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Chinese1/20/2005English
經文:創世記卅四章至卅五章
鑰節:「雅各就對他家中的人,並一切與他同在的人說,你們要除掉你們中間的外邦神,也要自潔,更換衣裳。」(35:2)
提要

         聖經記載的第一宗強暴案受害人是利亞和雅各的女兒,底拿。這是一個悲劇性的故事。底拿被當地主人的兒子示劍玷辱時,年約十五歲。一場羞恥的醜聞突臨到這個信心之家。哈抹想有個圓滿的結局,便提議兩家結親,可以住在一起,這也是示劍的心願。但雅各的兒子們耍詐,要哈抹家所有的男丁都行割禮才同意這門親事。示劍很樂意這麼做,只要能得到底拿為妻,他的父親也同意了,並說服他的人民接受割禮。

         三天後,就在哈抹和他的家人受了割禮正疼痛時,底拿的兩個親哥哥,西緬和利未,趁機拿刀劍殺了那城中所有的男丁,還奪走一切的財物、婦女、和小孩。他們欺騙了與雅各謀和的人,惹惱他們的父親,也導致雅各被那地的居民痛恨。雅各怕他兒子們的惡行會給他和他的家人招來麻煩。雖然他被希伯來書的作者列入「信心名人榜」內(來11:21),但此處他還是缺少信心,因為上帝已經應許他許多次,必要保護他。雖然雅各的族群「人丁稀少」(34:30),但所有周圍城邑的人都因上帝的緣故很驚懼,所以並不敢追趕雅各的兒子。

         西緬和利未並沒因他們所行的立刻受罰,我們也沒看到流便因和他父親之妾辟拉同寢遭報(35:22),但這些罪都在雅各臨終的祝福和對他眾子的預言中被提及(創49:5~7)。流便喪失他的長子權給猶大。西緬和利未被剝奪土地繼承權,而散居在迦南地。利未支派後來變得比其餘的支派敬虔,所以被揀選成為至高上帝的祭司;雖然他們失去了土地的繼承權,但上帝使他們散居各地的目的是要他們在各支派中服事上帝,並且「耶和華以色列的上帝是他們的產業」(書13:33)。

         上帝對待利未的方式顯出祂的憐憫和寬恕。我們今天也是一樣:如果我們正在為罪的結果所苦,我們可以順服的來到上帝面前,求祂寬恕,祂必會照著所應許的赦免我們(約壹1:9;賽43:25),並將罪的結果變成祝福。

         上帝原是要雅各回他的父家(在迦南地南邊的希伯崙,但他在不該停留的地方支搭帳棚居住。如果一個人不順服上帝,置身錯誤的地方,罪往往就尾隨而至。上帝叫雅各「上」伯特利。雖然伯特利在他們的南方,但該地位居山丘,必須攀登三百零五公尺才能抵達。伯特利就是大約二十年前雅各看見天梯,及上帝首次向他說話,親自與他立約的地方。現在他們即將返回伯特利,雅各命令全家自潔,好預備進入「上帝的殿」,接受屬靈的更新和復興。他們必須自潔,並要「除掉你們中間的外邦神」(35:2)。所有妨礙人與上帝建立親密關係的事物都必須掩理、丟棄(35:4),然後上帝才能向你說話。上帝祝福雅各,重新確認他的名字要叫「以色列」,也再次證實祂賜給亞伯拉罕的約和應許。

         卅五章記載了三個人的死:首先是利百加的奶母底波拉;接著是雅各的愛妻拉結。拉結死於難產,她在臨終前為所生的這第十二個兒子取名為「便俄尼」(意思是「我憂傷之子」),但雅各後來給他改名叫便雅憫(意思是「我右手之子」)。最後,雅各回來看他垂死的父親。以撒一定很高興看見兩個蒙福的兒子回到應許之地,並已握手言和。上帝尊榮以撒,又讓他活得那麼久,使他可以親眼見到這一切。以撒就在平靜安詳中歸返天家。

禱告

         噢,上帝,我們主耶穌基督的父,給我們恩典除去任何不討您喜悅的事。求您改變並潔淨我們。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Genesis 34 & 35
Key Verse:“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments’.” (Genesis 35:2 )
Overview

         The first recorded incident of rape in the Bible was with Dinah, the daughter od Leah and Jacob. This is a tragic story of sin. Dinah was probably about 15 years old when she was violated by Shechem, the son of the ruler in that area. A shameful scandal had come upon the family of faith. Hamor tried to make the situation end for good by having them marry, which Shechem desired, then the two groups could live together like one family. The sons of Jacob dealt deceitfully with them and said they would agree if all the males among them with became circumcised. Shechem was happy to do this if he could then have Dinah for his wife, and his father agreed and convinced his people to do this also.

         Three days after the men were circumcised and in much pain, Dinah’s two older full brothers, Simeon and Levi, took matters into their own hands and slaughtered not only the guilty, but all the men in that town. They stole their goods, and took away the women and children. They deceived those who had made peace with Jacob, thus upsetting their father and causing him to be hated by the peoples of the land. Jacob was afraid of what might befall him and his household because of his sons’ wickedness. Although he is included with the men of faith listed by the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 11:21), here he was lacking in faith, for God had promised him many times to preserve him. Although Jacob’s group were but “few in numbers” (34:30), all the surrounding cities had “the terror of God” upon them and so they were afraid to pursue the sons of Jacob.

         The way God dealt with the Levites shows His mercy and forgiveness. The same is true for us today: if we are paying the consequences of sin, we can turn and be obedient to the Lord and ask for forgiveness, and He will forgive us, as He has promised (1 John 1:9; Isaiah 43:25), and turn the consequences of sin into a blessing.

         Jacob was told by God to go to his father (who was in the southern part of Canaan, in Hebron), but he stopped short and set up camp in a place he should not have been. Sin always follows if one, in disobedience to God, is in the wrong place. God told Jacob to “go up” to Bethel. Although Bethel is south of where they were, it is located on a hill and to get there one must ascend about 305 meters. Bethel was where Jacob had seen the heavenly ladder, about 20 years before, and where God first spoke to him and made the personal covenant with him. Now, in returning there, Jacob ordered a family purification so they may go up to the “house of God” and have spiritual renewal and a time of revival. They had to be purified and told to “put away the foreign gods that are among you” (35:2). All things that hinder a close relationship with God must be buried and forgotten (35:4), then God will speak to us. God blessed Jacob and reconfirmed that his name would now be “Israel” and reaffirmed the covenant and promises which He had given to Abraham.

         We are told of three deaths in chapter 35: the first was Deborah, Jacob’s mother’s nurse; then his beloved wife Rachel, died in giving birth to his 12th son whom she called “Ben Ony” (meaning “the son of my sadness”) just before she died, but Jacob renamed him Benjamin (meaning “son of m right hand”0. finally, upon reaching Hebron, Jacob went to his father as God had commanded him. Isaac, at 180 years old, was dying. Esau also came to see his dying father. It must have made Isaac’s heart glad to see his blessed son return to the land of promise, and to see Esau and Jacob reconciled. God honored Isaac and may have let him live that long so that he could witness all this with his own eyes. With his heart at peace, Isaac died.

Prayer

         O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give us grace to put away anything that would displease You. Change and purify us we pray.


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