After Jacob is reunited with his brother in a way that shocks and surprises him he moves on and buys land from a family that rule that area. He builds an altar that is within sight of the city and names it ‘Mighty is the GOD of Israel’ and sets up his tent. He and his household settle in this place.
After drama it is good to have rest. Jacob feels able to proclaim that his GOD is mighty. The stress and the danger has passed and he has had an encounter with GOD that has changed him. I think that maybe Jacob expected that his life would settle down just like his people. He had bought the land and he had provided for his livestock and people. Everything seemed peaceful.
I think that when I read books where the main character appears to be content, I know that something is about to happen. Of course, in my life, I don’t always recognise a similar theme. How many times have I been taken off guard by a new drama breaking out? I can often put up my pile of stones that remind me of GOD’s goodness and provision in the quiet or ending season … and then quickly loose sight of them in the drama that then unfolds. In declaring that GOD is mighty we can often come against something that challenges that truth. In this new place we can see how deeply we believe the truth we have declared. GOD doesn’t change. He is constant and the character, abilities and faithfulness that He has shown us are our evidence. The stones stand! (See Stairway to Heaven blog post.)
Unfortunately, Dinah, Jacob’s only named daughter, is taken by the son of the ruler of the land. He sees her, he wants her and he takes her. He treats her without respect. He is the son of the ruler of the land. He is used to having exactly what he wants since the city has already been named after him. His attitude is that he will inherit everything and therefore, it all belongs to him. He does not follow the right proceedure to gain what he wants but instead he is ruled by his will and thinks about others later.
Right at the very beginning of this part of Jacob’s story we see that Jacob honours the ruler and pays the price for the land even though GOD had already told him all the land was his. Shechem, the son, on the other hand, takes what does not belong to him because he assumes he has the right to take what he wants. He dishonours Jacob, a man of authority and wealth. Shechem was blinded by his own puffed up status.
As soon as we repent of our selfish way of life and turn to Jesus, relying on him for our salvation we become adopted into his family and GOD gives us an inheritance. Sometimes we are able to walk straight into that place of inheritance – things like freedom and eternal life. But there are other times and situations when there is a price to pay – there are things that we cannot walk into without a sacrifice of some sort. Jacob knew that the land had been given to him but he still bought it with some of his wealth. Shechem did not see that his will was no longer the highest authority and could not just do as he pleased.
We need to know that in every place and circumstance we carry authority, the battle has already been won. But maybe, just maybe there is a price that we still need to pay in terms of submitting our will to the highest authority.
How do we give honour? Honour is given at a price. We lift others up to, not using our own ideas of who they are but by seeing them as GOD does. It is so easy to look on people either from our perceived superiority or inferiority. But we are called to be people who encourage one another.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10
If we were to do this with everyone that we met … just imagine what it would do!
If you have read my blogs before you will know that I like to leave a challenge. I find it is good to put into practice what I have learned, it somehow fixes the lesson in me. So today, spend a few minutes asking GOD who you should honour and be open to what He says. Now consider, creatively, how you are going to do it in actions and words. Go do it!