Parents, What Are You Doing to Your Dinah?

Dinah the daughter of Jacob made wrong choices in her life and she bears that responsibility for her actions, however, I won’t exonerate her parents from her misfortune, particularly her father. It’s the responsibility of parents, particularly fathers to provide the best spiritual, physical, and social atmosphere for their children. We think highly of Dinah as though she was a follower of God, but she was not.

Spiritual Environment
Jacob did not make the Lord his God at Bethel like his father and grandfather on his way to Syria, although God was with him for the sake of the covenant He made with his fathers (Gen 28v15,20-21). Jacob trusted in the arm of flesh in the house of Laban except on a few occasions when God in His mercies showed up for him.

It is unfortunate that Jacob’s wives and children lived and were raised in the idolatrous home of Laban. Jacob did not walk with God like his fathers, nor did he teach God’s ways to his family like God testified of Abraham (Gen18:19). However when he was about to leave Syria, he acknowledged the God of his fathers and told his wives about the instructions God gave him, Gen 31. At this point, the only recorded religious tradition he had introduced to his family was the rite of circumcision.

So we see that his family was raised, at least initially while in the house of Laban, as unbelievers and worshiped idols as was later discovered when they had to do away with their pagan idols before they could meet with God at Bethel. One of the reasons Abraham did not want Isaac to be taken to Syria to get a wife was this: he feared Isaac would be introduced to idolatry.

“Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that [were] with him, Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which [were] in their hand, and [all their] earrings which [were] in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which [was] by Shechem.” – Genesis 35:2-4

Social Environment
It is conceivable that Dinah freely mixed and interacted with the girls of Shechem since she did not have a personal relationship with God and was not raised in God’s way (Gen 34v1-2). The norms and culture of  Shechem were more in line with her social background in Mesopotamia. There was little difference between her lifestyle and the daughters of Shechem. As we have seen in Gen 35v2-3, she with her father’s household was unclean and served strange gods, their dress and adornment had to be changed before they could meet God perhaps they were like the people of the world.

As parents, are we leading our children to Jesus? Are we sanctifying our children with the word of God, or are we just raising them to be mere church-goers, religious observers, without a salvation experience? Which strange gods or idols are we seeing our children exposed to: dressing, social media, phone, TV shows, etc.? Don’t blame them when you see them socializing with the daughters of Shechem and they start to have an ungodly man-friend among the Shechemites. You have only raised them to be religious without consistent teaching and living the Scriptures before them. They are not yet saved by grace in Christ Jesus – Jacob observed outward religious rite for his children (circumcision), but the work of salvation was not yet wrought in them. You may have taken steps to ensure they dress decently, prevented them from mingling with bad companions and they obediently comply, but behind you, as they are still unregenerate, they may be lusting after the worldly ways like immoral dressings, friends with bad ungodly children.

These outward or traditional religious practices may make them feel better than the uncircumcised (sinners) and self-conceited but they are still rotten within and are mere hypocrites. The circumcision the LORD desires is, first, of the heart which then bears fruits outwardly in their appearance including in their dressing. If we omit the centrality of the Gospel in all its clarity and power in our children, we should not be surprised if we see them go the way of Dinah, Simon and Levi.

Let us make it a priority to nurture, instruct and lead our families in the way of the Lord, teaching them to observe all things Christ has commanded us in His word.

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Deut 6:6-9

Prayer point
Lord, please let me be where you are for the total consecration and sanctification of myself and my family. Amen.

Sunday Oladiran is a teacher of God's Word, committed to the revival and reformation of the body of Christ. He lives in Ibadan, Nigeria, together with his wife, Bukola. They have two children.

Further reading

The faithful Pilgrim

And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael. Genesis 33 vs 20 Jacob raised his first altar at Shechem and called on God, even his God...

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