Friday, January 20, 2012

120120 - Genesis 34-35 - the great purge

S: 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. (Ge 34:30).

And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. (Ge 35:1-5).

O: God's will was that all nations of the world would be blessed through Jacob's offspring. The greater fulfillment of this is of course Christ (Galatians 3:16) but I think the intention was that in a general sense, too, the Jews were supposed to have been evangelistic. This story could be the original basis for all of the "blood libel" <http://bit.ly/zEvVuA> stories and may have been an excuse many Gentiles used to keep from converting to Judaism. It's bad enough to have to undergo circumcision, but to think that the people getting you to do it might take advantage of your recovery to kill you while you're weak - that would be a frightening thought. (See Jacob's curse in Gen. 49:5-7)

Nevertheless, God turned this natural attitude to their advantage by bringing the fear of God upon their enemies as they passed through. Jacob's sons show evidence of his natural cunning and vindictiveness. But Jacob himself has had a change of heart. God did not tell him to purge his family of idols, only to make an altar and worship. In response, it is Jacob who says, "Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clearn, and change your garments." This shows Jacob's changed heart - and God certifies it in verses 8-12 where He repeats the name change and the promise.

A: I and my family are going to make mistakes. If I want God's grace in spite of the mistakes, I need to be on diligent guard for divided hearts. My own, my wife's and those of my children.

P: Lord, you are so full of grace for your people, that you shield us from the consequences of our sin. But even more, that you were willing to make us the conduit through whom the world receives your blessing.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

does dis means d use of earrings is unbiblical?

11:04 AM  
Blogger Mike Skinner said...

Hi, friend! No, I don't think earrings are unbiblical. I think what Jacob did here is to get rid of all the idols in his family, (and those of their servants), along with anything connected with them. Earrings were often symbolic in ancient culture; for instance, a voluntary bondservant (doulos) might wear an earring to show his status in the household.

These earrings were probably symbolic of their commitment to their pagan gods.

11:29 AM  

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