and never asked for other’s opinions. Jacob may have taught them that he prays for God’s guidance before deciding.

Most of the time, Jacob made decision after hearing from God. In contrast, his children made rash decision without God’s warning. Did God allow such contrasting situation for us to compare and learn that it is for our betterment to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, especially when making crucial decisions?

Clear Vision 2020

As a church, the Mission Team came up with the idea Clear Vision 2020. Next year (2020), we wish to send out short-term missionaries to the Philippines. Some of you may have considered about joining. Start praying for enlightenment. Mission is God’s work. In the Lord’s work, God chooses His workers. How?

How do we know when God chooses missionaries? In Acts 13:1-4, 1Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. 4The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.

Observed: Barnabas was one of the spiritual leaders in the church while Saul (later called Paul) was not mentioned as one of the church leaders. Yet, who set apart both Barnabas and Saul? The Holy Spirit! What does it imply?

When God chooses missionaries, spiritual leaders and ordinary believers are candidates for missions. Barnabas was helpful mentor in the early spiritual life of Saul. But when God deemed that Saul has mature, they parted ways and Saul started to disciple Silas, Timothy, and Luke among others.

The activities of Barnabas and Saul who later became Apostle Paul were included in the Bible as testimony of God’s work in their life.

What can we learn from their testimony included in the Bible?

When we decide and do things in accordance to the will of God, whatever we do will be added to the things that God considers as worthy to be rewarded.

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of what the Lord Jesus declared in Revelation 22:12: 12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

This year 2019, let each of us be focused on lifestyle that God approves. The Bible serves as our guidance through the enlightenment of the Spirit of Christ. May God give us joy, desire and enthusiasm to read more of His Word!

Surely, we will face challenges, troubles, and difficulties as we live a lifestyle prescribed by the Lord in His word. We face spiritual warfare every day.

King David, the greatest warrior in his generation testified in Psalm 21:1-5, 1The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! 2You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. 3You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. 4He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—length of days, forever and ever. 5Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.

Heart desire, rich blessing, crown, long life, victories, glory, splendor and majesty, practical things many people desire were added into the life of King David when he chose to do the will of God.

Have you discovered what God has already prepared for you personally?

Pray and ask God to strengthen your faith to trust Him and obey His word!

><(((‘> … ><(((‘> tmec\2019 <‘)))>< … <‘)))><

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