1. NEW AREA—NEW CHALLENGES
a. After Jacob’s meeting with Esau, how did God provide for his next move? Genesis 33:17–20.
“The patriarch’s prayer at Bethel, that God would bring him again in peace to his own land, had been granted.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 204.
b. What should we consider observing Jacob’s neglect in family management as he settled in the new area? Genesis 34:1; Matthew 6:13 (first part).
“Fathers and mothers, do you realize the importance of the responsibility resting on you? Do you allow your children to associate with other children without being present to know what kind of education they are receiving? Do not allow them to be alone with other children. . . .
“Here is a trial and a choice for you, to run the risk of offending your neighbors by sending their children to their own home, or gratify them, and let them lodge with your children, and thus expose them to be instructed in that knowledge which would be a lifelong curse to them.”—Child Guidance, pp. 114, 115.
2. THE DEFILING OF DINAH
a. When Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, went out with an apparently harmless plan to see the daughters of the land, what happened—and how is this tragedy a warning for us today? Genesis 34:2; 1 Corinthians 15:33.
“He who seeks pleasure among those that fear not God is placing himself on Satan’s ground and inviting his temptations.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 204.
“The world over . . . on every hand are the sights and sounds of evil. Everywhere are enticements to sensuality and dissipation.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 363.
“The cities have become as Sodom, and our children are daily exposed to many evils. Those who attend the public schools often associate with others more neglected than they, those who, aside from the time spent in the schoolroom, are left to obtain a street education. The hearts of the young are easily impressed; and unless their surroundings are of the right character, Satan will use these neglected children to influence those who are more carefully trained. Thus, before Sabbathkeeping parents know what is being done, the lessons of depravity are learned, and the souls of their little ones are corrupted.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 173.
“Sensuality has quenched the desire for holiness and withered spiritual prosperity.”—Child Guidance, p. 446.
b. What is to steer us away from such snares? 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
“Those who have charge of God’s property in the souls and bodies of the children formed in His image should erect barriers against the sensual indulgence of the age, which is ruining the physical and moral health of thousands. If many of the crimes of this time were traced to their true cause, it would be seen that they are chargeable to the ignorance of fathers and mothers who are indifferent on this subject.”—Ibid., p. 115.
“There are those who will say, ‘Oh, you need not be so particular. A little harmless flirtation will do no injury.’ And the carnal heart urges on to temptation, and to the practical sanctioning of indulgences which end in sin. This is a low cast of morality, not meeting the high standard of the law of God.”—Medical Ministry, p. 143.
3. READY TO PLEDGE
a. How did the heathen Shechem view his obligation to Dinah? Genesis 34:3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 12. What emergency provision was God later to give the Hebrews for this type of situation? Deuteronomy 22:28, 29.
b. Though ignorant of God’s standards for His people, Shechem’s affection for Jacob’s daughter appears to have been sincere—yet what peril was on the horizon with his father’s proposal? Genesis 34:9, 10.
“Regarding the relation that Israel should sustain to surrounding peoples, the Lord had declared through Moses: ‘Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; . . . for they will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.’ ‘Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.’ Deuteronomy 7:2–4; 14:2.
“The result that would follow an entrance into covenant relation with surrounding nations was plainly foretold.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 568, 569.
c. How does God’s warning against intermarrying with unbelievers continue to echo down to us today? 2 Corinthians 6:14–18.
“Unless you would have a home where the shadows are never lifted, do not unite yourself with one who is an enemy of God.”—Messages to Young People, p. 440.
“Christ’s followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 441.
4. TREACHEROUS FRUIT
a. How did Jacob’s sons propose to solve the predicament—and what was the response? Genesis 34:7, 13–24.
b. Despite the amicable agreement made, what horrible act did two of Jacob’s sons afterwards carry out—and how are we warned against the way they tried to justify their treachery? Genesis 34:25–29, 31; Matthew 5:13.
“The tarry of Jacob and his sons at Shechem ended in violence and bloodshed. The one daughter of the household had been brought to shame and sorrow, two brothers were involved in the guilt of murder, a whole city had been given to ruin and slaughter, in retaliation for the lawless deed of one rash youth. . . .
“The treacherous cruelty of Simeon and Levi was not unprovoked; yet in their course toward the Shechemites they committed a grievous sin.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 204.
“A profession of godliness without the living principle is as utterly valueless as salt without its saving properties. An unprincipled professed Christian is a byword, a reproach to Christ, a dishonor to His name.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 443.
c. What did Jacob realize about the serious flaws in his family management—and what ray of hope came to his heart? Genesis 34:30; 35:1.
“Jacob felt that there was cause for deep humiliation. Cruelty and falsehood were manifest in the character of his sons. There were false gods in the camp, and idolatry had to some extent gained a foothold even in his household. Should the Lord deal with them according to their deserts, would He not leave them to the vengeance of the surrounding nations?
“While Jacob was thus bowed down with trouble, the Lord directed him to journey southward to Bethel. The thought of this place reminded the patriarch not only of his vision of the angels and of God’s promises of mercy, but also of the vow which he had made there, that the Lord should be his God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 205.
5. RESTORATION TO GOD’S WAYS
a. Explain the vital step Jacob took in family reformation—and the amazing results. Genesis 35:2–5.
“As [Jacob] reviewed the wonderful dealings of God with him, his own heart was softened, his children also were touched by a subduing power; he had taken the most effectual way to prepare them to join in the worship of God when they should arrive at Bethel.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 205.
“Jacob was humbled, and required his family to humble themselves, and to lay off all their ornaments, for he was to make an atonement for their sins, by offering a sacrifice unto God, that he might be entreated for them, and not leave them to be destroyed by other nations.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 137.
b. How can believers in every age be inspired by the type of fresh, new experience Jacob had at Bethel? Genesis 35:6, 7; Acts 19:18–20.
“God accepted the efforts of Jacob to remove the wrong from his family, and appeared unto him, and blessed him, and renewed the promise made to him, because his fear was before Him.”—Ibid.
“Burn the magical books; burn every last one of them; burn everything—yes, consume it—that will suffer a connection between you and the powers of darkness. ‘Come out from among them, and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you’ [2 Corinthians 6:17]. This is what we should want to do. We want to bow in reverence to the God of heaven.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 68.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why do parents need to be highly vigilant over children and youth today?
2. How likely is a tragedy such as in Dinah’s case liable to happen today?
3. What was wrong with the way Simeon and Levi dealt with Shechem’s sin?
4. Why is it so important for me to set a right example before the world?
5. What kind of reformation might I need to carry out in my own family?