What I am about to share, I do so with great trepidation, for I am disclosing a part of my heritage that is full of sin, full of pain and continues to this day. As I continue to read in Genesis, I was struck this past week with something so weighty that it tore at my heart. In my humanness, I would much rather just pass this by and move forward, but in my obedience to my Heavenly Father, I must reflect upon this subject. For, in all my years of reading through the Bible, I had never seen what God is showing me to share.
My longing is for my family to grasp what I am about to reveal, but I cannot force myself nor my God on anyone, I can only communicate through my own experience and genealogy what God has impressed upon my heart. In doing so, I am opening myself up to ridicule, to judgment of those who think they are so much better, and to the shame of my past. But in doing so, my hope is to shed light on the darkness of that shame and as it is exposed, not only my family but perhaps yours, will be set free through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Several years ago, I did a DNA test to check on my heritage. Yes, there was question in my mind as to where I came from and I will leave it at that. As I worked on my family history, I started noticing a pattern. A child is born, not naming a father. In those times, they would have said the child was “born out of wedlock”. Then the mother of that child would pass the child on to her mother and leave. It then appears that several generations not only passed their children on rather than face their sin but then had very little or no communication with their child let alone their own mother, who was caring for that child.
To some extent, I am speculating that these women were strong-willed, did not know the Savior, and chose to go their own way concerning morality. Perhaps they were free women, before their time, not held back by the Biblically strong society of that time. Perhaps…
Then enters Dinah, in Genesis 34, she is the daughter of Jacob and Leah (see Gen. 30:21), who takes liberty and “went out to see the daughters of the land”. She was curious as to how the women of the nearby city lived, seems innocent enough, doesn’t it?
For a little background, Jacob had been living in the land of his ancestors (his mother’s family) for 20 years and God had now called him to “return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.” (see Gen 31:3) After wrestling with God (see Gen 32:22-32), Jacob met with Esau in Chapter 33 and finally came into the land of Canaan and stayed near Padan Aram. It appears he is considering on staying here because he purchased a piece of land. Jacob still had some ways to go to his final destination but it didn’t look like he was going any further.
Now, back to Dinah wanting to see how these people lived. The world lives so much differently than we are called to live and sometimes we just want to see what goes on. To experience just a little of the world. To make that choice to go against God’s Word. For aren’t we strong enough to do so without being burned?
Dinah encountered Shechem, “son of Hamor the Hitite, prince of the country,” he saw her and “took her and lay with her, and violated her.” MacArthur explains in his commentary, “Shechem’s action was forcible rape, no matter how sincerely he might have expressed his love for her afterwards (v3) and desire for marriage (vv11,12).” Then, like a spoiled child who knows no shame, he demands, “get me the young woman as a wife.” (v4) (see Gen 34)
The whole transaction that is about to take place, speaks of a self-centered people, is then accentuated by Jacob’s sons as they pretend to make a treaty with Hamor and Shechem so that Shechem can marry their sister. They added fuel to the fire by their ponderings, “spoke deceitfully, because he defiled Dinah” (34:13), as they plotted their scheme to kill all the men of the city and plunder it.
Two wrong do not make a right!
As we close Chapter 34, Jacob’s sons justify their actions by saying, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?” Somewhere in my reading journey, I put this note in my Bible concerning verse 31: when a man has pre-marital sex with a woman, he is treating the woman as a prostitute. Now, that is powerful words and certainly words we don’t want to hear when so many live in such “freedom”.
As we continue into Chapter 35, we see that God, in his Sovereignty, used the events to move Jacob on. This also happened in Abraham’s life, Lot’s life, Job’s life, Joseph’s life and if we look hard, we will see and understand He works the same way in each of our lives.
It strikes me with severe reality as I contemplate my own family history. How many women in my own family were strong women, going against the instruction of the Lord and their family only to find themselves pregnant and having a child? Never once do we consider that we are going against the Lord’s best for our lives. Oh no, we are strong and free, we can do as we please. But there are consequences for such behavior. Maybe you may not feel the sting of those consequences but perhaps your child or grandchild will suffer for such freedom that you took!
When women do not recognize that pre-marital sex is a violation of God’s intended purpose for such a sacred act and allow men to treat them as a prostitute, you not only violate God’s protection but set your future generations up for further violation, defilement and abuse. And all because we were strong, free women.
All this takes us to a rather depressing low point. We see so many focusing on their self-interests, fulfilling their own desires, falling into deep depression and other health issues. They turn to worldly remedies, as sometimes they should, but not once do they think of looking to God for forgiveness. And that is where the answer is, surrendering your self-will to our Heavenly Father, who will forgive you.
As you continue in that surrender and have a desire to do His will rather than your own, you will find peace. He has been waiting for you, never forcing Himself on you, treating you with a respect but longs so deeply for you! Ask Him to forgive your sin and make a choice to turn to Him daily rather than turning to the sin that is so painful in your heart.