I reckon one of the strange stories in the Bible is a story about rape, circumcision and murder. You can read about it in Genesis 34.
In brief Dinah one of Jacob’s daughters is raped by a guy from a different nation. Dinah’s brothers are furious and the guy who raped Dinah wants to marry her. So the brothers trick the guy and all of his clan. They say that only if the guy and his clan get circumcised they will let the guy marry their sister. So the guy and his clan go ahead with the very painful exercise – especially considering they didn’t have any real pain relief.
Read what the brothers do. Genesis 34:25 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.
What does God think about all this? Well in the story you don’t really get God’s thoughts. You just find out that Jacob is very angry with what his sons have done.
Actually when I think about it I don’t know anywhere in the Bible were God is happy about rape and murder. I guess at this point we need to make an important distinction – in the Bible there are descriptive parts (where we are just told what happened) and prescriptive parts (where we are told what God wants us to do).
I guess the point of saying that is although there might stories about rape and murder in the Bible, that doesn’t mean God thinks they’re cool. In actual fact we know from the Bible that God really hates it when the vulnerable are taken advantage of and there will be some nasty stuff coming the way of the those who do such things. And as someone who knows a few people who have been assaulted I will be putting up my hand if God needs any help when it comes to dishing it out on the last day (not that he will… need my help that is).
But what makes me think I’m such a good guy? If anyone was to see the extent of my sin I reckon they would be crying out for justice too.
I guess we also need to talk about the wars that God is for in the Old Testament. Wars that in some cases clear the way for his people and wars in other cases that punish his people. There are probably two things to say. God made us so he can judge us however he wants (which we will hear more about on Sunday) and that a lot of the time we underestimate our own sin (rejection of God).
While the Old Testament can sound violent, if you actually think about it, Jesus has far more harsh things to say. Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Because we are so materialistic we think death is the worst thing that can happen to us… But in reality there is a far greater punishment in store for all of us.
But there is good news God poured out his anger on his Son – Jesus on the cross. And we can have the hope of a sure future with Jesus if we acknowledge our own sin to God and trust in the risen Lord Jesus.
This is great news for sinners like me. Jesus isn’t meek and mild he’s a fearless warrior. What’s gunna happen when you meet him?