Monday, September 27, 2010

God's way of romancing

I've been reading through Genesis and came upon the tragic story of Dinah's rape in Genesis 34. It's definitely not one of those stories that gets talked about in church. In fact, I've never heard a sermon on it! In a nutshell, the story goes that Dinah, who is the daughter of Jacob and granddaughter of Issac went out on a trip to "see the daughters of the land"  A couple of things come to mind here.

What was she doing going out alone without protection?
Why was she friends with the daughters of the idol-worshiping nations?

Anyway, the local prince of a foreign nation saw her and the Bible says that he violated her. After the act, apparently this prince decides that he likes Dinah. It says "his soul was strongly attracted to Dinah... and he loved the young woman and spoke kindly to her."
Now that strikes me as weird. First he rapes her and then he tries to be nice? In other words, he gets what he wants from her and then romances her. Kind of backwards, wouldn't you say?

Of course the story continues with his passion to have Dinah as wife. In fact, he takes Dinah to stay in his house while he sends his father over to Jacob to ask permission to marry her. Again, that seems a little backward to me.  The story has a tragic ending for this young prince and I encourage you to read it for yourself.
But right now I want to contrast it with God's way of doing romance found in Genesis 24
Issac needs a wife so Abraham his father sends his servant back to his people and the country where Abraham came from to choose a woman. This servant, whom many scholars believe is a picture of the Holy Spirit, goes on the journey, praying the entire way for God to show him the lady God has chosen. Once he finds her, he showers her and her family with many gifts and then asks permission of the father. Permission is granted. And the lady is also given a choice of her own whether she wishes to go with this man and marry Issac. She agrees and leaves her home with the servant. Some time later, Issac is in the fields and sees his bride from afar off and runs to her. They meet and he takes her into his mother's tent and marries her.

Now let me get to my point.  Satan hates God's way of doing romance. So, what does Satan do? He perverts it. He twists it around until its backwards and strips it of it's beauty and fulfillment.

He puts sex before love, dominance before romance, prison before permission.

He knows God's way is perfect and beautiful and will bring much joy to a man and woman. But Satan wants to ruin  your life and make you miserable. As I look around this world today, I think he's doing a pretty good job. Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, divorce, rampant STDS

Which type of romance do you want? Which one stirs your heart and which one makes you cringe? I don't believe Dinah set out to be ravished. But I think she was being stupid. She put herself in a dangerous situation by hanging out with the wrong people and leaving herself unprotected. Although the Bible doesn't specify, I don't believe this was a violent rape. I think this prince sweet talked her into it. Why else wouldn't she have run away from him instead of stayed in his house?

It also occurred to me that this is a picture of the way God romances us! Like I said in my last post, He's a gentleman. He seeks us out. He woos us. He showers us with gifts, whispers love songs in our ears, and gently urges us to accept Him. Contrast that with the way Satan approaches us. He forces His will on us, tries to steal from us, and demands our worship or else.

From someone who had experienced both types of romance, I"m here to tell you that God's way of romance is so much better!  Don't settle for anything less but His perfect plan for you! 

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  1. Monday, Sept 27th,
    Morning, MaryLu. First of all -- "Welcome Home" ! Hope your trip was a success.
    I love how you ended your blog today: "Don't settle for anything less but His perfect plan for you"! That says it all !!!
    After my husband died (years ago now, and at a young age) ... I strayed away from the Lord, and chose 'my own track'. It was a HUGE mistake, one that I regret dearly ! It was for a 'season in my life' ... but then, it came to an end. No longer satisfied with the lust and greed and selfishness of this world, I came to an abrupt halt. I was "Looking for love" (or, what I thought was 'love') in all the wrong places. Now, moving forward with my life, and not grieving over my past ... I am totally in agreement with waiting for "His perfect plan" to unfold in my life. Whether or not that entails meeting 'Mr Right', I don't know. But you know what MaryLu ... it doesn't bother me in the least. I am so content with my life, I hae 'peace' (which I absolutely love), and I have the "BEST Husband in the entire World .... God Himself" !!! And, truly ... I wouldn't trade "The BEST" ... for anything less !!!
    Thanks for sharing this with us today.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Very well said, MaryLu. I agree with what you say, everything beautiful that God has put into our lives Sata hates and wants to pervert. I appreciate you taking this stand. I agree, I don't remember the last time I heard anyone talk about this sticky issue. Why is it the church shies away from such issues??

    Great post to start my day!

  3. Debbie Mitchell debsbunch5@jesusanswers.comSeptember 27, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Hello MaryLu. This was a very good post.....Our junior pastor did approach these verses in one of his sermons. However, the focus wasn't on the rape, but on the reaction of the family when they discovered it. He was teaching on revenge. I believe that the rape was violent. Fear and shame could have been what kept her from running away. There are a few portions of the Bible that causes me to pause and ask the Lord, why did this have to happen? But, I know that God has a plan for us all and "for now" satan will do some very bad things. That is why it is so important to teach our children to wait for the Lord's will to be done in their lives. My son recently went his own way in a relationship and it was a disaster. I told him to please let God choose the girl that is right for him. He agreed with me. I just hate that he had to learn it the hard way. But, sometimes that is what it takes to get through to some people. Thanks again for a greatly worded post. God bless.

  4. I was unfamiliar with the story of Dinah and not sure how I missed it in my reading. But, you are right, God's way is always so much better. I was blessed to find a romantic gentleman who I have been married to for 24 years. A few of the previous relationships - not so much.

  5. Wonderful post and reminder. Thank you!

  6. This makes a lot of sense. It certainly makes it easier not to sin when you view Satan as a hateful, violent rapist and God as the gentlemanly hero who will come to your rescue! :-)
    Thanks for sharing this cool perspective with us!

  7. I ordered the 2 other books in the Legacy of the King's Pirates series off amazon and i got some of the last ones! now I have all of your published books and am waiting for Surrender the Night! I love all your books to death and read them often! thank you for writing the way you do!

  8. Thanks Ladies for your comments! Brenda, I couldn't agree more. God is the perfect husband! Like you, I wandered away from Him for years and I'm still paying the price, but He has still blessed me way beyond what I deserve!
    Yes Casey, Satan is the great pervert-er. He wants to twist all the good things from God and make them ugly.
    Debbie, I can relate. A few of my children have tried to do things their own way without God and have suffered greatly. It's so hard to watch as a parent. But, God is the good Shepherd and He will always bring them back. Some people just have to learn things the hard way! I'm one of them!
    Amy, you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful romantic husband!
    Waving at Remnant and Sapphire!
    And Thank you Kathy for purchasing my books! I hope to have that series reprinted next year, but I'm glad you found some copies.
    Well, I'm off to try and write a chapter with this head cold. Ugg..
    God Bless you all!

  9. Actually, I don't think the rape was consensual. If it was consensual, then it wouldn't be rape. The reason why Dinah didn't run away is probably that she wasn't thinking like a twenty-first century person. Back then, a woman would have a hard time marrying if she wasn't a virgin or a widow. Most likely, she thought Shechem's offer of marriage was the only recourse. That's what Jacob thought, too. Unfortunately for the prince, Simeon Levi did NOT think so.

  10. Oops! I meant Simeon AND Levi.

  11. I hope your cold gets better soon, MaryLu! :-)

  12. I don't know if you have thought of it this way, but the story of Dinah and the prince, with the rape and the subsequent "falling in love," reminds me of your book The Restitution and its story of Isabel and Kent Carlton. That is probably my favorite of all your books, because the transformation is so remarkable and done very well. Unfortunately, Dinah's story doesn't end so happily ever after. Who knows what all the details really were? The Bible doesn't tell us everything, but as you pointed out, the contrast between God's way of romance and Satan's and the world's is clear and sharp! I have always felt sorry that Dinah's brothers didn't give Prince Shechem a chance to redeem himself and make restitution as much as he could. Maybe that wasn't acceptable in Hebrew culture, and many of us even today would probably doubt the authenticity of such a drastic change. It's a good thing that God gives us sinners a second chance, isn't it?

  13. Yes, Diane. I didn't make the connection at the time I wrote this, but I think someone else mentioned it too. I also love the story of Kent and Isabel. He was such a hard character to write because I had to transform him from a true evil pirate who raped and pillaged into a godly gentleman!
    Dinah's story is a harsh one, I agree. I think this kind of thing was such an abomination back then that Dinah's brothers felt they had no choice. But how wise of you to contrast that with the mercy and love of Christ. And how happy I am to live in the age of His grace!