Genesis 34 – Three Way to Prevent the Destruction of a Society

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Hey, I’m going to invite you to Genesis 34 is where we’re at together today, Genesis chapter 34. And I need to really prepare our hearts for for this kind of a passage. I’m just going to be frank in saying, um, honestly, if I could just kind of skip past this chapter today, I would do it. Um, but we as a church like to go through the books of the Bible, what we teach, what’s called expository teaching, which is walking through chapter by chapter, verse by verse, books of the Bible. That’s not every message that we do, but the majority of messages that we teach is that way. And the reason we like to do it like that as a church is so that you don’t get taught heresy. We want you to understand the truth of who God is. It is far easier to just cherry pick verses out of the Bible to teach an agenda, kind of weaponize God’s Word for what you want it to say, rather than what God actually says. And expository teaching is one of those safeguards to God’s community that we can look at God’s Word together and learn and grow. Uh, one of the things I think is important that I say here at the beginning is, look, I am not a trauma counselor. Um, if if someone here is in need of of that kind of resource, we we know where those resources are, that we can help point people to those things.

Um, I have because of the nature of what we’re going to talk about today, I have listed, um, some Christian writers that are more, um, are better equipped in this field than I am to deal with areas of trauma. If you’re interested in reading as well as, um, there’s a couple of books on sexual purity for those that might struggle with, say, things like pornography, a couple of those resources at the bottom of your notes. If you didn’t pick up notes today, if you download the Alpine Bible Church app and click on the sermon notes, you’ll see that these notes are listed there as well, along along with resources. But by by the nature of what we’re talking about today, um, we’re dealing with an event that not only leads, um, to harm of a young lady, but it also leads to the destruction of a group of people, to a society. And I think what’s important for us as we engage this text, and especially guys, I think I want to particularly highlight this for you, is that every male in this story that we’re about to encounter, there’s several, several men we’re going to read about. But every male in this story fails in some way. And so we’re going to approach this as we look at the negativity of this story, to really respond by saying, what can we do differently when the gospel transforms our life? What is it God calls us to do in this world in order to make a difference? Because what Jesus does in you, he desires to do through you that this isn’t something that just sits with you.

But. But when you understand who you are in light of who Christ is, not only does it give you worth and value, but it gives you purpose in the way that you live. And then you also then have the opportunity to honor the value and other people. And Genesis 34 is one of those chapters where people have failed a young lady and failed an entire society. And so we want to ask the question, how, how can we do it differently? And in Genesis chapter 34, verse one, you see how this story starts. Very heavy story, but it says, now Diana, the daughter of Leah, who was born to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. If you remember where we are at this point, we’ve been following the character that is Jacob, who was off in the area where Laban lived, Pata Aram, and he’s living in this area. He finds a wife. God calls him back after 20 years to go back to the Promised Land. Jacob knew there was no future for him in the land where Laban lived, because Laban was a deceiver, taking advantage of him over and over again. And God had called his people to belong to the Promised Land.

So he returns to this, to this promised land. And he doesn’t look in a minute, doesn’t go exactly where God had called him to in that promised land. But he’s returned there. And we’ve learned Jacob now has has multiple sons. He’s he’s going to have one more born here in just a few. But he’s got over well, he’s got to have a dozen sons, I should say. And then, um, he’s he’s also got a daughter, and this is the only daughter that we read about or that we know about. Her name is Dinah. And Dinah being one girl among all these boys, she desires companionship with other females. Nothing wrong with that. She’s probably in her teens, maybe early 20s when this is taking place. And so her desire is to be with other young ladies. And so she goes out to visit with other young ladies in the land. And then verse two, 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. So here you see in this story, it’s very honest with what’s taking place here. Verse 31 goes on to elaborates in another way rather than just humiliating her, it says in verse 31 that she was treated like a prostitute. And so what’s being described in this story is Dinah is is raped. And you know, when I when I look at this, these first couple of verses, this young lady is not doing anything wrong.

Hindsight, it would have been. It would have been wonderful if she had other people there that could have guarded her and protected her. But there’s there should be nothing wrong with a young woman moving freely in, in her own land, trying to just meet other young women. And as a guy reading this passage, you know, I don’t understand what it’s like to to walk in this world as as a woman. It’s just there’s always, I think, for, for women, um, different than guys. There’s just this kind of low lying fear for your own protection and safety everywhere you walk in this world, or you somewhere in a parking lot, you park your car, you get out. You try to be aware of what’s what’s around you. And that should not be the kind of society that women have to live in, right? But it’s just by, by nature of the darkness of this world where we find ourself. And here in this story, you, you find this young lady has been taken advantage of, you know, and reading about her her own story, it made me curious about even some of the statistics, information about our own country and where we find the safety of women, especially in concerns of protection of her, her sexuality from from any sort of assault. And in an organization that’s called the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, they gave just some, some statistics regarding the sexual violence that takes place in our country.

It says this 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years of age. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. Rape is the most underreported crime in our country. 63% of sexual assaults go unreported to police. Only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the authorities. And then, on top of all that, false reporting is estimated somewhere between 2 to 10%. So that’s just dealing with our own country. And what’s I think worth pointing out as well is when you go to more impoverished areas of this world, those statistics drastically increase. And when you go to places in this world where they can’t afford police or there are no police, period, because they can’t support it within their own context, those statistics improve astronomically. I remember I was talking to a lady from another country, um, and I was particularly concerned with there were these group of young ladies in this country I had gotten to known, and I was particularly concerned for their safety. And I remember I was talking to this lady about these, these young women, and one of those young ladies was taken back from this place that I considered somewhat safe to a situation that I think made her more vulnerable.

And I remember expressing this to the to this lady. And I said, I’m really worried about her safety and someone violating her. And this woman who is usually particularly composed. She doesn’t say a lot. She looks back at me and says, um, oh, that’s that’s going to happen. I don’t want you to think that there’s a possibility that that isn’t going to happen. That’s definitely going to happen. It’s more of when it’s going to happen and how often it’s going to happen. And it just shocked me. I know in traveling to parts of this world, especially, um, especially areas that are significantly impoverished, um, that, that is, that is an issue that we, we are constantly addressing and especially among the young men and the way they treat young ladies. But just hearing that shocked me. In fact, I will say, when we take missions trips as a church, we have one coming up in the fall when we take mission trips of the church. One of the things that’s difficult for me, and I know team members when they come back, is how to deal with looking at the wealth of our country and how people choose to live. And then you look at other parts of this world when you recognize just a small fraction of that money can make such a significant difference in this world.

Like, I’m not saying that trying to make you feel guilty over the things you possess, okay? But but I want you to know that there is accountability with the things that we own. I don’t know, there. We go there. Sometimes I say things in the Spirit of God. Just just kidding. Just. Um, but but looking at stories like this, I think it’s important to stir our own hearts for what it is that God can do with us here and now. Like we can’t. We can’t change this. But but the Lord certainly wants us to be aware of this, because we we have an opportunity in the time period in which we live and the places where we find ourselves in order to make a difference. And by the way, this isn’t just talking about the idea of morality. This is when you understand how God has created everyone in his image. And not only that, he’s also died for us. Giving us a greater worth than anything in this world can offer. How you live in light of that matters, because it’s demonstrating that truth that you’ve embraced and whether or not you have embraced it. And so what you believe about who you are in light of who God is, should impact the way that you live in this world. That’s the gospel transforms us, that God would pursue us in our own brokenness, that he made us in his image.

He remakes us at the cross where he died for us. And God wants to move in our lives to, to, to to glorify him and to honor other people. When God created us in the beginning, he said, be fruitful, multiply and bless, subdue. And so the idea is this that we would we would take care of what God has given us. But as as you mature in life, the extent by which you have opportunity to, let’s say, make a difference by managing the things that God puts in front of you can continue to, to to not only care for those things, but also to develop it and further in such a way that it continues to bless people around us. So how how do we do that? And the story goes on verse three, and his soul talking about Shechem, by the way, there in the town of Shechem right now. And there’s this young man named Shechem, who’s violated Dinah. And his soul was drawn to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke to her, spoke tenderly to her. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, get me this girl for my wife. Let me just say this. This passage is absolutely disgusting. I mean to think about this young man now taking advantage of this woman and the way that he wants to caveat what he’s what he’s experienced is I love her.

Um, and his behavior certainly does not display that. Right. Uh, this this idea of love in his mind is very much a warped idea. I think in our culture, we even treat love in a in a way that I think is, uh, we’ll say unique from what the Bible communicates. We’ll use the word love like it’s a junk drawer word like we’ll say things like, you know, I love my wife and then turn around in the very next sentence and say, I love chicken wings, right? And that is not that those two things are not the same thing, or at least I hope they’re not the same thing, that you might have an appreciation for chicken wings, but that is not that is not what love really is. Love is unconditional, sacrificial. First Corinthians 13. It does not think of its own well-being, but rather the well-being of others. It’s about laying your life down for the benefit of others. That’s that’s that’s biblical love. It’s sacrificial. You see that with Jesus on the cross. He didn’t do that for him. He did that for you. Jesus giving his life for our well-being. That’s that’s the the biblical picture of love. What this what this young man is doing is he’s feeding his own lustful desires. That’s that’s that’s not love. But this is the way it’s described in this narrative, how this young man engages in this story.

And I realize in just these first few verses, there is a a weight of trauma described. And and in talking about a passage like this, look, I think it’s important to say I don’t want to be trite towards people’s experiences and what they’ve endured. And I don’t just want to give a band aid verse and say, just take two of these verses and just be better. When you go through difficult things like this, it it takes time to, to nurture a healthy heart, especially before the Lord. But I think it’s also important to say what happens to you does not define you, that what Christ has done for you places far more worth on us. It’s it’s important to learn your true identity because we act out according to what we believe. And so letting the the truthfulness of what God says refresh our soul in him, uh, becomes important to combating the darkness of our world. And and one of the unfortunate things when I read a story like this that I find with with where our culture is today, for some reason, we’ve popularized the idea of making everyone a victim. And because everyone in our culture gets pushed as a or promoted as a victim, it really devalues people that are real victims and getting them the the help that they need when they go through traumatic experiences. I mean, if I gave you an example, something like this, I could say, look, if you’re a young adult or a college student living in your mommy’s basement, and you’re triggered by the fact that people won’t use the pronouns that you want them to to refer to yourself, you’re not a victim, right? I mean, you’re you’re in a situation in life where you need to grow up a little bit and understand not everyone’s going to say what what you want them to say.

And and that is different than, than going through an experience that makes you a or that. That’s trauma that causes you to be a victim. And so there’s importance to to giving real victims the opportunity to getting the help that they need. And so these these these passages are certainly weighty. But as we look at this, I want us to understand that this the type of culture that’s created in this environment doesn’t just bring the destruction of this young lady, it also leads to the destruction of the society around her, which we’ll see in just a little bit. And so I want us to think about in light of the darkness that is around us, what are three gospel centered ways that we as believers, believers can help prevent the destruction of society? What is it when the gospel transforms our life? How is it that we can work in a society to see these kinds of things fought against? Um, and maybe we should we could say it the other way.

How can I promote the health of a society knowing that darkness is here? Uh, point number one in your notes is this reject passivity. As followers of Christ. Reject passivity as followers of Christ, God made you for a purpose and to cultivate that until the goodness of the Lord in this world, we have to be willing and ready to reject passivity as followers of Christ. Verse number five 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. And Hamor, the father of Shechem, went out to Jacob to speak with him. The sons of Jacob had come to him in from the fields. As soon as they heard of it. 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. Now, at first glance in this story, it actually looks what like what Jacob is doing is very wise, right? Because you think in this society, in this region, they’re outnumbered. They’re they’re the outsiders that have moved into this land. There is no police force. And so if retributive justice is going to be administered, Jacob is wise not to open his mouth immediately, but rather wait for his sons to come back from the field. It looks like he’s waiting for them in order to respond the way that God would be honored in responding to this, but unfortunately, that’s not what Jacob does.

Jacob takes the role of of passivity, and no doubt this is a difficult situation, right? But there’s there’s a couple of ways that we see as Jacob is stepping in this moment, he is not stepping away in a way, according to the Lord and what God would desire. The first way that we know this is that by being in Shechem, Jacob is in a place that God did not call them, which is outside the hand of really God, God blessing them. What I mean is, when Jacob was in the land of Laban in Genesis chapter 31 verse 13, God told him to go back to the promised land, which Jacob did. But God specifically told him to go to the place of Bethel, not Shechem. And Jacob ignored that. God repeated it again in Genesis 35, verse one. So, so it’s like Jacob is kind of leading his family, but not fully leading his family. He’s not being completely the kind of man that God had called him to be. And not only that, when this situation is finally confronted, Jacob doesn’t take the lead in this as the father. Rather, he leans into his sons to do something about it, and when his sons do something about it, Jacob decides he doesn’t like what they did. And then he responds to it all.

In verse 30 and 31 he says, 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, my numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household. But they said, should he treat our sister like a prostitute? So the sons are saying, look, something should have happened. But Jacob, when he finally engages the problem, what you see from from Jacob, the only person that he’s worried about is himself. And nowhere in this passage does he talk to his daughter about what’s happened to her. Does he figure out how to work through this messy situation with her? All he does is he sits back passively for the young men to show up, and when they finally show up, he gets responds in a negative way in how they choose chose to handle it, saying in this situation, Jacob is certainly taking this this role of passivity. And guys, can I tell you as particularly as men, there are two ways that that God would called you to respond in this world. And and ladies, this will broadly apply to you to proactively and reactively. There’s a time to be proactive and reactive. There’s there’s certain things counselors refer to as preventative counseling, which you just instill healthy things into your family.

Right? You nurture certain things within the life of your family, not to wait, to just react to everything, but to build up. And one of the most beautiful ways I think that can happen is fathers. When you nurture the heart of your daughters, you want to raise the standard high and what a she should expect from a young man in the treatment she should receive. And that’s modeled by how you treat her, and ultimately demonstrated by the way you treat her mother. And when when you give that sort of respect, it elevates for her what to expect from a young man. That’s called being proactive in our in our concern and care. In first Timothy chapter five verse two, it says, treat older women as mothers, younger women as sisters in all purity. Honor widows who are truly widows. I mean, it helps us deal with the fact, maybe the reality of if godly men don’t respond, evil men will not stop. God has called you into this world to be proactive. When you experience the transformation of the gospel and you understand the identity for which you have because of Christ, you can respond in that honoring the dignity and other people being made in his image and recreated for the purposes of Christ. If there’s something within us. That does not desire to protect the weak and rise up against injustice. Then there’s something that’s broken. To reject passivity is what God calls us to.

Point number two, honor people as image bearers of God and honor people as image bearers of God, not as objects. God made them. God died for them. And how? How important it is for us to to show our love for the Lord by demonstrating honor towards other people. Made in God’s image. One of the greatest ways to worship the Lord is seen in the way you treat other people, not viewing them as objects, but but viewing them as as image bearers of God. Now, any time a person looks at someone else lustfully, you’re looking at the thought of treating someone else as a tool for your own personal pleasure. Now, certainly within the marriage relationship. Hebrews 13 four if you want a verse, write the marriage relationship. It is undefiled. Hey God, God created your sexuality for a reason. There’s certainly delight in that intimacy developed in that you want to appreciate the purpose which God has created that. But with those gifts come responsibilities. That doesn’t mean if men, if you’re attracted to ladies, that every lady becomes a tool for your personal purposes and pleasures. Rather, it’s an opportunity to honor the dignity and worth in which God has has created her. But this is this is what you see in the life of hammer and and his son Shechem. Right. They’ve they’ve really raised a generational mindset of degrading women by by treating them as tools.

They have created this predatorial behavior from one generation to the next. Verse eight. But hammer spoke with them, saying, the soul of my son longs for your daughter. Please give her to to him to be his wife. Make marriages with us, give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. You shall dwell with us. The land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and give property in it. Shekem also said to her father and to her brothers, let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say I will give. Ask me for a great, uh, excuse me. Verse 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. I mean, this passage really is disgusting. And you think what they’re what they’re what they’re saying in these verses is, look, we treated your daughter like a tool. You’ve got some other attractive ladies there. How about we just treat all the women like tools? Let’s just swap them around for our own personal pleasure. And we’ll. We’ll treat them as objects rather than as human beings. And so you see this, this predatorial mindset that’s been taught from, from one generation to the next, degrading the value of women, being image bearers of God as property to be owned rather than them people to be cherished.

You know, it’s interesting. There was a study done by this young lady named Jessica Reyes, and she was she was studying the male brain as they interacted with females. And the way she she approached the study was actually through. Well, it was through bathing suits, honestly. And she started to do this study looking at the the way bathing suits have changed throughout the decades. And she came to this point where she recognized that as bathing suits changed, there was this time period where when the bikini became popular, the way they popularized it was to pay prostitutes to wear it, to then attract other people, to start wearing that fashion. And, and as, as they did a study on male brains, they started to bring females around with, I guess, less clothing. And and what they began to recognize with men is that when they looked at females lustfully, that the part of their brain that was triggering was the same part of their brain that triggers when they grab a tool from the garage that, rather than look at them as image bearers of God to be honored, they looked at them as objects for their own purposes to be used. Because there is a battle that happens within all of us for the integrity and worth of every human being to be honored by the way that you conduct yourself. And, you know, for, for us as a, as a church, one of the things that when we choose to do works in this world.

We we like to go out to places where we want to instill in a group of people a generational change. One of the reasons we go to Uganda, we go to one of the most impoverished areas, a place where human sacrifice is the highest, where children are taken advantage of for the purpose of working with young people to see a generational change, a generational mindset made different through the gospel, that every human being is made in the image of God. Specifically in terms of lost in that battle, Jobe said. This and Jobe 31 verse one I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman for what is our lot from God above our heritage, from the Almighty on high. So he’s saying, look, when I understand who I am. Verse, verse two, in light of who God is, understanding what God has called us to, this is my commitment. And Jobe is saying, look, I’m I’m attracted to women. Let’s be honest, guys. Right. Like when it comes to ladies, they they they look better, right? They smell better. They just do everything better. They do it more gracefully. You’re just. You just kind of grow hair in weird places and smell bad. That’s kind of. That’s kind of like your your gift. Right. But but they, they there’s nothing wrong with appreciating beauty.

But to do it lustfully, to degrade as if someone becomes an object or a tool for your pleasure is is to take away from the intrinsic worth that they have. And job 31, he’s saying, look, I’m making this covenant with my eyes to honor the image. And everyone specifically in in women. And when you think in terms of covenant, I think that’s a beautiful word job. It’s similar to the idea of a marriage covenant and saying, look, if you’re married, you know, God’s given me this, this attraction, and I’m taking this attraction. I’m honing it in to honor one person. That’s the marital covenant one one person as a husband. I want to honor my wife, right. That that my my duty towards her is to elevate her to the to the best of my abilities because God has made her in his image. And I want to give my life for her benefit as she as she seeks to honor the Lord. You know, that’s that’s my that’s what covenant is. And so you make that covenant, right? But then you walk in that covenant, you continue to make that covenant every day. Same is true with job 31. Job saying, look, I know for the purpose which God has created people. I want to honor that, especially in the distinction of male and female. So not only am I giving this statement, but I’m going to walk in this battle every day in the way I choose to honor the opposite sex.

So purity becomes this battle, right? It’s it’s to to make our aim to to honor God, not gratify my flesh, but in in honoring God, bless those around me. It’s not about obsessing about not looking at pornography. I should probably say it like this. Like some people will think, okay, the goal is I’m I’m bad. If I look at porn. Therefore I’m going to not look at porn, right? That that’s that’s not the goal of the life of the believer. Like you’re, you’re you’re success as a Christian is not based on how little porn you looked at. Your success as a Christian is living for the glory of God in this world. And in doing so, you’ll you’ll move away from the things that are contrary to what it is God desires that I live for his glory to the benefit of others. And part of that is understanding the intrinsic worth in every human being in the way that I treat them. But for hammer in this story. He perpetuates a culture of a predator as as you see in his conversation and specifically as he represents his his son. Reject passivity. Honor people as image bearers of God. Point number three. Live out the six eight principle. Live out the six eight principle. Now, I’ll elaborate exactly what this is in just a moment, but I want us to think, you know, when we realize there’s an injustice in this world or there’s injustices happening, we have this tendency in our human nature to, like, slam the pendulum one way or the other.

We either run to liberalism. And I don’t mean this politically. I mean this intentionally. Like there’s just no laws. Like people keep doing wrong things rather than try to help these people not do wrong things, we just said, let’s just get rid of the law, right? Let’s just that’s liberalism. Or there’s legalism where you overcompensate in an overcompensating. It leads, you’ll find in this passage, to the destruction of an entire society. And we have the tendency to do one way or the other. We act in an legalism or liberalism. Let me just say it like this. Let me remind you Hebrews 13 four. It says to you, marriage should be honored by all. And the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and the sexual, sexually immoral sexuality is a gift. It’s to be honored in the marriage bed, right? That’s where God created it. And there’s certainly delight in the sexuality and the intimacy that it creates. But there’s a way in which God desires for us to experience it, and it’s seen in how we treat one another in dignity and honor. And so when there’s an injustice happen, we want to respond in a way of retributive justice, in a way that meets the crime or the injustice, not ignore it, not overcompensate, but walk, according to the Micah six eight principle.

And unfortunately, in this story again, we see how the men fail as the young men respond to what happens to Dinah, her brothers. It says the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 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. Only on this condition we will agree with you that you will become as we are by every male among you, being circumcised. 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. But if you will not, if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, and we will take our daughter, and we’ll be gone. So the young man come to this, the people of the land of Shechem, and they’re like, you want to marry our women? Then you got to be circumcised. They come up with this. This is not their their true plan. Circumcision is not really the issue. They’re just trying, let’s just say, to weaken the other tribe for so. And then all of the people agree to this. They’re like, okay guys, let’s do this. Right. So they all get circumcised and we’re going to skip ahead to verse 25 after three days.

So after three days after their circumcision, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brother, took their swords and came against the city. While it felt secure and killed all the males, they killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem house and went away. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city. Because they had defiled their sister, they took their flocks, and their herds, and their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field, all the wealth, all the little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses they captured and plundered. So here’s here’s what it’s saying. Because one crime was committed, they thought it was great to commit a bunch of crimes. That’s what that was their response. Right. This is certainly an overcompensation. It’s not to say justice shouldn’t happen. Justice should have happened. Right. But but to punish everyone because of someone doesn’t make it right. And said what you have rather is, is multiple wrongs. I think we’ve we’ve seen this even in our own culture. We tend to overreact. Right. You get one side to the other. I mean, this year you’ll get that a big dose of that. It’s called politics, right? You for the rest of this year, that’s what you’re going to live in, just this polarizing one side or the other.

We even did this a few years ago in our country. We tried to popularize the idea of defunding the police. I tell you, one of the stupidest things you can do as a I can tell you two cultures right now where there are no police and just let them say to us, do you think we ask them a question? Do you think it’s a smart idea to get rid of police? Like, that’s that’s a it’s a dumb idea. Just because you may not like what someone did or someone did something wrong, doesn’t mean you punish everyone in the process, right? There’s a there’s a level by which we react. That fits the situation. Micah six eight is that Micah six eight principle and and this is the way God calls us to move in this world when the gospel transforms us, when we see the value of human beings, because God created us in his image and God died for us. Micah 68I think, describes this beautifully. He says, he has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God, to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. When we think about what that looks like in our life, I think one of the best ways to think about it is really take the word and and move through it backwards, that as you’re walking with God, right? God shows you what it means to to love kindness.

Some say love mercy. As you’re walking with God, you grow in your mercy because you understand how merciful God has been to you. And you start to see people in those terms. In that same mercy, you walk humbly with God and you then start to act in that mercy and in acting in that mercy. What you do is you do justice. You do justice. This is called this is referred to as mishpat. In Hebrew it means retributive justice, meaning you don’t ignore things, you don’t overreact to things, but you’re willing to step in the midst of darkness to help things find healing. God calls you into this world to live out that principle as you walk with him. God works within your heart to develop a more merciful expression to the flight of human beings, and the difficulty that we endure for the purpose of bringing about retributive justice, really healing justice to the brokenness of of this world. So how does the gospel bring hope? And again, we think in terms of people that are victims. We don’t want to be trite. We don’t want to say just quote Bible verses to you, feel better, rather to understand where they’re coming from. To know that what happened to you does not define you. But rather understanding your identity in the Lord. Because what you believe about yourself, you will live out.

To understand the goodness for which Christ has come, to set you free, and as as a society, to give dignity and worth to other human beings in the way that we treat them. Not as tools, not as objects, but as image bearers of God. Recognizing and the way we treat people is worship before our our Lord. There was a a teacher who he was a, uh, he taught nurses and on his one of his final exams that he gave to his students, the last question he asked was, what is the name of the lady who cleans your classroom every evening? And the first student looked at that and kind of thought it was a joke, and just left it blank and turned it in, and the next student came up and handed in their paper as well. And as the second student handed in their paper, asked the question, is that last question really going to count? Of which the teacher responded, absolutely. Now you’re in the business of caring for people, and one of the greatest ways that you can care for someone is to acknowledge their presence, even if it’s just a wave of the hand and a smile. Dignity and worth of every human being matters to God. He created him in his image. He gave his life for them. In fact, in first Peter chapter two it says this live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Honor everyone. I mean, when you understand what the gospel means for us and the value that’s been given to us, and the opportunity we have to introduce other people to to their creator who gave his life for them to. I mean, the idea of honoring people is intrinsic to to the, the foundation of who we are. I’ll close with this, but there’s this passage in revelation chapter seven that happens to describe the persecution of God’s people toward a period of time referred to as the Great Tribulation. Uh, God’s people will endure the tribulation, right? We we’re we’re promised you’ll go through tribulation. But there’s this period of time talked about in revelation referred to as this great tribulation, this, this period of, of great suffering on God’s people. And when you think about this, this, this word tribulation, like what? What comes to mind when you think of of not just tribulation, hardship, but great tribulation? My mind really reflects on what happened in Israel just a few months ago, when people invaded that land and took hostages. The kind of stories that were told about what those hostages endured. You think in terms of the Great Tribulation, I don’t think it’s far off to assume or think that that God’s people in the future will endure a similar hardship and so it says in revelation 713, then one of the elders addressed me, saying, who are these clothed in white robes? And from where have they come? I say to him, sirs, you know.

And he said to me, these are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white, and the blood of the lamb. Here’s what it’s saying. There’s what happened to them in the Great Tribulation. But that is not who they are. Who they are is something far greater. And it’s and it’s found in the Lord, that when the Lord sees us, he doesn’t see the defilement of the world upon us, but rather the beauty of Jesus that has cleansed us. And the image of these white robes is to express the purity of God’s people that we mess up. We fail. We aren’t perfect, but the defiling things of this world are not what define us. It’s the beauty of Jesus who cleanses us that when God sees us, he sees the purity of Christ because it is our privilege to take that dignity and worth that only Christ can give into this world in the midst of darkness, to honor people around us, to reject passive 80, to to not treat people as tools, but rather see them as image bearers of of God, and in so doing, honoring the glory of God in this world.