Peter Barnes: Genesis 34
SERMON NOTES: HANDLING THE HOTHEADS (Genesis 34)
– Genesis 34 tells a seedy, sorry and sordid story. It is so unpleasant that Professor H. C. Leupold says: ‘We may well wonder if any man who had proper discernment ever drew a text from this chapter.’
- We live in a fallen and dangerous world.
– 34:1-4. Everything has suddenly gone horribly wrong. Compare to Amnon in 2 Sam.13:1-2, 14-15.
– 34:20-23. The Shechemites are after Jacob’s wealth. There is sexual assault and there is greed and deception.
- Beware of violent zeal.
– 34:7. The brothers come up with a plan – 34:13-17. This is a terrible abuse of God’s covenant sign – Gen.17:9-13; see 12:1-3.
– 34:24-29. On his deathbed, Jacob would remember what Simeon and Levi had done, and lament their violence – 49:5-7.
– On 2 February 1779 Charles Simeon was informed that he would have to take Holy Communion in three weeks. Simeon was mortified: ‘Satan himself was as fit to attend as I.’ He later wrote: ‘I am far from considering it a good thing that young men in the university should be compelled to go to the table of the Lord: for it has an evident tendency to lower in their estimation that sacred ordinance, and to harden them in their iniquities.’
- Beware of a weak inertia.
– 34:5, 30. Jacob and his sons respond in opposite ways – 34:31.
Who gets it right – the hotheads or the peace at any price people? Or neither? Jacob is rather like King David in his dealings with Amnon and Absalom.