Saturday, February 17

thornscrossGenesis 34

Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.”

5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing must not be done.

8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife. 9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 Ask me for as great a bride-price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife.”

13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone.”

18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19 And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his father’s house. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people—when every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their livestock, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” 24 And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

25 On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house and went away. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. 29 All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered.

30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

Psalm 44

1  O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 2  you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free;3  for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. 4 You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! 5  Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. 6  For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. 7  But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. 8 In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah 9  But you have rejected us and disgraced us and have not gone out with our armies. 10  You have made us turn back from the foe, and those who hate us have gotten spoil. 11  You have made us like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the nations. 12 You have sold your people for a trifle, demanding no high price for them. 13  You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us. 14  You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples. 15  All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face 16  at the sound of the taunter and reviler, at the sight of the enemy and the avenger. 17 All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant. 18  Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way; 19  yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death. 20  If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. 22  Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! 24  Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? 25  For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground. 26  Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

Matthew 21:28-44

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw ityou did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

The Parable of the Tenants
33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

Questions to Ponder:

Often we try to solve our troubles with our own hands. Jacob’s sons used the sword. The Psalm tells us “for by their own sword they did not possess the land.” The Psalm tells us not to trust our own weapon, or our own arm, but to trust in the Lord and to turn to him with our heart. He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. Do you turn to him? Do you remember who wins your battles?

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