What do Lot, Ham, Lamech, and Cain have to do with each other? That's a question we'll explore in our sermon tomorrow morning on the troubling and difficult events recorded in Genesis 34. Our text will be Genesis 33:18-35:5 as we study a brutal and shameful episode in the history of the church.
A brief word of explanation for those who might read the text and wonder why we are even having a sermon on it: while it is tempting to skip passages like this while working through a book of the Bible (believe me, the thought crossed my mind often!), there is actually a powerful reason for us to take them up when we come to them. That reason? God inspired this account for His purposes and for our instruction and nourishment in the faith. We don't invent the criteria for ourselves about what is or is not profitable in the Word of God. It all is. That doesn't make texts like this any easier to preach or to hear - but we are to seek profit from God's Word whenever it is read and opened in our midst.
Jacob and his sons faced the very conflict of desires and sinful wrath that we know all too well as we face injustice and iniquity in the world and bear the effects of the sins of others against us. And what are we to do?
We are to remember that,
"Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. (1 Peter 2:10-16)