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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved and very angry, because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, a thing which ought not to be done.”—Genesis 34:7 (NKJV)
This story marks a complicated and dark chapter in Israel’s history. In it, we see the journey and destination of sin laid out clearly through the actions of a man named Shechem. This path is summed up in James 1:14–16 (NIV): “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
The Crossroads of Evil Desire and Temptation
Dinah was between 12 and 17 years old at this time—let that sink in. Scholars believe Dinah’s visit was one of curiosity, to see what the native women were like. While there, an entitled, wicked man named Shechem saw her and wanted her. After seeing Dinah, Shechem was filled with lust and evil desire for her.
Friends, like Shechem, we’ve all had sinful thoughts and desires, but when we come to the crossroads of desire and temptation, we must flee like Joseph as we remember, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV). How do we do this? Jesus said we must, “Watch and pray that [we] may not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41 ESV).
The Paved Road of Sin
After seeing Dinah and being filled with lust, Shechem raped her. His evil desires birthed action—abhorrent, heinous action. While Scripture is silent on what Dinah experienced, we can be sure she was severely scarred by this unspeakable wickedness. Then, after the evil he committed against God and Dinah, Shechem didn’t seek forgiveness. Instead, he made this demand to his father: “Get me this girl as my wife” (Genesis 34:4 NIV). Seriously unbelievable. He kept paving that road brick by brick.
The Destination of Death
James 1:16 (NIV) says, “Sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Spoiler alert: Tomorrow you’ll see that Jacob’s son Levi and Simeon enact extreme retribution on Shechem and kill all the men of the town as they found themselves in a weakened state (Genesis 34:13–24).
Now, while Dinah’s brothers had every right to be outraged at what was done, as we all should when we see evil and injustice, what they did was sinful and wrong as well. But the point we see here is that Shechem’s road of sin led to death. This is how sin works. It devastates all that it touches and brings about death and destruction. Thank God that in Christ, we have received life and freedom from sin and death! I pray that, as believers, we may never find ourselves fallen into a sinful season that results in dire consequences.
DIG: How have you seen the devastating effects of sin in your life?
DISCOVER: What can you do to overcome temptation and avoid sin?
DO: Follow God’s ways and you will always do what is right in God’s eyes.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.