After Jacob’s encounter with the Almighty God, which changed his name to Israel, it didn’t follow that things went all rosy for him. His life was still wrought with a lot of challenges. He still lived his life in this world, and faced lots of difficulties.
After meeting with his brother Esau, and the subsequent reconciliation that took place there, Jacob moved to a place called Succoth and settled there.
It was there that his daughter Dinah (who was conceived by Leah) went out to associate herself with the daughters of the city. Like many people in our generation, she didn’t want to be so different or removed from the ‘happening’ things in her world.
It was in that escapade that a certain young man called Shechem, who was a prince in the city, took her and defiled her. The general notion of that defilement was that it was not with the full consent of Dinah.
Now, we must never excuse what Shechem did, but in his action we see the danger of exposing oneself to those who are not controlled by the fear of the Lord. We live now in a generation like this where the fear of the Lord is lacking; thus we must exercise care and caution to see to it that we do not place ourselves in a position where we are at the mercy of certain elements who do not fear the Lord.
Shechem sought to make things right by marrying her; and when he sought the consent of Jacob’s family, they answered him deceitfully by granting them their desire ONLY on the grounds of the circumcision of all their male folks.
This they agreed to, and actually underwent the circumcision. However, while they were still recovering from the whole process, two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi went into their midst and slaughtered them all in their pain. Though they did it to revenge what was done to their sister, the consequence of their actions on their destiny was later to prove to us that two wrongs would never make a right. They took the law into their own hands, and sought vengeance on their own, an action that forever removed them from the right of the firstborn (the right to have the Messiah come through their lineage).
Jacob continued to seek the Lord. At Shechem, he built an altar which he called EL-ELOHE ISRAEL (God, the God of Israel). Later, at God’s instructions, he moved to Luz, where the Bethel altar was. There he also offered sacrifices unto the Lord, and there the Lord met him, reaffirmed his new name and sealed his covenant with him.
In this season, Jacob had three more evils that befell him, apart from the Dinah incidence.
Foremostly, his beloved second wife, Rachael died after giving birth to a son whom he named Benjamin. She was buried on the way to Bethlehem Ephrata.
Secondly, his own firstborn son, Reuben, went in and committed fornication with one of Jacob’s concubines, Bilhah. Though at that time Jacob heard it and kept quiet, but that action was also to cost Reuben the firstborn rights too as we would later see.
Finally, his father, Isaac died- a ripe old man of 180 years of age. He died and was buried by Esau and Jacob at the grave where his parents Abraham and Sarah were buried.
Despite these sad events in the life of this patriarch; one comment in the scriptures leaves us rejoicing. “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.” Genesis 35 vs. 5.
By His exceedingly great mercies, the Lord preserved the family of Jacob, as they journeyed. No one could touch them, pursue them or hurt them. Wherever they went, there was this cry that went over their head, a cry that was recorded in Psalm 105 vs. 15, “touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”
This scripture was not addressed to men and women with a ‘special anointing’ on their heads. Rather, it was addressed to an ordinary man and his ordinary family…. And to ordinary people like us, we can also apply this scripture.
Even till today, that cry still goes forth; and I pray that your heart will be strong in this knowing; that as you and your family Journey in this life, that the voice of God still cries over your head, and thought you may go through many challenges and afflictions, you will not come to any harm.