People who don’t find the bible believable, have probably never read it. You read a story like this one in Genesis 34, and the characters just remind you of folk today. There’s Shechem. He saw young Dinah, and decided she was the one for him. Without any further ado, he took her virginity, hoping he could then lay claim to her in marriage. He expected his father would do the dirty work for him in contacting her dad. Hamor for his part, didn’t question it. His son had obviously always had everything he wanted, and that wasn’t going to stop any time soon, as far as he was concerned. Jacob, Dinah’s father, didn’t make a fuss – well she was only a girl, and only Leah’s daughter at that. Maybe he was hoping there’d be a good deal in it for him. Dinah’s brothers were incandescent when they found out. Nobody was going to mess with their sister and live to tell the tale.
A modern film with this story line would not seem strange. Cultures and issues come and go, but people are pretty much the same the world over.
In some ways, the one who behaved the most reasonably, was Hamor. Whilst he had obviously spoiled his son rotten, he was just going about doing what he thought best in the circumstance, trying to get things into a working relationship again. The ones who behaved the worst were Simeon and Levi. They cheated lied and murdered in a revenge that far outweighed the original offence.
Today we live in a culture that does not respect our God or our beliefs. There is much for us to take offence at in our world today. We have to be very careful in our responses. Just brushing over the issues that grieve us, as Jacob did is not good enough. We do need to care enough to respond. But overreacting as the brothers did is not helpful either; and we can sometimes hurt others in our zeal to stand up for what is right.
We need God’s wisdom to respond rightly, and we need to pray for those on the front line in specific issues. We need to be prepared to act when God nudges us, but always in love. There are just so many challenges, and so many ways to get it wrong! How on earth can we get the balance right every time? Only by seeking a fresh infilling of God’s Holy Spirit every day. Oh how we need his power!