Awesome Hands – part 23: “The strange gods which were in their hand”

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Awesome Hands – Part 23

“The strange gods which were in their hand”

In “Awesome Hands” part 22, we ended the study with Jacob coming to the Shalem, a place of peace. Here Jacob “pitches his tent” and erects an altar to “the mighty God of Israel”.

Of course, we learned prior to this event that Jacob twice attributes “seeing the face of God” in what was happening in his life.

With the one event, wrestling with the angel who touches Jacob’s thigh, we see that God causes this event to happen to change Jacob’s walk.

In the second event, which very much pulled on Jacob’s need to preserve his house and his flesh, Jacob bows seven times to his twin brother Esau. Jacob attributes Esau’s “grace” or favor as seeing God’s face in Esau.

As is customary, I like to re- cap the end of the last study in order to couple it with what happens in the current study. So, we will look the end of the last study to do just that and to also, Lord willing, see the works of the Lord as He brings us through this same process as well.

“Let us take our journey”

Gen 33:12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.
Gen 33:13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
Gen 33:14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

We want to get along with the world and our carnal mind to make things easy for us but we are confident in our own selves.

Jacob mentions that the flocks are young and the children are tender to Esau to let Esau know he wants to move at his own pace. Still, Jacob certainly wants to find favor in Esau’s eyes without actually having Esau being able to “hold something over Jacob.”

We know the Lord has worked this all out for the benefit of Jacob and his family because Esau returns to Seir, but Jacob stays behind a bit. Seir is in the land of “Edom” and is south of the Dead Sea.

Jacob is now heading south from judgment, which is represented by being north, and heads “down” or away from his current position.

Jacob is heading towards what is more pleasing to his flesh, the land of Edom and Edom is south of the Dead Sea, which is where his brother dwells.

In other words, Jacob is heading in away from God in his thinking and understanding but of course this is all according to what the Lord has willed in Jacob’s life while he first starts off in this mindset

This is what we all initially do and we can see this represented in the “youngness” attributes of all that is with Jacob at this time.

Gen 33:15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.
Gen 33:16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.

In other translations we see it said like this:

Gen 33:14 Please go on ahead of me, and I will follow slowly, going as fast as I can with the livestock and the children until I catch up with you in Edom.”
Gen 33:15 Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.” But Jacob answered, “There is no need for that for I only want to gain your favor.”

As is the same pattern that we see being measured in Zechariah earlier, the Lord creates in us all the same walk with him as he first starts working with us.

Zec 2:1 I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.
Zec 2:2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.

The old man in us, typified by Esau, wants us to go away from the work of the Lord and to serve our own selves.

However, just like Jacob and later seen in Israel coming out of Egypt, the Lord has provided us a place to start to build up our house.

Gen 33:17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.

The very first place that Israel comes to after leaving Egypt is the same place we find Jacob coming to when he builds a house for himself.

Exo 12:36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
Exo 12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.

Just as Israel the people were given to later spoil the Egyptians and go on into safety from their bondage and pursuit, we see this same pattern happen for Jacob.

Gen 33:18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.
Gen 33:19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money.
Gen 33:20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe- Israel.

When the Lord is working to guide and direct us to the new man in Christ, we too, will be giving a place of safety, a place of peace, like Shalem.

When the Lord fights for us, we too will see that our enemies (though we are not aware that they are enemies at times, especially in our early walk as babes in Christ) are made to dwell in peace with us.

It is at the hand of the children of Hamor that we are able to buy a parcel of field to erect an altar to the “mighty God of Israel”, but this will not be all the Lord has to say on the matter.

Indeed, the fruit we bear will not stay peaceful for long. Though we erect an altar for our Lord, we are soon to find out that the fruit that is born from heading south away from God’s judgment will come full circle to producing deceitfulness.

Get me this damsel to wife

Gen 34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
Gen 34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
Gen 34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
Gen 34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
Gen 34:5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.

At this point, I want to point out that these are the same folks which Jacob has just dealt with at the end of chapter 33.

It may not seem obvious, but the children of Hamor were pleased to let Jacob and his people dwell in this land and we are going to see why in just a bit.

What we see immediately following what we think is peace is that when we stray from the judgments of the Lord and head towards the land that our twin brother dwells in, we will have even those whom we think we dwell in peace with defile us in one way or another.

Simply put, the things we think will be pleasing to the Lord will be used of the Lord to show us the opposite. Just because we erect an altar in our lives and call it by the Lord’s name doesn’t mean the Lord will agree with this idea.

It is very important to the Lord where we “spread our tent” and we are going to see that play out with Jacob and the children of Israel.

Gen 33:19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money.

Of note, is that there are several translations that have verse 7 stating that Shechem had raped Dinah so this was seen as a very vile act on the part of Shechem.

Gen 34:6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
Gen 34:7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
Gen 34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.
Gen 34:9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
Gen 34:10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
Gen 34:11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.
Gen 34:12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife.

There are a few things to notice in these verses which start of this important exchange. First, notice that in verse 6 we see that Shechem’s father Hamor is coming out to commune with Jacob.

However, this is going to quickly turn into the sons of these men making deals with the opposite parties as well. This is due to the sons of Jacob coming “out of the field” when they heard what had happened.

Secondly, the agreement that Hamor and Shechem pose to Jacob and his sons is that they give each other their daughters for marriage and dwell and trade in the land with them.

This is an important point because the Lord has specifically told Jacob to head towards his father’s house, the land of his kindred.

Gen 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

Gen 32:9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:

Oh, how the flesh is enmity towards God and His ways! Jacob’s sons are going to make a deal with Hamor and Shechem of which they never intend to keep.

Gen 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
Gen 34:14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us:
Gen 34:15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;
Gen 34:16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
Gen 34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.
Gen 34:18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.

It is the sons of Jacob which answer and tell them to circumcise themselves so that they can be unto God as they are unto God. In other words, God made a covenant with Abraham to circumcise his children in order to be God’s people.

Here we have Jacob’s sons telling the Hivites that they can be “one people” with God’s people if they will only do what God has instructed their (Israel) people to do.

Gen 34:19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.
Gen 34:20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
Gen 34:21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
Gen 34:22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.
Gen 34:23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
Gen 34:24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.

Not only has Shechem defiled Dinah, but now they think they have really hit the jackpot because by joining together with Israel, they will take of their cattle, their substance and their daughters and become one people.

Remember, these are all the things that God has blessed Jacob with and now God’s blessings are being promised to another people.

In verse 21, we see the phrase it is large enough for them. This word enough is “yad” or hand as translated many times in scripture.

I had to dig deep on this word to find out what was really being said here and it took looking in the interlinear to really nail down the meaning.

(BBE) It is the desire of these men to be at peace with us; let them then go on living in this country and doing trade here, for the country is wide open before them; let us take their daughters as wives and let us give them our daughters.

(YLT) ` These men are peaceable with us; then let them dwell in the land, and trade in it; and the land, lo, is wide before them; their daughters let us take to ourselves for wives, and our daughters give to them.

(LITV) These men are peaceable with us; and, Let them live in the land and trade in it. And, behold, the land is wide on both hands before them. Let us take their daughters for ourselves for wives, and let us give our daughters to them.

After looking in the interlinear, the idea conveyed is that the land from hand to hand spread out, was available to them.

We are being told, in two different ways that I can see, that we are being offered everything that this land had to offer. “All that went out of the city,” made this agreement and all the land that was offered in this agreement and that would make the people one was enough for both peoples to dwell in.

I think I’ve seen this offer before, said another way.

Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

It came to pass on the third day

After making this deceitful agreement, Simeon and Levi (the second and third born sons) take it upon themselves to take revenge on Hamor, Shechem and all the city’s men who were just circumcised.

They let two days pass before going about doing this act on the third day.

Gen 34:25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
Gen 34:26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.
Gen 34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
Gen 34:28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field,
Gen 34:29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.

We have Jacob’s sons, not Jacob, calling the shots in this story. This is to show us the contrast of what happens when the old man has dominance over us versus when we are in control, as the new man, and have dominance over the “fruit” that comes from living according to God’s commandments.

Eze 34:27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.
Eze 34:28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The fruits of these works, of slaying these men who were confederate with Jacob and his family while having an agreement is something that Jacob recognizes right away.

If Jacob had “nipped this thing in the bud” he would not have had to deal with this situation, but it was his boys who made the agreement that they now were going to usurp.

Listen closely to Jacobs response and then we’ll look at his overall assessment of these two boys.

Gen 34:30 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.
Gen 34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

We know that there is a positive and a negative to words in scripture so in this case, this is not a favorable situation to be in. The same word stink can be found in these verses:

Exo 7:18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.

Psa 38:5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.
Psa 38:6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

Contrasted with the idea of:

2Co 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
2Co 2:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
2Co 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

So, we can see that Israel’s sons did not use the covenant God gave to them in a wise manner. Rather, they used it as a ploy to kill others.

This is what Jacob prophesies about these two sons in later verses:

Gen 49:5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
Gen 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
Gen 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

Simeon and Levi represent our own self- righteousness when we have this mindset.

Obviously, we know that God has worked out these details so that this scenario would play out, but as we learn from it, we can easily looked back and see how we have justified the acts of our own old man.

Though we all commit heinous acts against the Lord, we do eventually cast out the Gods which we take on as a result of the actions we have taken before with the old man.

This is accomplished because the Lord steps in and guides and directs us to go up to Bethel and make an altar there after we bury the gods we have taken on and changed our garments.

Gen 35:1 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.
Gen 35:2 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:
Gen 35:3 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.
Gen 35:4 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.
Gen 35:5 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.

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