RSS

My Father-In-Law

Dear God, a couple of days ago, I prayed to you about Gary Thomas’s book Sacred Marriage. This morning, while I was eating breakfast, I listed to a talk he gave seven or eight years ago (link above). I don’t mean for these prayer journals to become a sales pitch for Gary, but his stuff is really good.

The title of this prayer to you is NOT about my wife’s physical father who happens to live next door to me. No, it’s about you. At about the 29-minute mark of this talk, Thomas said something that really struck a chord with me. YOU are my Father-in-law because YOU are my wife’s father. Thomas said:

If there was a guy who came up to me and said, “Gary, I’m going to give you 10% of my income. I going to memorize your books. I’m going to tell others about you. I’m going to try to get everybody to by your book. But he’s abusing my daughter? He’s neglecting my daughter? I’m going to have one conversation with him and one thing only: ‘Hey, buddy, if you respect me, you take care of my little girl. I have nothing else to say to you.'”

Wow. Conviction. How am I doing? Unlike my earthly father-in-law, who is only next door, you see EVERYTHING I do. You see every inkling of disrespect I give her. You see every little thing I might want to hide from her such as something I want to purchase or even lust. You see any shortness of temper I have. You see how I talk about her to others when she is in the room and when she’s not.

How about my children. I suppose they are your children too. In a way, I am a step-father caring for them on your behalf. How am I doing with your children?

Expand it out. Everyone I meet today is your child. How am I treating your children? Some of them are young. Some are old. Some are wealthy. Some are poor. Some are struggling. All are your children. How will I treat your children today? Will I see them with your eyes and act accordingly?

Father, I am your child too. Thank you. I love you. And I’m really sorry for any failings I might have as a husband to your daughter, a parent to your children, a son to your children, a brother to your children, a friend to your children, and a fellow citizen to your children. Help me to be about loving you by loving all of them as you would have me to.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 18, 2020 in Miscellaneous

 

Tags: , ,

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy more that to Make us Happy? By Gary Thomas

Dear God, I am speaking to a home church this weekend and as I prayed to you and talked to you about what you would have me discuss, this book that I read nearly 20 years ago kept coming to mind. It is the best marriage book I’ve ever read, and its lessons have stuck with me through the years. However, as I’ve sat down a few times over the last few days to try to collect my thoughts and synthesize the message of this book into a lesson, I’ve struggled. There’s so much here. I could almost do a lesson on each chapter. Ultimately, I decided that the best thing to do was to sit down and just talk with you about what it was about this book that meant so much to me 20 years ago.

I think it starts with me being a very needy husband for the first 10-ish years of our marriage. I have two dogs right now, and one of them is very needy. She’s always looking for attention from anyone who will love her. She annoys the heck out of me. I think this is how I was when I got married. I came into marriage very insecure. I grew up witnessing a fairly tumultuous marriage, and I didn’t want to give my wife (and ultimately, my children after they were born) any excuse to not love me or like me. To add to that, I needed that love affirmed all of the time.

My best example is my wife’s first Mother’s Day after our son was born. I did everything for her that day. He was about 10 months old, and I took care of him all day. I made her breakfast in bed. I did everything around the house. I did it all! Later, she told me that all she could think about was how she could never live up to what I had done when Father’s Day came a month later. I wasn’t giving freely out of love for her, and she could tell. I was being needy and giving so that I could receive. That kind of love was very oppressive to her.

One of the first lessons I had to learn was to give her the freedom to feel about me any way that she wished. It was her right to like me or not. I order to do that, I had to find my peace in something else. Yeah, I guess peace is the best word. What is it that we are looking for when we are being needy? When our hearts are unsettled and in search of something? The answer: Peace. When I look for my peace in anything but you (money, sex, wife, fun, job, etc.) that object or activity becomes my idol. Thank you that I ultimately didn’t have to do with my marriage what you almost made Abraham do with his idol, Isaac.

So now that my wife had the freedom from me to like/love me at her own discretion, I needed a new paradigm for my marriage. Providentially, Thomas’s thoughts on marriage came to me just at the right time. If the book came out in 2000, then we probably went to the marriage conference he did in Waco in maybe 2000 or 2001. Just after I started doing the regular prayer journals to you in April 2000.

So what are some of the concepts in this book? Well, the subtitle alone is practically all you need: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? It starts by exposing the lie that undergirds the prosperity gospel message that I deserve to be happy. He’s careful to say that holiness and happiness are not mutually exclusive concepts, but if you pursue happiness through your marriage then you have the wrong frame of mind. “You wont find happiness at the end of a road named selfishness.” (Page 12) Here’s another quote: “Just as celibates use abstinence and religious hermits use isolation, so we can use marriage for the same purpose–to grow in our service, obedience, character, pursuit, and love of God.” (Page 12)

These two quotes, taken to their logical conclusions, give you these chapter titles:

  1. The Greatest Challenge in the World: A Call to Holiness more than Happiness

  2. Romanticism’s Ruse: How Marriage Points us to True Fulfillment

  3. Finding God in Marriage: Marital Analogies Teach Us Truths about God

  4. Learning to Love: How Marriage Teaches Us to Love

  5. Holy Honor: Marriage Teaches Us to Respect Others

  6. The Soul’s Embrace: Good Marriage Can Foster Good Prayer

  7. The Cleansing of Marriage: How Marriage Eposes our Sin

  8. Sacred History: Building the Spiritual Discipline of Perseverance

  9. Sacred Struggle: Embracing Difficulty in Order to Build Character

  10. Falling Forward: Marriage Teaches Us to Forgive

  11. Make Me a Servant: Marriage Can Build in Us a Servant’s Heart

  12. Sexual Saints: Marital Sexuality Can Provide Spiritual Insights and Character Development

  13. Sacred Presence: How Marriage Can Make us more Aware of God’s Presence

  14. Sacred Mission: Marriage Can Develop our Spiritual Calling, Mission, and Purpose

  15. Epilogue: The Holy Couple

It’s ween a while since I read some of these chapters. Nearly 20 years. But each chapter title alone is enough to spark my thoughts. When I was in high school, I asked my dad one time what benefit any parent gets from parenting. Why would someone want to do it. His answer was interesting. Paraphrasing, “The adults I know with no children tend to be some of the most selfish, self-centered people I know because they never had to learn to put someone else’s needs above their own.” Thinking about that concept, I think marriage is supposed to be a building block towards selfLESSness too.

I’ve known my wife for over 30 years, and we are coming up on 28 years of marriage. It’s unbelievable when I look back on how you have used her and our relationship to shape me. You did the same with our children. And you’ve done the same with jobs, friends, church experiences, extended family, etc. But my ability to grow beyond serving my wife out of need and into serving her in love transformed me into being less needy in the other areas of my life too. I am a less needy employee. I am a less needy father. Now I’m not perfect, and there are still times when self-pity comes crashing in on me and I feel the pain of rejection. But I don’t think I would even be able to recognize those failures in myself if I didn’t start by turning loose of my neediness in marriage.

Thankfully, Thomas’ theory worked in my case. His theory is that if both spouses are committed to this selfLESS pursuit of God through marriage then each will find that you are meeting a lot of their needs through the other. Since my wife has embraced this same attitude in our marriage then a terrific balance is created. I honestly don’t know what it would be like to live in a marriage where only one spouse lived this way and the other didn’t. I suppose I could ask my wife because I think she was closer to it those first few years of marriage than I was. But, ultimately, the spouse that pursues you and holiness through their marriage will even be able to be at peace in an unbalanced marriage. To be clear, there are unhealthy situations such as physical or emotional abuse that should not be tolerated, but a simple shift of focus off of myself and onto serving my wife through my pursuit of you in an incredibly liberating thing.

One last thing–the idea of the pursuit of happiness (and I’m still learning to truly live what I’m about to say). I reject the idea that my life and your purpose for my life must be about my happiness. There are some happinesses in life that are denied to me. That’s okay. There were generations of Israelites that were born into slavery, lived in slavery and died in slavery. One result of that is that you built a nation through those years in Egypt. The widow Jesus saw put two coins in the offering went home and likely died as poor as she was when she woke up that morning, but she likely never knew that I would know about her and use her as an example 2,000 years later. Some people do everything right with their children and it still goes wrong. Some people are excellent employees/workers and still go broke. And some are in one-way marriages. The idea that any of these people are not living their best lives because they are experiencing pain is foolish. I don’t know why some of this stuff happens, but mine is not to know why. Mine is to love and worship you, and to do my best with those people and responsibilities you have given to me. The results of all of that are not mine, they are yours. Of course, now that I’ve said those thoughtful, deep things, Father, I pray that you help men to truly live it.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

Fathers of the Bible — Jacob (Part 4)

So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?” Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave. ” So his father wept for him. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.
Genesis 37:28-36

Dear God, isn’t it interesting that it was Ishmaelites (their second-cousins) that ended up taking Joseph? But I digress.

Jacob’s life of deception and selfishness catches up to him with the story of Joseph. What’s going to be interesting is how you’re going to use all of this as part of an unusual plan to build Israel as a nation that lasts to this day. But it’s also interesting that the Ishmaelites last to this day as well, I’m seemingly larger numbers. But I digress again.

Jacob’s response to Joseph’s loss is pretty typical for a father. I suppose it’s good that Rachel wasn’t around to experience this deception. I’ll bet it was frustrating for the brothers to not realize any of the benefits they hoped to gain from Joseph’s disappearance. Yes, they got rid of the annoyance, but they certainly didn’t get anymore love from their dad. In fact, he went into mourning, and they took away any annoyance that Jacob had with Joseph.

Father, once again there is freedom in this story for me. Your plan for Abraham’s offspring was Jacob-proof. It was also beyond what his sons could screw up. If this is true, it is probably true for me as well. Well, my life is dedicated to you as best I know how, so I will live in the faith that anything I see that isn’t according to my plan is ultimately part of yours.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 14, 2020 in Genesis, Fathers of the Bible

 

Tags: , ,

Fathers of the Bible — Jacob (Part 3)

Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Genesis 37:1-11

Dear God, I intended to go through the whole story until Joseph was sold into slavery and the boys lied to him, but Jacob did made such a terrible parenting decision at the beginning of this passage that I had to stop there.

To show such favoritism among your children and make Jospeh a special coat is a huge parental mistake. Most parents know that. But as I think about it, Jacob had some pretty bad boys and I wonder how much of this was disgust it at least frustration with them. This family of multiple children by multiple mothers was a complicated mess.

Another thing I’m noticing about Jacob is the he only seems to care about his boys’ activities when they threaten him. The only examples I can think of when Jacob admonishes his children are when his Levi and Simeon slaughter the town and he gets mad because now he will be hated and they have to move. And now, at the end of this story, he gets mad at Joseph because Joseph suggested that Jacob (and everyone else) would one day now down to him.

The great thing about this story? Well, it’s nice to see that you were working all of this together for your plan. Jacob’s foolish parenting. Joseph’s arrogance. This is how you would provide for the nation of Israel. And the writer of Genesis recorded it all here for us. If this is how you work, then there is hope for redemption for my foolishness too.

Father, I don’t want to be a foolish parent. I want to instruct my children for the right reasons, not because of how it will reflect on me or my ego. But I also feel some freedom and some hope that you have made your plan John-proof. While you have your best for me, you know all and you will accomplish your plans regardless of my mistakes. Thank you for the peace that comes with that knowledge. Now, please help me to be the father, husband, son, brother, and friend you need me to be, but do it for your glory and not mine.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2020 in Genesis, Fathers of the Bible

 

Tags: , , ,

Fathers of the Bible — Jacob (Part 2)

Then Jacob traveled on and camped beyond Migdal-eder. While he was living there, Reuben had intercourse with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Jacob soon heard about it.
Genesis 35:21-22a

Dear God, It seems that this is a sign of great disrespect that I think we will see repeated later with David and one of his sons. It is fascinating that this is a second story where Jacob is informed of something involving his children, and nothing of his reaction to it is recorded. It’s almost as if this duplicitous liar was also weak when it came to confrontation. First, his daughter, Dinah, is raped and he waits for his sons to take matters into their own hands. Now, his oldest son has sex with his concubine (we won’t get into the wrongness of that), Jacob heard about it, and then nothing.

I think this family culture will play out later when we see that no one was afraid of Jacob when they decided to kill (and ultimately decide to sell into slavery) Joseph. Their father is not respected. Their father seems to be more interested in acquiring for himself than molding a culture if integrity and worship of you among his children and family.

I always wonder if I am tough enough, and I often fear I am not. I tend to avoid conflict. And I remember when my son was 13 and started to test my authority. It was hard, but I remember one instance when he did something that was rude. I can’t tell you I did the right thing in responding to him, but he certainly needed to respect his mother and me more.

I read a book once called Sacred Parenting. It is by Gary Thomas, author of my favorite book that I’ll actually be praying through more this coming week called Sacred Marriage. In Sacred Parenting, Thomas points to all of the lineages that are presented in the Bible and basically says that, ultimately, our purpose is to live, raise children, and then get out of the way. Now that’s simplistic and he didn’t mean that what we do with out lives doesn’t matter, but on a macro level, our lives will likely be forgotten within a couple of generations, but the people we set in motion will be our legacy. Raising those children is more important no less important (and likely more important) than the work I will do because they will be here after I am gone.

Father, I find myself repeating this prayer every day as I pray through these stories, but it bears repeating. Please help me know how to parent my adult children. Give them what they need through me. Show my wife as well. Unite us completely together in how we approach them so that they will be able to be the parents they need to be one day. And do all of this for your glory and not ours. I will be forgotten, but you will never die. You are I am. May all of that I do end up, if even accidentally, help to bring about your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 12, 2020 in Genesis, Fathers of the Bible

 

Tags: ,

Dear Evan Hansen — “Does Anybody Have A Map?”

https://youtu.be/–F-nTJM4kQ
Mom: Have you been writing those letters to yourself? “Dear Evan Hansen, this is going to be a good day and here’s why…”
Evan: I started one.
Mom: Those letters are important honey. They’re going to help you build your confidence
Evan: I guess
Mom: Can we try to have an optimistic outlook? Huh? Can we buck just enough to see the world won’t fall apart? Maybe this year we decide we’re not giving up before we’ve tried. This year, we’ll make a new start. I know you can go around today and ask the other kids to sign your cast. How about that?
Evan: Perfect (sarcasm implied)
Mom: I’m proud of you already.
Evan: Oh…Good…
Mom (by herself): Another stellar conversation for the scrapbook. Another stumble as I’m reaching for the right thing to say. I’m kind of coming up empty, can’t find my way to you…Does anybody have map, anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this? I don’t know if you can tell but this is me just pretending to know. So where’s the map? I need a clue ‘cuz the scary truth is I’m flying blind and I’m making this up as I go.
—-
Mom: It’s your senior year, Conner. You are not missing the first day.
Conner: I already said I’d go tomorrow.
Dad: He doesn’t listen. Look at him. He’s probably high.
Sister: He’s definitely high.
Mom: I don’t want you going to school high, Conner
Conner: Perfect, so then I won’t go. Thanks, Mom!
Mom: Another masterful attempt ends with disaster.
Dad: Interstate is already jammed.
Mom: Pour another cup of coffee and watch it all crash and burn.
Sister: Conner finished the milk
Mom: It’s a puzzle, it’s a maze. I try to steer through it a million ways, but each day’s another wrong turn.
Dad: I’d better head out.
Sister: If Conner’s not ready I’m leaving without him.
Both Moms: Does anybody have a map, anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this? I don’t know if you can tell, but this is me just pretending to know. So where’s the map? I need a clue ‘cuz the scary truth is I’m flying blind, I’m flying blind, I’m flying blind, and I’m making this up as I go…as I go

Dear God, I actually prayed to you about this song earlier, but it was all lost in a saving error, and I just couldn’t bare to lose it so I thought I just look at this song one more time. Maybe it will be better a second time–kind of like watching a movie a second time and catching things you missed the first time.

The first thing is that this song is obviously all about the two moms. Both living in different worlds, and both desperate to break through the walls all around them, especially with their boys.

The musical actually opens up before this song with Evan talking to his friend on the computer. His mom walks in the room and he slams the laptop lid shut. It exhibits instant distrust. The Evan doesn’t trust him mom to be part of that world, and his mom must wonder what Evan is hiding. As a parent, those walls can be so difficult. You move from a time of being part of your child’s world and being trusted to being excluded. And while the children are kind of ready for that break, in a way they aren’t. Oh, the teen years just seem like such a cruel process for both the children and the parents. As a dad who went through it with two children, I can say that I knew it would be hard, but I still underestimated. When I saw the musical, it was painful to watch a lot of this from the parents’ perspective.

In the Evan’s mom’s little speech about bucking up and having a positive attitude, you can almost feel how she wishes she could do this for him. It’s almost like she’s saying, “Honey, I’ve been in this hole before and I know the way out.”

Shift to Conner’s family. Instant battling, and I can’t help but notice that the dad already seems to have surrendered. While the mom is trying to pull the fat out of the fire the father’s words are:

He doesn’t listen. Look at him. He’s probably high.

Interstate is already jammed.

I’d better head out.

You can tell he’s already charged hell with his water pistol too many times and he’s done. This battle is his wife’s to fight if she still wants to.

The sister is done with Conner too.

He’s definitely high.

Conner finished the milk.

If Conner’s not ready I’m leaving without him.

One of the setups is that Conner doesn’t have any friends. I find this puzzling on the part of the writers. It seems like kids like Conner would always have plenty of like-minded people to see at school and get high with outside of school.

But back to the moms. After all, it is there song. The feel so alone. Even Conner’s mom is alone in her quest to help her son. They are looking for ways into their sons’ lives.

One thing I used to wonder when my children were that age was, “What does it look like to turn your children over to God?” They were still children. They were under my roof. I had a responsibility. Sure, now that they are grown I can turn them over to you and be in the background to support them, but while they were still in school I could never find that place of peace with them. I never found a good answer to my question, and I still don’t know.

Father, I pray for my adult children. I pray for my wife as we try to find our way in still being their parents now that they are adults. I pray for my sisters and brothers-in-law as they raise their children. I pray for my nieces and nephews. It’s so hard. Show my wife and me how to be there for all of them as well. Whatever I can do in any life around me, including the sixth-grade boy I am mentoring, please let me know what you would have me do. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. And for every time I have grieved you as you have tried to be my father, I am truly sorry.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Fathers of the Bible — Jacob (Part 1: Jacob & Dinah)

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. You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it. ” Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 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.” Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 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. We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.” Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. “These men are friendly toward 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. 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. 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. ” 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. 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. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses. 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.” But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute? ”
Genesis 34

Dear God, there are so many stories of Jacob as a father, I’m going to have to break them up into vignettes.

This is another Old Testament story of a father not responding to the rape of his daughter. I’m sure I’ll pray about David’s experience as well. But in this case, I’m going to talk about Jacob.

It’s interesting that the author is careful to give us only certain details. First, why tell this story except to give an explanation of why Jacob’ family ended up settling in Bethel (chapter 35)? Maybe he also wanted us to know that the deceit runs in the family. From Rebekah and Laban’s generations, to Jacob’s, Leah’s and Rachel’s, and now to his sons. Lying and deceit came pretty easily to all of these people.

I also wonder how much of the sons’ solution was based around defending their sister and how much was about killing the men and plundering the city. I mean, they repaid a heinous crime with a vengeance that was really over the top.

Finally, while Jacob never lied about his wives and said they were his sisters (as did both his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac), but he certainly didn’t seem too upset about what happened to Dinah. I guess it is hard for me to figure out the context of all of this in a real way because it is just hard for me to put myself in the skin of these men and how they felt about the value of a woman–even their own daughter/sister.

What I do get told to me explicitly is that Levi and Simeon, specifically, took the lead on avenging their sister’s rape, they took it to an extreme and profited from their revenge, including taking women and children who weren’t theirs, and their father was concerned to the point where, at your direction, he relocated them to Bethel. I suppose I can also surmise that Jacob’s lack of leadership in response to Dinah’s rape left the door open for his sons to really go over the top and indulge their own vices and selfishness as well.

Father, reveal to me any ways in which I wrongly abdicate my responsibilities as a father, husband, supervisor, etc. Give me the courage to confront when I need to confront and do what you need me to do. In fact, as I sit here now, I can think of a couple of areas that require me to step in and lead with your love and your compassion. Help me to do it and prepare the path before me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 9, 2020 in Fathers of the Bible, Genesis

 

Tags: , , ,