Together, we serve
to know Christ
and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

19 February 2020

Proverbs 3:16-18

16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Wisdom proves her value. She provides long life. She keeps the possessor out of danger and provides discernment for knowing how to live a healthy life. She provides riches and honour. Through her the possessor makes wise decisions on the use of his money and teaches him not to waste his money on things that do not satisfy. By wisdom he receives recognition and respect from his neighbours.

Wisdom leads the possessor along the ways of pleasantness. He values and experiences those things that are good for the soul, uplifting for the spirit, and helpful to the body and mind. He walks along wisdom’s path of peace. Guided by her he finds inner peace and learns to live peacefully with his neighbours. She provides an abundant, blessed life full of rich memories.

But understand the true value of wisdom. She leads the possessor to God who provides eternal life. Through wisdom the possessor has the eyes to see who Jesus Christ truly is and to embrace him. Through wisdom he finds pleasantness and peace in Christ who has reconciled him to God.

Wisdom is the tree of life, because wisdom is the Holy Spirit granting eternal life in Christ. The Spirit reveals to us the mysteries of God that he chooses to reveal in Christ and in his written Word. It is the Spirit who makes us wise to comprehend the Gospel and the Scriptures. It is the Spirit who convicts us of sin and gives us faith. It is the Spirit who applies the blessing of God.

 

Genesis 33-34

33 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. ‘Who are these with you?’ he asked.

Jacob answered, ‘They are the children God has graciously given your servant.’

Then the female servants and their children approached and bowed down. Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down.

Esau asked, ‘What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?’

‘To find favour in your eyes, my lord,’ he said.

But Esau said, ‘I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.’

10 ‘No, please!’ said Jacob. ‘If I have found favour in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favourably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.’ And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.

12 Then Esau said, ‘Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.’

13 But Jacob said to him, ‘My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.’

15 Esau said, ‘Then let me leave some of my men with you.’

‘But why do that?’ Jacob asked. ‘Just let me find favour in the eyes of my lord.’

16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.

18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver, he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.

 

Dinah and the Shechemites

34 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, ‘Get me this girl as my wife.’

When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.

Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter – a thing that should not be done.

But Hamor said to them, ‘My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.’

11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, ‘Let me find favour in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make 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.’

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

18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honoured of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20 So 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 towards 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. 22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23 Won’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.’

24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.

25 Three 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. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

30 Then 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.’

31 But they replied, ‘Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?’