The reading for today: Genesis 33-35 (The Message); Matthew 20:17-34 (The Message)
On Sunday evenings my family has taken to watching the TV series, “Once Upon A Time.” Each show has two parallel storylines unraveling within the thirty minute timeframe. One storyline always occurs during present day in a town called Storybrook. The second storyline mirrors Storybrook in a Grimm’s fairytale fashion with some poetic license added in here and there for better effect.
Let’s look at Genesis 34 as though it were a modern-day Storybrook but run it beside a modified version of Cinderella. Okay we’ll roll the opening credits and open to a scene where a beautiful maiden sits at home feeling extremely isolated from the outside world and emotionally separated from her family. The girl as lovely as she might be has to do her fair share of the work around the home for her step-mother and step-sisters. Because of the constant ashen dirt on her fair skin, the girl is given the nick name Cinderella. The young teen constantly feels as though she is being constantly mistreated by her step-mother as she is asked to remain within the safe borders of the family estate. Longing to see more the world and escape her work, Cinderella sneaks off toward the royal palace during the day as festival is in full swing for the prince’s birthday. After arriving at the party, Cinderella was witness to many things that were new and thrilling. She also happened to catch the eye of the prince, who ordered the royal guards to send for Cinderella. Cinderella is brought before the prince, who is smitten with her beauty and declares that he will marry the young girl. This is the part where there is a twist in the story. Instead of being excited about the surprise engagement, Cinderella is concerned about being taken away from her family and culture. She is a working class girl and wants nothing to do with a man who takes advantage of those lower on the economic totem pole. Suddenly, Cinderella is wishing she had stayed at home and heeded the commands of her step-mother.
Now switching storylines over to Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, and her story in Genesis 34. It would appear that Dinah is the lone gal in the family. Can you see her sitting around the house with the boys? She is tired of the horsing around, rough housing, and crude manly talk. She wants a night out with the girls, so she goes to make some gal pals with the women of the country her family resided. The only issue with that is that the Canaanites didn’t fear/respect God. In fact, God wanted Israel to steer clear of other cultures that didn’t revere Him. What’s the big deal? People today have friends with different beliefs all the time. Well. Yes. However, as the story continues we see our Israelite Cinderella catches the attention of the prince, who proceeds to rape her. Wow! That would not have been tolerated in Jewish culture but doesn’t seem to raise the king’s attention at all. Consequently, the king is trying to help his son make marriage arrangements for his son and Dinah in the very next section. Poor Dinah – but I have to give props to her brothers for convincing a whole city that it was a good idea for all the grown men to be circumcised.
Switch storylines again to our life – my life. I’m trying to think about where this story fits in with me. I think it’s easy to sit at the window of the estate and dream about all the fun that everyone else is having. What I mean is that it’s common to have Dinah’s feelings. It’s easy to feel alone on certain issues. I’ve never heard of an atheist that is concerned about what they will see or the language they will hear in movies. In university it was difficult to not go on a drinking binge with the majority on the weekend when I sat alone in my dorm room bored to tears. Curiosity peaks about how the other half lives. However, I’m seeing here that curiosity can indeed kill the cat. Not continuing to follow God’s rules can lead to folly.
Where are areas in my life that I’m tired of God’s rules?