Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Proper Perspective and Two Brothers with Swords

Trying to get back in the swing of things here. Had a busier than usual past week or so, but let's get back to it.

An interesting point was made a few weeks back at the men's bible study I attend. We're studying men of the Old Testament. The teacher began his examination of Adam by saying that none of the men we will study are perfect. Only one man in the whole of human history was perfect and that man is the Savior of all mankind–Jesus Christ. He said each of these men are regular guys. They are flawed just as we are flawed. They made mistakes just as we make mistakes. But we have hindsight's perspective and hindsight is always 20/20, so in this bible study we are seeking to learn from the strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures of each man we study.

It's a valid point to remember as we read through the Bible. None of these men are to be put on a pedestal. Yes, God chose them as servants and some did great things, but he's also called us to be his servants. He's called you and me to follow the example of Christ and to submit our will to his. We are capable, just as Abraham and Moses, of doing great things for God.

So as we read on let's just consider the men we encounter like the guys at the office. Let's think of the women as our wive's girlfriends. Regular people, but people who were called by God to do extraordinary things in his name and for his name sake.

Genesis 34
So Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, decides to pack a lunch, venture out and make some friends. So apparently she is by herself and the prince over the area took notice of her and raped her. But instead of being casted aside he loves her and longs for her.

News of this makes makes way to her eleven brothers who become enraged. They weren't going to have anything to do with the people of Shechem, nor their offer to marry each other's daughters.

Strangely Jacob is silent during this exchange. He doesn't respond when an offer is made and he doesn't step in when his sons seem to be negotiating with Shechem and Hamor. Surely the right thing to do would have been to refuse any offer made for Dinah and possibly even ask for a price in return for defiling her. But Jacob does neither. He let's his sons do the talking.

They call for the circumcision of all of Hamor's men in exchange for their women and when they men were sore from their "procedure" and vulnerable two of the brothers take out all of the men of the city.

Jacob is none to pleased with the actions of his sons Simeon and Levi. Realizing he doesn't have the man power to withstand Hamor's possible vengeance he scolds them. To which his son's respond, "What were we supposed to do Dad!?!? They defiled our only sister and you weren't going to do anything!"

Once again Jacob fails to take the reins of leadership over his family. He doesn't take proper precautions to guard his only daughters chastity. He doesn't stand up for her when she is taken advantage of. And he doesn't direct his sons in a proper response.

I don't have a daughter. Maybe some day God will bless my wife and I with one. And if he did she would be my responsibility. Not my sons'. I would be responsible for ensuring her purity. It would be up to me to set boundaries for her to protect her. And if something happened to her I would be the one who would determine the proper response.

Jacob in this case shows no leadership over his children and seems to show more anger to his sons for their retaliation than to Shechem for his misdeeds. It's rather disheartening, but again Jacob is a regular guy so let's consider what lessons we fathers can learn from him.

Tell me...
What boundaries have you set in your household for your sons and daughters?
When someone mistreats a member of your family does your children know what the proper response will be? Do they know who will/should respond? Do they know how you will respond?

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Someone Famous Once Said...

"If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated,
let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does
in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right."

-- Bill Cosby