The AMI QT Devotionals from January 1-7 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of OTR in Cincinnati. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have three young children: Jonah, Lily, and Ayla (three months old).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The Multiplication of Sin”
Genesis 34:25–29 (ESV)
On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males.  They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house and went away.  The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.  They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field.  All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered.
In a famous film, a boy tragically drowns in a lake at a summer camp. His mother finds out his death could have been prevented if the camp counselors had been more responsible. The mother is completely devastated and does everything in her power to prevent the summer camp from re-opening, including…murdering all the new camp counselors?
Sorry to include spoilers, but this is the plot of the first Friday the 13th movie from 1980. The death of the boy Jason is tragic and unjust. The anger and desire for justice of his mother is reasonable and right. But her response is to multiply sin.
The rape of Dinah is horribly ugly. The sons of Jacob are rightfully outraged. But their response is to multiply sin. Simeon and Levi lie to Shechem and tell him that they will give him their sister Dinah if he and all of the men in the city are circumcised. Then when they are sore from the procedure, Simeon and Levi proceed to slaughter all the men of the city. The other sons of Jacob plunder the city and take all the children and women of the city as slaves. As sin multiplies, it gets uglier and uglier.
When we see or experience injustice, something in us cries out for justice and for wrongs to be made right. This is good and right, but there is also something in us that cries out for revenge, a desire to inflict pain and suffering—this is wicked and sinful.
In the Mosaic law, someone who injures his neighbor is subject to the same injury: “fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Leviticus 24:20). This law is not meant to encourage a bloodthirsty desire for vengeance but to prevent the people of God from doing even greater evil in their pursuit of “justice.”
We may not slaughter cities, but we easily justify our bitterness and our visions of justice tend to go beyond “an eye for an eye” without us noticing. What can break this cycle of escalating sin? Only mercy. The Lord Jesus Christ experienced the greatest and ugliest injustice of human history on the cross. And He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
May we rejoice in the mercy of our God and point to His greatness by extending mercy to other sinners.
Prayer: Father, forgive me that I am so obsessed with getting what I deserve or with others getting what they deserve. All of Your kindness to me is undeserved mercy. May I be merciful as You have been to me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 6-7