Posts Tagged ‘Rape’

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Unbelievable! © Ross Cochrane

Genesis 34:14-16 – WHY? UNBELIEVABLE! (Part 4)

Shechem has raped Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. He now wants to marry her as a child bride and has kept her at his house. Surprisingly, Jacob’s sons don’t respond by speaking of the disgrace of raping their young sister! They don’t speak of the disgrace of child kidnapping and child sex slavery! They don’t talk of the disgrace of what they are really thinking! Instead, they talk of Circumcision. “We won’t let you marry her…” they say, “… because you’re not circumcised.”

WHY?!

Why circumcision? … Random. Circumcision is a sign of the covenant given to Abraham. What has this got to do with anything? If you want to talk about a sign why not a sign like a tattoo on the arm or something similar? Or wear colors on their leather jackets. At least those are signs that can be seen. But Circumcision? Really?

Here’s how I understand it. It seems to me that the sign of circumcision has something to do with the promise of Abraham having many descendants, being fruitful and multiplying (see the last post). The sign reaffirms God’s promise right at the very place where the sexual act takes place. It marks the sexual act as set apart for God’s purposes.

God was looking for obedience, but not just obedience. He wanted Abraham’s heart. This was a covenant sign of fruitfulness but also a sign of complete faith in God. The ritual needed to speak of the relationship. The outside sign needed to reflect an inward change of the heart concerning marriage and family and faith.

Romans 2:28-29 (NLT) speaks of what it means to be a Jewish believer. It says “For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”

The sign of Circumcision reminds the Jewish male believers that God has authority over them even in the most private aspects of their lives. He designed them and set them apart for sex within the context of their marriages, with their wives alone. It prompts them to remember, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

So what is going on in Genesis 34? Circumcision for someone like Shechem makes no sense at all! He is not part of the believing community. Shechem and the Hivite community have rejected faith in God. Now Jacob’s sons are also acting as if they have no faith … to the point of blasphemy. They are willing to desecrate a holy covenant ritual in order to amplify the intensity of their revenge?

DISCONNECTION

Twisting things around, Jacob’s sons say, in effect, that Circumcision is the only thing that separates them from the Hivite community. It’s a partial truth designed to achieve evil purposes. Circumcision is not the only reason for Jacob’s family to be separated from the Hivite community. What is? Hivite unbelief and a culture totally opposed to the things of God.

RELIGION AND REVENGE

Jacob’s son’s don’t mention anything about faith in God. Yet they want to use a holy sign of faith in Israel’s community as a means of revenge, the very opposite to the unifying sign of faith it was designed by God to be. Religion used as a means for murder. Nothing has changed. This is terrorism at its religious worst. Deceiving Shechem and themselves, they weave their evil trap further…

“… then we will give you our daughters, and we’ll take your daughters for ourselves,” they say, “We will live among you and become one people.” They have no intention of doing this.But if you don’t agree to be circumcised, we will take her and be on our way.” (Genesis 34:16 NLT). Are they really interested in Dinah or in revenge?

Are they really interested in Dinah or in vengeance?

Jeremiah 9:8 (NLT) mirrors what they are doing. It speaks of the deceit of religious people. “…their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them.”

The POSB commentary makes an interesting aside. “How many churches and ministers deceive people by leading them to put their trust in the church and its rituals instead of Christ Himself?”

Genesis 34 invites me to reflect upon being honest in how I respond to immorality. I am encouraged not to use religion as a means of manipulation or for indulging in revenge against those with whom I disagree. I am to be honest in expressing my faith and witnessing the change that has occurred in my heart because Christ died for my sins. I am to call for God’s justice in the world, even when depravity is an acceptable way of life in the community. I am to seek God’s heart and God’s promises, not simply fit in with cultural norms for my life and family.

Pastor Ross

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Unbelievable! © by Ross Cochrane

Genesis 34:8-13 – UNBELIEVABLE, TOO (Part 2)

Hamor tries to speak with Jacob and his sons. “My son Shechem is truly in love with your daughter,” he said. “Please let him marry her” (Genesis 34:8 NLT).

Shechem, the pedophile, rapist and kidnapper, can see the shocked looks on the faces of Dinah’s brothers. This deal is going south so he steps in and cuts to the chase. He says,

“Please be kind to me, and let me marry her,” he begs. “I will give you whatever you ask. No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I will gladly pay it—just give me the girl as my wife.” (Genesis 34:11-12 NLT)

SHECHEM, if only…

Shechem, the pedophile, has the nerve to come to Jacob and his sons and ask for a child marriage with Dinah, the one he has raped and kidnapped. He doesn’t even use her name! She is just “the girl”. He does not bring Dinah back to the family, humbly bow before them and admit his guilt and willingness to undergo a negotiated discipline for his crime. Be kind to me, he says. Unbelievable! Shechem, if only…

Shechem is willing to buy Dinah for a high price to get what he wants, but not acknowledge the shame and criminality of his actions. He is rich and Dinah is simply a commodity that he wants to keep without any trouble from the family. She is already his child sex slave.

Again the Bible calls Shechem’s act for what it is.

“But since Shechem had defiled their sister, Dinah, Jacob’s sons responded deceitfully to Shechem and his father, Hamor” (Genesis 34:13 NLT).

JACOB, where are you?

Where are you Jacob, when it counts? Still, you are silent and allow your sons to negotiate on your behalf. Don’t you realize that they only want revenge? Don’t you understand that they are willing to use anything to get back at Shechem and the Hivite community as a whole? You may not like the outcome of all this.

Jacob’s sons revert to their father’s tactics when things get out of hand. Deceit is an old standby in this family! They think that given the circumstances it is OK to lie. Still Jacob does nothing and says nothing. His leadership in this situation is manifestly imperceptible, conspicuously absent.

What Jacob’s sons say next will shock everybody… (see next post).

Pastor Ross

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Unbelievable! © by Ross Cochrane

Genesis 34:7-10 – UNBELIEVABLE!

Was it while they were on their way, that anger erupted, and they plotted their plan for vengeance?

“Jacob’s sons had come in from the field as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious that their sister had been raped. Shechem had done a disgraceful thing against Jacob’s family, something that should never be done” (Genesis 34:7 NLT).

Jacob sends a messenger to his sons and they come immediately. Shocked and angry, at least they recognize that pedophilia and rape was something that should never be done; a disgrace! Finally, someone actually cares about what happened to Dinah and they are concerned for her personal well-being. Taking it as an offense to them as a family, they identify with her. Where is Jacob in all this?

JACOB, where is your leadership?

Jacob doesn’t say anything! Not a word. He doesn’t seem to take part in any of the proceedings until later, when murder gets in the way of his reputation and standing in the community.

“Hamor tried to speak with Jacob and his sons. “My son Shechem is truly in love with your daughter,” he said. “Please let him marry her” (Genesis 34:8 NLT).

Why is Dinah still at Shechem’s house? Perhaps if Hamor had brought Dinah back to Jacob, humbly apologized for his son’s criminal actions, spelling out an agreement for terms of discipline, offered a huge amount of compensation and an assurance that he would not tolerate such actions in his community, it might have gone down a little better. Hamor, if only…

HAMOR, what are you thinking?

Hamor speaks nothing of his son’s behavior and instead points to the economic and community benefits of intermarriage. Unbelievable!

A child marriage is Hamor’s way of turning an awkward situation into an equitable arrangement. Wanting to put the whole incident behind him, Hamor just wants to carry out the wishes of his son and get a good trade deal along the way. Win-win, … except for Dinah.

It annoys me that some commentaries actually agree with Hamor’s suggestion! What kind of planet are they on?

Hamor is on-a-roll. He says, “In fact, let’s arrange other marriages, too. You give us your daughters for our sons, and we will give you our daughters for your sons. And you may live among us; the land is open to you! Settle here and trade with us. And feel free to buy property in the area.”  (Genesis 34:9-10)

The economic advantages are significant. But still, not once is any consideration for Dinah taken into account. He wants friendly relations with Jacob, but Dinah’s rape is just a catalyst for his business transactions.

Settle down, trade, be partners with us, assimilate.

Abraham and Isaac had encouraged their children not to intermarry with the Canaanites. Xenophobia? Obviously not. Jacob had settled in the area, bought land, traded. He had set up an altar as a witness to his faith in God. It was not a hatred of other people groups, but a healthy disgust of their wicked cultural and religious influences which would put them in danger of compromising and defiling the heritage of their faith in God.

This story is so unsettling and so is the Christian commentary I have been reading on this chapter of the Bible.

I am left with so many questions. How do I show leadership when I am needed the most? What kind of compromises to my faith am I willing to make that may put the Christian heritage of my family at risk? How much do I water down my sinful attitudes and actions? Am I willing to call out evil for what it is? When it comes to the crunch, do I treasure the welfare of those around me or my own interests?

There is no wisdom here with Jacob, with Hamor and certainly not Shechem. Where is justice, leadership, wisdom and compassion when it is needed? The anger of Jacob’s sons proves later to have no God-given boundaries. 

Perhaps the author paints with a palette of black in Genesis 34 but the canvas is primed with light and gives me opportunity to clearly perceive the contrasts. Genesis 34 invites me to show compassion and love, especially to my own family, to apply wisdom, leadership and responsibility when I see evil, to treat people with respect and show repentance when I have wronged them, to be willing to pay the consequences and make reparation when needed, and not to compromise my faith. Most of all it invites me to ask for God’s wisdom, to include Him in my responses when confronted by those who accept the defiling influences of the world in which we live. Some serious things to think about here.

James 1:21 (NLT) says So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”

Pastor Ross

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Seared Conscience © by Ross Cochrane

Genesis 34:5-6 – CAUTERISED

“Soon Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter, Dinah. But since his sons were out in the fields herding his livestock, he said nothing until they returned” (Genesis 34:5 NLT). 

How did Jacob hear about his daughter being raped by a pedophile? Perhaps it was community gossip, or from some of Dinah’s friends. Genesis 34:5 describes rape and pedophilia as Defilement (Genesis 34:5,3,27), and normally Judgment would be expected for the perpetrator for perverting the act of sex designed for marriage. Later, this would be defined in the Mosaic law.

Jacob doesn’t say or do anything until he sees his sons. Has he delegated his responsibility as a father to Dinah’s brothers?

I raise this because later, when Joseph, his favorite son is missing, assumed killed, Jacob is distraught. Is Jacob less concerned about his daughter being raped by a Paedophile and held captive in his home? He doesn’t go immediately and insist on her return but wants to wait and involve his sons.

JACOB, if only …

Is it because Dinah is the child of his least loved wife, Leah? Leah is the mother of many of Jacob’s sons but not the wife of his heart. In her loneliness, God answers her prayer for children including a daughter (Genesis 30:21). Leah calls her Dinah.

It seems neither Leah nor Dinah is loved by Jacob, and they are therefore vulnerable to the weeping wounds of such loss as he all too often neglects them for Rachel.

In my ministry, I meet many people who experience times when they feel unwanted, excluded, unloved, or even neglected. Times when they feel misjudged or overlooked; times when they know an aching emptiness as they see those they care for or love withdraw, reject and ignore them.

Does this story of rape, pedophilia and child marriage have its starting place with a lonely young girl, who feels unloved by her father, running away from home to her neighborhood friends for some support? Jacob, if only …

Jacob may have done nothing, but Hamor, the father of the pedophile, instigates action to alleviate any animosity that may result from his son’s actions. He considers Child Marriage to be the answer and custom dictates that marriage, even child marriage, be negotiated by parents. Unbelievable!

HAMOR, if only …

“Hamor, Shechem’s father, came to discuss the matter with Jacob” (Genesis 34:6 NLT). Notice, there is no record of Hamor rebuking or disciplining his son for rape, pedophilia or kidnapping. There are no consequences in a court of law. There is no record of Hamor apologizing for his son’s actions. There is no talk of immorality, evil, shame, remorse or even asking humbly for forgiveness for this crime.

Were women in Canaanite culture treated like sexual objects so often that rape was accepted? Were there leaders so corrupt that no-one was willing to recognize and do something about a culture of rape, pedophilia, and kidnapping? Was it accepted that a man of power, a prince, could have sex with anyone he wanted? For that matter, had sex outside of marriage, as in our times, become the normal cultural practice where even children are sexualised? Hamor, if only…

Jacob is no better. Even now Jacob seems to keep his peace and does nothing. Jacob’s attitude and actions are in stark contrast to the response of his sons (see next post).

Genesis 34 is so much a mirror of the culture in which I live and Ephesians 4:18-19 (NLT) does not water down describing those who ignore God’s purposes for our world. It speaks of those whose “minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.” 

1 Timothy 4:1-2 (AMP) speaks of people whose “… consciences are seared (cauterized)”. Isaiah 5:20 (NLT) says, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark,…” 

Genesis 34 is, therefore, an invitation to recognize evil for what it is, not to cauterize my conscience by being conformed to a culture of sexual deviancy. Lord, help me to speak and take appropriate action when needed.

Pastor Ross

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Blame and Excuse – © Ross Cochrane

Genesis 34 – IF ONLY …

Genesis 34:1 says, “One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the young women who lived in the area.” 

Only one of Jacob’s daughters is ever mentioned in the Bible. Tracing the years from her birth, evidence suggests that Dinah is young, perhaps as young as 7-12 years old.

There is nothing to indicate that she is rebellious, naïve or ignorant as some have suggested. She is a normal little girl who obviously wanted to make friends. Did she leave her home that day without permission from her Mum or Dad? Why didn’t her brothers accompany her? Whatever the reason was for her to be alone that day in the neighborhood, she could not have foreseen what would happen.

It was a dangerous neighborhood. The Hivites were known historically for social and religious customs which cut across God’s purposes. Their cultural norms made them so detestable to God that later he would tell Moses to conquer them and destroy them completely. Racial cleansing? Nothing would cleanse the extent of their sin. This was a people group who were so wicked the wages of their sin was war. Nothing has changed.

MOSES, you should have…

If only Moses had been around. Moses would later say to the Hebrew tribes, You must completely destroy the Hittites, …, just as the Lord your God has commanded you. This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 20:17-18).

The Hivites were to be judged for the nature of their depravity, such was their evil influence. Moses can’t be held to blame for what happened to Dinah. There are certainly consequences for such blatant wickedness, but this evil rears it’s ugly head long before Moses appears on the scene.

Genesis 34:2 speaks of a sexual predator, a pedophile, parading as a prince. “But when the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her.”

This is the first recorded rape in the Bible, the first example of pedophilia, carried out by a man with social standing, the local prince of the Hivites.

Yet, strange attitudes of blame and excuse have persisted concerning this event. Calvin, the great theologian intimates that Dinah is the one responsible for her own rape. He writes, “…not less danger hangs over weak virgins at this day, if they go too boldly and eagerly into public assemblies, and excite the passions of youth towards themselves.”

DINAH, you should have…

Many people suggest a cautious approach when it comes to women walking alone, and suggest that if Dinah ignored the danger of walking alone, she was asking for it. It becomes the victims’ responsibility entirely and so to Dinah, they shout…

“Stay safe! – Don’t walk alone, especially at night, ask someone to accompany you, work out the safest route to where you want to go, keep to well-lit streets, avoid parks, be hyper-aware of your environment; all escape routes, all doorways and obstacles. Better still – take a cab, don’t travel on the train, wear clothes to run in, dress as a man, don’t wear flimsy clothing, short skirts or anything that exposes the breasts. Scream “Fire!” if you are attacked.” If only Dinah had been more careful …

Others intimate that Dinah should have carried a sword, responding to violence with violence – “buy a gun or pepper spray, take self-defense classes and walk where you want.” If only Dinah was taught to fight …

Feminists would talk to Dinah about a rape culture. They would say it is not a matter of teaching young women how to avoid rape by not going anywhere on their own. They would declare to educators and parents, “Don’t tell us to restrict our freedom. Tell them not to rape!” N Fitzsimmons says, “The safety of women is not just about women having to always be fearful, and it’s not her fault if she’s attacked. It’s about teaching children from an early age to be respectful of all people. And that means the adults setting an example by always being respectful of all people.” If only Shechem had been taught not to rape Dinah …

Even in between all these views there is no real answer and these are not the insights that can adequately be directed towards a little girl. Was Dinah responsible for being raped? Obviously not! Was she able to defend herself? No! Did she live in a lawless culture who regarded women as commodities for sexual exploitation? Yes! Was she too young to really appreciate the danger? Yes.

IF ONLY…

If only her parents or brothers had been aware of her wandering away that day. If only Moses had been on the scene long before this had happened. If only Jacob and Leah had shown a little more foresight and care for a little girl in the family. If only her brothers had accompanied her that day.

If only, if only, if only! … then this tragic situation could have been averted. Living in regret for what we could have done is living in the “If only’s” and “What if’s”. Who’s to blame? Moses, Dinah, her parents or her brothers? Or all of the above? Who will take responsibility for Shechem’s behavior and shield the perpetrator from blame?

Should we lobby governments for better lighting in the parks, security cameras everywhere, laws to make parents transport their children everywhere, curfews at nightclubs, mass rallies to protest against rapists? Longer jail sentences? Less personal rights?

Should we bubble wrap our children? Cocoon them in cotton wool? Shield them from any of the harsher edges of reality? Never let them walk in the park in case something will happen? Even Jesus said to His disciples, Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

Fear of harm and “If only…” and “What if…” mentalities will never be enough to solve the real problem of sin in our world. Oh, yes, let’s do what we can to protect our children, but let’s be aware that they are at best band-aid solutions.

Not legislation or even education could ever be enough to deal with the problem of sin. Yes, I will take measures to protect our children and grandchildren, but I hope not to forget or fail to include the only real answer for this world – the life-changing transformation only Christ can make in a person’s life. Only the message of Christ has the capability to adequately solve the problem of sin. In Romans 1:16 (NLT) Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes …”

Ephesians 2:1-22 (NLT) says, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, … All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. … God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. … For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. … In those days you were living apart from Christ…. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ. For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. …You are members of God’s family.”  

Genesis 34 invites us not to whitewash the tombstone, but know Christ and make Him known, so that resurrection life will arise and true love for God and each other can be extended.

And by the way, when it all comes down to it, only Shechem himself can bear the blame for his perverted and abusive actions.

Something to think about.

Pastor Ross

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 68

“But it is not enough simply to humiliate David and destroy his reputation.” said Ahithophel, “We must also destroy him!”

Absalom said, “Go on.”

There is only one way to destroy David now,” said Ahithophel. I know David’s tactics. If we give him any time to think, he will devise a plan to win back his kingdom. Let me choose 12,000 men and I will pursue David tonight. He will still be exhausted from his rapid retreat out of Jerusalem. If we attack him while he is least expecting it we will decimate his army. Most of the people with him will flee for their lives in the confusion. Those who remain will be scattered. Before he can regather his army I will strike him down. Then we can return with the people he has taken with him. They will refuse to return unless he is dead. They will accept you as king if he is dead because you are his son. Then and only then will there be peace. 

The elders thought that this plan was good. Absalom agreed except he would have liked to have been there to see David die. Just as he took delight in watching his brother die, so too he saw in his mind the death of his father. Still, something didn’t appear right about this. It seemed too simple. He said, Your plan is good but I want to hear what Hushai the Archite has to say. Bring him back to me and explain your plan to him. 

Ahithophel felt confident about this request and left immediately to bring Hushai to Absalom. Along the way, he spoke to Hushai and told him to affirm his plan. Hushai listened carefully and came before Absalom.

Ahithophel has a plan to decimate the army of my father. Absalom said. Once more the plan was outlined to Hushai and Absalom said, What are your thoughts? Do you agree?

The room was silent as Hushai looked at Ahithophel and then back to Absalom. In that brief moment, he prayed fervently that the Lord would help him to thwart the counsel of Ahithophel, and give him the right words to say that would bring disaster on Absalom. He was not used to public speaking but his deep resonant voice rang in each person’s ears as if it had been amplified by the Spirit of God himself. He said, “With due respect to Ahithophel, this time, I can’t agree with his advice.” 

Ahithophel’s eyes narrowed and he frowned as Hushai continued speaking directly to Absalom. You know your father and his men. They are as fierce and mighty as a bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is an expert in strategic warfare. He knows that country like the back of his hand. He won’t spend the night with the people. He has most likely hidden in a cave or in some other place suitable for an ambush. 

This is not a good way to begin your campaign; with little organisation and only 12,000 men. The whole of Israel will say that you sent these men to their slaughter. After that, it won’t matter how valiant your soldiers are. They will lose heart completely. 

Your father has a reputation for being a mighty man and those who are with him are very experienced and valiant warriors. This action will only increase his reputation and make you weak in the sight of all Israel.

My counsel is to take time to gather all the men of Israel from Dan as far as Beersheba so that you have an army which will be like the sand of the sea. They will be so abundant that you will not fail to reach your objective. Then I would suggest that you personally lead them into battle. When you find your father, you will decimate his army so completely that not one of them will remain alive. If a city opens its gates to him, then we will drag that city into the valley until not one stone is left standing. By this time, Hushai’s voice had reached a crescendo and his argument had been very convincing. He could see that Absalom was in agreement, but both he and Ahithophel were ushered out of the room before the decision was made.

Ahithophel said to Hushai on the way out, If your advice is taken then this day you have betrayed Israel! Hushai remained silent. It was amusing to him that a traitor to king David would accuse him of betrayal. He prayed fervently as he then made his way undetected by Absalom’s spies to his first rendezvous with the priests Zadok and Abiathar.

Absalom was convinced and came to the point. He said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than Ahithophel’s counsel. The elders were in agreement. Absalom would continue his celebrations while Hushai’s plans were being put into operation. It would take some days to gather his full army.

Absalom looked out at Jerusalem. It was on this same roof that David had once looked upon Bathsheba. That afternoon and in the days to come, as the wine flowed and the celebrations became raucous, David’s concubines were brought into Absalom presence. Each of them had been used like slaves serving Absalom’s men at the tables. In his drunkenness and thirst for more power over David, he brought each of them forcefully onto his rooftop balcony and sexually abused them. He wielded his dagger and threatened them with death until they were too afraid to resist. News of Absalom’s perversion spread quickly as his army was gathered from every corner of Israel. Hushai could do nothing. He thought, In broad daylight he brings shame to the family of Davidbut most of all he is bringing shame upon himself.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 49

Absalom immediately went to his father, the king, expecting justice. He was almost shouting with rage as he said, “He raped her! Tamar told me she struggled to get away, but there was nothing that she could do! This is outrageous!” 

“Calm down Absalom,” said David.

Calm down? He ordered her out of his house! He shouted at her and told her to ‘Get up, go away!’ as if she was one of his slaves to do his bidding. She felt so bereft and violated she refused. She no longer had any place to go. She could not bring herself to return to the palace as if nothing had happened.

He had an opportunity to show integrity and compassion! All he showed her was contempt. He just called his servant and ordered him to throw her out and to lock the door behind her! To abuse her and throw her out like that is pure wickedness! He wouldn’t listen to her.

She made it known publically that she had been violated by putting ashes on her head, and she tore the long-sleeved garment that she wore. You should have seen her. She was so distressed and she was crying out loudly for help. Everyone around her saw how distressed and shocked she was. That’s the state in which I found her.”

David said, “Where is she now?”

I took her to my house so she’ll be safe.”

He did not mention to David that when Tamar had explained all that happened, he had said, “I want you to keep silent about this, Tamar.”

But that doesn’t mean that I will not seek retribution.

“If I know Amnon, he’ll try to blame her and she will be the one who’ll end up being punished. But the facts are clear.” I intend to get justice.

David was very angry, and Absalom expected that Amnon would be taken before the elders of the city for judgement.

The elders will probably force him to take her into his household as his wife to avoid royal disgrace. That’s not enough. Charges must be laid. Rape carries a death sentence. Absalom was not sure that they would allow a prince to be charged with rape? Surely he will not escape the consequences of breaking the law simply because he is a prince. 

But David did nothing. He was unwilling to act in terms of justice and discipline. Perhaps as David thought about his own sin with Bathsheba and how he had escaped with his life, he thought that Amnon deserved to live also. But nothing at all was done.

Absalom resented David for not acting and hated Amnon all the more for raping his sister and getting away with it. He wouldn’t speak to Amnon or anyone else about the matter in any way.

You will pay! Absalom would find a way to give vent to the hate that festered within him both for his father and for Amnon. After two years it became white hot, hammered and tempered with iron teeth into the shape of revenge.

Pastor Ross

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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 48

The lion roared from somewhere in the hills as the sun began to set. There was no need for concern. It was some distance away and they had not had difficulties with lions for some time. Still the shepherds of Absalom’s flocks would need to be alert tonight. The discussion soon turned to other matters.

A few hours later it stalked through the grass, as silent as the night itself, towards the flock, taking a few rapid steps, and then somehow merging into the grass and semidarkness again, so that even the sharpest of eyes would have trouble spotting its majestic form.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

The request was innocent enough so David had granted it.

Absalom heard what had happened next from Tamar who was so traumatised by the events that she was in shock. Through her tears she said,

“Our father the king sent for me. He told me to go to my brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him. I thought the request was strange but I obeyed. I found Amnon lying down. He was sick. I made cakes in his sight but when I dished them out to him he refused to eat.

All of a sudden he ordered everyone out of the house and he told me to bring the food into the bedroom so that he could eat from my hand. So I took the cakes which I had made and brought them into his bedroom.

That’s when he took hold of me and asked me to sleep with him. I was very afraid but I said, ‘No!’ and tried to get away, but he was determined. I said, ‘Amnon, please don’t violate me. You will be disgraced in all Israel. And what about me? I would never be free of my reproach.’

I told him that he would be like one of the fools in Israel. He still refused to let me go so I pleaded with him to speak to the king. I said that if he did then the king would probably agree for me to marry him. He still wouldn’t listen to me and he was too strong for me.”

At this point, Tamar broke down again and was shaking so much she was not able to continue for some time.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

The young male lion was rabid and almost starving. It’s matted mane was a light tawny colour and it’s ribs showed through it’s lean frame, yet still each muscle moved with the precision borne from instinct.

Normally the females would hunt, but the male had recently been chased from the pride by a larger and more dominant male. He had gone into the hills to recover from his wounds and his body now showed the scars of the confrontation. Hunger now urged him down into the plains and to risk possible contact with people.

The lion uttered a deep, warm rumbling sound as it selected its prey. Its attention was distracted momentarily as it spotted the shepherd and it’s ears flattened against its mane. It snarled and moved forward silently with rapid padded steps and then froze as it felt the wind change direction slightly. The flock was still being herded towards an enclosure. The scent had not yet reached them but instinctively the lion knew that it would have to move fast. The shepherd was out in front of the flock, calling them occasionally with a high pitched whistle.

Like a catapult being released, the elastic shape of the lion’s body exploded from the grasslands towards the flock.

The shepherd was caught totally by surprise and even as he turned, the lion had already covered a distance of 20 metres, it’s eyes intensely focused on a fat ewe on the edge of the flock. In a matter of seconds, the lion had come from its charge, reared up, and was sinking its hooked claws into the back of the ewe. The sheep crumpled to the ground under the weight and with a deft movement, the lion’s fangs were deep into its throat.

For a split second, it hesitated, it’s pale yellow eyes now fastened upon the shepherd and it’s ears twitching at the unfamiliar sound of his voice as he shouted abuse. It stood astride the fallen ewe and roared a warning as the shepherd approached, it’s fangs and eyes shining in the afterglow of sunset. It was determined to keep it’s kill.

The rank smell of the lion filled the shepherd’s nostrils as the stone from his slingshot was released with incredible velocity. At the same time, the lion bent down to pick up the carcass of the sheep and the stone whistled harmlessly through its mane.

In seconds, it had bounded back into the darkness and safety of the grasslands like a phantom of the night.

Pastor Ross

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PART 5 – GENESIS 19:1-38 – HAPPILY EVER AFTER – NOT!

Happily Ever After?

Julie and the kids were on their way home from the park when it happened. Ben was only about 5 years old and happily walking and running ahead on the edge of the road. There was no footpath beside the road but he was still on the grassy area. Then he must have seen our house on the other side of the road and headed towards it, edging onto the road just as a car roared up from behind him. Julie screamed for him to stop but there was not enough time.

To this day, Julie does not understand how it happened. He should have been run over. It looked to her as if Ben was picked up and thrown out of harms way onto the grass. She believes a guardian ANGEL PROTECTED HIM.

We have sought to bring our children up in the ways of the Lord. They have an understanding that they are important to Him and to us.

In Genesis 19 ANGELS SAVE LOT, his wife and his girls from the angry gay mob. Mind you, the angels have their work cut out for them in trying to get Lot and his family out! Judgment, DRAGON-LIKE, is just about to be UNLEASHED AND SWEEP DOWN upon the city and Lot is arguing with the angels about which way to escape? Figure.

MY CHOICES DETERMINE MY DESTINY.

Lot was saved because God ANSWERED Abraham’s prayer back in Genesis 18:23-32. James 5:16 (NLT) says “…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” 

So Lot starts afresh and they ALL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. NOT!

Lot had argued with the angel about escaping to the mountains. When he sees the destruction of Sodom and his wife, his life is now RULED WITH FEAR and he decides to obey the original suggestion and hives it up into the mountains, living in a cave with his daughters.

From BIG MAN in the city with servants and livestock, sitting in the gate negotiating business to being a frightened little man with a drinking problem. From exercising leadership and power to having NOTHING but the daughters he had tried to offer up to the men of Sodom. God has a way of impressing on Lot what is IMPORTANT in life, but he KEEPS MISSING IT. Here’s a brilliant opportunity to get to know his girls and bring them into relationship with God.

Lot’s girls, having been protected from being raped from the men of Sodom think that they will now never have children, unless they can RAPE THEIR FATHER while he is drunk. SKEWED VIEW OF SEX from the cities they had lived in and a view of themselves based no doubt on the poor view their father has of them! Talk about DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY!

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” The opposite is true too. Lot doesn’t seem to direct his children in anything but in DESTRUCTIVE PATTERNS.

IT’S WHAT DIRECTS MY LIFE THAT DETERMINES MY DESTINY.

Lot is a believer but he is ruled by his CIRCUMSTANCES! Ruled by FEAR! Ruled by ALCOHOL! Obviously Lot agrees to GET DRUNK. Can’t blame this on the girls. The girls saw this as the way to get him to sleep with him. Lot may have been a righteous man (a believer) but certainly not disciplined enough not to get drunk.

It happens twice. DRUNKENESS is not unfamiliar to Lot. What I want to know is how come they have so much wine in the cave? Where did it come from? Did they escape in a distillery truck or something? What is it that makes bringing wine up to a cave a priority? Is Lot an ALCOHOLIC?

MY PRIORITIES WILL DETERMINE MY DESTINY.

God bless you Church as you continually CHOOSE to live in obedience to God, and refuse to let the pattern of your life be DIRECTED your sinful actions. May your PRIORITIES be God’s priorities. Seek first His kingdom and you’ll live happily ever after? Well no. Happiness comes and goes. A life full of a deepseated joy in serving the Lord. Yes!

Pastor Ross