“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” More than a dream, the one who wrestled with Jacob “touched the socket of Jacob’s hip…and he was limping because of his hip.” Something happened to be sure, but the important point is Jacob is blessed by God and his name is now: Israel.
Jacob is seriously afraid of Esau, constantly uses, “my lord” when addressing him. Seriously sucking up to the brother he deceived. Esau, however, is content with his station in life, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.” Eventually, Esau takes what Jacob offers and they part company amicably. The whole affair seems to be characterized by Jacob cowering to Esau and Esau simply going about his business. Interesting.
Dinah, Jacob’s daughter with Leah was raped by Shechem, the son of Hamor (from whom Jacob recently purchased the property they possessed). Jacob is furious. Hamor does think it’s an issue and suggests that Jacob should intermarry with them, “live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.” They are seriously upset, but devise a plan by agreeing with Hamor and Shechem if they will all be circumcised. “All the men who went out of the city gate agreed…and every male in the city was circumcised.” The stage is set. “Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi…attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male.”
What do we do with this story? What lesson do we draw from these words? At the very least we must understand that Simeon and Levi acted without God’s approval and inflicted punishment that was far greater than the unacceptable treatment of Dinah. In my imagination, I can see Jacob watching his sons brew over the affair, knowing they were extremely angry and perhaps even sensing that they were devising a plan to kill the men of Hamor–yet he did not know the extent of their plan. Since God certainly blesses Jacob, this seems to be the proper interpretation. Their reputation is now cast among the neighboring nations. Rumors will spread. “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land.” So they would have to leave.
How many times do we act in anger? How many times do I react in anger? Do I not believe that God has a plan, that he wants only the best for me? Yet, I demand revenge and take it on my terms when I insist. Lord help me to learn these lessons and lean on you fully.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name,
O Most High.
Thank you, Lord, for speaking clearly to me this morning. May I remember this moment and teach others the same.