The Canaanites where Jacob dwelled, in Genesis chapter 34, had few, if any, restrictions on their sexual conduct. Women were treated as objects with no rights of their own. Thus, Shechem’s rape of Dinah was no big thing to them. But it was a great disgrace in Israel.

After the Perizitte King’s (Hamor) son (Shechem)  kidnapped and raped Dinah, he apparently liked the experience and wanted to keep her. 

Hamor approached Jacob and invited Israel and his people to join with them. The invitation was to become like us, live with us, take our daughters, buy and sell with us, become one with us – be like us!

Jacob said this is impossible for us. We could never become like you, for what you did is a disgrace to our people. It’s an “outrageous” thing and “such a thing must not be done in Israel.”(Vs 7) We cannot become like you. Our God forbids such conduct.

But, Jacob said, if you will become like us and accept our values and the mark that identifies us as God’s people (circumcision) and become like us in respecting God’s prescription for moral conduct, we can dwell together.

This story has a catostrophic ending, but my point this morning, is that we too dwell in a land of people with different moral standards, and there is always the invitation and temptation to “become like us” in this world. But we must be “in” the world, but not “of” the world. Our goal should always be to invite them to become like us in our faith, convictions and standards. Like Jacob, we should steadfastly refuse to become like them.

Also, we have the theological roots of, what the Apostle Paul calls the “unequal yoke.” He tells us that we should not yoke ourselves with those who subscribe to a different set of moral standards. It leads only to corruption and trouble.