BSF Genesis: Week 25, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

9.
a.
Go up to Bethel and settle there.  Build an altar to God

b.
… I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[f] will be my God  and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

c.
Settle in a place with other believers and demonstrate daily worship to God.

10.
a.
get rid of foreign gods, purify yourself, change your clothes, come, let us go (including rings in their ears)

b.
purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and soul; put off old self, put on new; walk in light not darkness, confess our sins; love God and carry out his commands

c.
Things we find of high monetary worth but that do not bring glory to God.  Things that may lead others away from God.  Things that take our time and attention away from God

My Daily Journal:

My family and I have made a number of trips recently to a couple of the nearby Amish communities.  My wife has taken up quilting and enjoys the materials, supplies and ladies she has met in the communities.  The Amish bulk stores are also amazing places for a gluten-free household.

On a recent trip we checked out a book on CD from the library called House Calls and Hitching Posts: Stories from Dr. Elton Lehman’s Career Among the Amish.  In the book, the author relates a story about what makes the Amish people unique:

Some years ago a group of 52 people chartered a bus and came to Holmes County to see the Amish. They had arranged to have an Amishman meet them and answer some of their questions. The first question was, “What does it mean to be Amish?” The Amishman thought a bit and then he asked a question of his own. “How many of you have TV in your homes” Fifty-two hands went up. “How many of you feel there are things on the TV that are inappropriate or un-Godly?”, again almost all of the hands went up.  “How many of you believe that time spent watching TV is normally not time spent honoring God?”, every hand.  “Now, how many of you feel that perhaps you would be better stewards of the faith if you spent less time watching  TV in your homes or didn’t watch it at all?” Again, fifty-two hands went up. “All right. Now, how many of you are going to go home and get rid of your TV?” Not one hand went up! Now that is what it means to be Amish. As a church, if we see or experience something that is not good for us spiritually, we will discipline ourselves to do without.

I am not advocating we all convert to become Amish, but there is a strong lesson in living a life that has the discipline to separate ourselves from the things that do not bring honor to God.  We see this same example in those who take a vow of poverty for faith, who give up comfort and convenience to become missionaries in a foreign land and those who commit their lives to be the hands of God to the sick and needy.  We also see it in the daily lives of people in our faith community who live as aliens in a foreign land, focusing on the eternal.  These people stand out because they stand up for doing right for God.  Which community do we want to fit in to?  A community of Shechem or a community of the angels and saints?

BSF Genesis: Week 25, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
a.
13. they were deceitful, v25, Simeon and Levi killed every male in the city.  28 they looted the city 29 they carried off the women

b.
Took matters into their own hands.  No mention of prayer or reliance on God.  The diminished the value of the covenant by using it as a trap for others.  They twisted it from something holy into something useful.

c.
They were angered on behalf of their sister.  Yes, I am protective of my family and feel hatred to those who harm them.

d.
do not repay evil with evil, do what is right, do not take revenge, trust in God to exercise His wrath

7.
a.
He did not trust their judgment, believing them quick to act in a state of anger.  He chastised them for “bringing trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites

b.
Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?

8.
Am I controlled by God and faith or by my emotions?  Where am I unwilling to wait to receive rightfully what I want and desire.

My Daily Journal:

So, I have to admit, my first inclination is to be more like Simeon and Levi than Jacob.  If someone hurts a member of my family like this, I would want to do them harm.  Clearly, though, Simeon and Levi crossed the line.  Any one would be very hard pressed to explain how looting the city and carrying off the women from this city in any way was done to bring honor to their sister.

But, as we work through this lesson and, in particular, the Romans 12:17-21 passage, it helped me realize how my first reaction (and that of Simeon and Levi) was allowing my emotions to rule me and not my faith.

Here is one way to look at it.  I’m this big (think very small) and God is that big (think very big).  Hamor and Shechem sinned against Dinah, but, even more so, they sinned against God, because any sin upon His people is a sin against Him.  So, if I’m the deliverer of vengence onto the wrong-doer, it is like a tiny child disciplining them with a toothpick and standing in the way of a very big God using a club.

I simply do not need to be in the middle of it.  I need to show the joy and blessing of the saving work of Jesus, offered to me while I was still a sinner and, which is also offered to anyone else who sins against God, as well, who repents and seeks to be saved.  If they do not make that choice, then God says He has it covered and I need to trust that His righteous wrath and punishment is far more significant than anything I would dispense.

BSF Genesis: Week 25, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Question:

3.
No, he saw God at Bethel.  He committed to build a house to God there and to return to his father’s household

4.
a.
Dinah did not bring on the danger, but it clearly would have been avoided if they did not live there

b.
To be set apart from the worldly and immoral.  To live a life that separates us from sinful things and sinful people

c.
No “sense” of wrongdoing.  He did wrong, but didn’t see it that way.  He treated her as a possession to be used and acquired

d.
They married.  Isaac and Jacob sought their wives from kin, believers. But they also lied out of fear and put their wives at risk.  Abraham allowed the mother of his first child to be abused by his wife and sent her out into the wilderness.

5.
intermarry with us, vs 9

My Daily Journal:

There is a very fine line being walked in our questions today regarding Dinah and could things have been avoided.  I think it is very important to note that Dinah did not do anything wrong.  She was the victim.  She was raped.

As a children’s leader I was, at first, very hesitant and concerned about our lesson this week.  My inclination was to move through it as quickly as possible.  However, this week I had the opportunity to hear Josh McDowell speak.  Josh is an amazing evangelist and apologetic who has spread the Word to college campuses for many years.  He has written some amazing books including my favorite, More than a Carpenter.  But, on this occasion Josh was sharing a movie and discussion about his own childhood which included not only a horribly broken home but also experiencing sexual abuse from the age of 6 to 13.  He pointed out that 1 out of 3 children have experienced sexual abuse but we just don’t talk about it.

BSF is not a counseling session or the right venue for disclosure, but we need to be bold in what the bible says and not shy away from teaching the truth as spelled out in the bible.  Just like Josh was not to blame for what occurred to him, Dinah is not to blame.  This was wrong.  This was a sin, whether Shechem, Hamor or her dad or anyone else saw it as such or not.  Through all of this story that is the part that troubles me most.  We have the accounts of what everyone else was doing but not what was going on with Dinah and the torment that she must have felt.  No where does it say she was comforted or cared for through this difficulty, although I trust in God that she was.

We will have women in BSF classes who have experienced rape.  We will have men who have forced themselves inappropriately on women and we will have young adults and children who have been or will be involved in inappropriate sexual situations.  We don’t need to be graphic, but we need to be clear that this is wrong and if someone is in this situation they need to get with a mature christian and seek help and counseling.