#285 – Seek Revenge or Trust God as Judge (Genesis 34:25)

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“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.”
(Genesis 34:25)

The background behind this verse, as I mentioned in the previous podcast episode, that Jacob and his family stopped at Shechem. Soon after that, Dinah was hurt, mistreated, abused . . . Jacob’s only daughter, and then, Jacob was considering keeping his family there. And, so, two of Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, decide to take revenge on every male in Shechem. They killed all the males, verse 25 says.

Revenge is such a sinful, horrible thing, even when done in response to sinful, horrible evil. So, yes, Dinah should not have been mistreated, abused or hurt as she was. And, yet, killing everyone in Shechem was obviously not the way Jacob’s sons should have responded. You just see the effects of sin, how it spirals. How one’s sin leads to another sin leads to another sin. And, all kinds of people are hurt in the process.

We see this around us in the world, and we see this in our own hearts. We are so tempted when we have been treated unjustly, unfairly to want to fight back, to want to take revenge, and it’s a whole different mind set that says, “No, I will trust God with this. I will trust God as my Judge. I will trust God. Vengeance belongs to Him, and I trust that He will show His justice in the end. And, I don’t need to sin in a way to try to achieve that justice.” That’s not the way to go about it. So, why don’t we pray?

God, keep us from revenge, from sinful, evil desires to respond to injustice and evil around us with more evil in our own hearts. God, we prayed similar things like this before in Genesis, and we pray it again now. God, please keep us from revenge. Please help us to trust Your justice. And, in the same way, to live for justice. God, we want to work for justice, for righteousness, with a holiness in our lives. So, please, please, please help us to trust in You. Help us not to take things in our hands that You have not put in our hands. Help us to trust them in Your hands. Help us to know how to rightly respond to horrible evil around us. God, we long for justice. We want to work for justice. But, we don’t want to do that unjustly ourselves. We don’t want to do that sinfully ourselves. God, we need Your help. We pray that You would keep sin from spiraling through our lives with the way we respond to sin. God, help us to respond with grace, with mercy, with wisdom, with self-control, with all these things that only come from the power of Your Spirit working in and through us. We pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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