Consequences of Abdication (Gen 34:1-12)
To “abdicate” means to fail to fulfil one’s responsibilities. Genesis 34 reveals the kind of father Jacob was, and how he failed to fulfil his responsibilities. Jacob and his family were in Shechem where they encountered the family of Hamor.1. Failure to guard (Gen 34:1-4)
Jacob’s daughter, Dinah (probably a teenager), went out to make friends with the daughters of the Canaanites. And Shechem (son of Hamor, a prince) defiled her (Gen 34:2). This reflects Jacob’s failure to guard and separate his family from the Canaanites who were idolators, resulting in the physical (as well as the spiritual) corruption of his family.
Parents are to be involved in the lives of their children, and guard them against the spiritual dangers surrounding them. These dangers (eg. social media) can be very subtle. The consequences of parents’ failure to guard can be severe.2. Failure to govern (Gen 34:5-6)
When Jacob realised that his daughter was defiled, he remained silent until his sons came home. His silence shows his failure to govern his own family. He left it to his sons to deal with Hamor.
According to Ephesians 6:4, the father’s duties and responsibilities include the “nurture” (i.e. discipline) and “admonition” (rebuke/warn) of his children.
It is our duty to speak up to warn, to comfort or to encourage others.3. Failure to guide (Gen 34:7-12)
Jacob’s sons rightly were “grieved” and “very wroth” (Gen 34:7), but father Jacob should have guided them to respond correctly. Genesis 34:13-14 shows that he failed in this. His sons schemed and plotted to take revenge on the Shechemites.
When we fail in our duty to guide, others (without the authority to guide) may take over, leading to disastrous consequences. This can happen in the home and in church. Those with the duty to guide must know God and His Word; and ask God to give them the wisdom to do what He called them to do.
Our abdication can lead to painful consequences.