Genesis 34:24–25: “And all who went out of the gate of his city heeded Hamor and Shechem his son; every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males.

July 18th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Today we use the word dysfunctional to describe a family that has unhealthy relationships and that uses unhealthy methods to try to solve their problems. Jacob, who had his name changed to Israel and is the namesake of the Hebrew people, had a very dysfunctional family to say the least. Jacob is perhaps one of the worst examples of a father in the Bible. And Genesis 34 records the sad result of his failure in this area. One of the reasons we are convinced that the Bible is God’s word is because it’s so damaging to the characters of the forefathers of the nation of Israel.

Jacob was supposed to be 30 miles south in Bethel, but he had again lied to his brother Esau, this time telling him, “go ahead and I will follow behind you.” The truth of the matter was Jacob had chosen to live among the Canaanites. His family life had already been described as a war of infighting and jealousy, which isn’t surprising since he had 2 wives, 2 concubines, and at that time at least 11 sons and 1 daughter.

Jacob lacked a backbone all his life. Genesis 25:27 tells us that he was, “a mild man dwelling in tents.” He was a soft man rather than one hardened from working in the fields. Although he was mild, Jacob sired strong-willed children, and sadly he was unable to rise to the occasion. Here we see that he failed to be the strong disciplinarian they desperately needed. The result of Jacob caving-in to their whims led to this disaster of his sons committing mass murder. There are 2 lessons here: 1) parents must be strong enough to discipline their children and not avoid confrontation, and 2) we need to remember that vengeance is God’s department not ours. As Paul tells us, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).

“LORD, help us be discerning and courageous today, discerning which battles to pick and which to ignore. Help us to be courageous enough to tackle those that must be met head on.”