Mourning, Yearning, Turning

Bernard Gabbott - Sunday, 11 September 2022

Mourning, Yearning, Turning

It really is a section of the Bible you feel like you need a shower after: there is sexual violence, anger, silence, rage, favouritism, deception, carnage, and silence. In fact, on a surface reading, God seems as absent as His speech or acknowledgement! Like so many other episodes in the family history of Jacob, no human actor emerges well. Jacob has placed his family here through disobedience. Shechem violates Dinah. Shechem and his father are duplicitous. Simeon and Levi are deceitful and deceptive. The brothers are wanton in their violence. And the outcome is described in purely self-interested terms by Jacob! But, the mere presence of this episode in the word of God speaks a number of truths. First, the silence of God must never be construed as the absence of God – look at the cross! Second, the word of God never shies from the brutality of sin. Third, the events make our hearts recognise our own sin – and yearn for a family where sin will be confronted, not ignored or taken advantage of. Those three truths taken together find voice in Psalms 27 and 56, expression in the genealogy of Jesus, and resolution at the cross, where the one man who should never have met God’s silence experienced the full brutality of sin so that we can always hear God’s voice!

Scripture References: Genesis 34:1-31, Psalms 56:1-13, Matthew 27:45-56

From Series: "Genesis"


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