15 Aug 2021

Languishing in Spiritual Wasteland [Genesis 33-34]


Backsliding can strike anytime. Even after a face-to-face encounter with God, Jacob will slip into compromise and languish in a spiritual wasteland. 1. Compromise. Instead of obeying God fully, he chose to linger halfway. And it was not just a short "vacation" but a long stay of several years. Somehow, he just didn't move on to enter where God calls him to. And so it is with us. We often obey God halfway, which really is not obedience at all. It's a compromise. And we may stay there for a long time. And we struggle there. 2. Complications. Being out of God's will is not just disobedience, it is also devastating. We see the terrible consequences or complications of Jacob's disobedience when rape, murder, and plundering all took place as a result of his stay at Shechem. When we choose to stay out of God's will, He allows painful consequences in our lives, not because He now hates us, but that He loves us and chastises us, that we may learn. 3. Commitment. The main point of this story is not about the rape of Shechem, nor the violence and wile of Simeon and Levi. It is not even about Jacob's sin. Shining brightly above all is the stunning, faithful, gracious love and faithfulness of God towards His elect, Jacob. Just as God blessed Abraham and Isaac even when they sinned, God blesses Jacob ultimately out of sheer grace. The Bible is God's book. God's book is primarily about God. May we see God for who He is and adore Him today in His word!


Sermon Transcript

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Well, this morning, let's come to the book of Genesis, and we've been looking at episodes in the life of Jacob.

So last week we ended with a cliffhanger, isn't it? That Jacob wrestled with God and you may be wondering what's going to happen next? What's going to happen to Jacob? Will he meet Esau? Will he be killed by Esau who is angry with him? Will he be spared? What's going to happen? So that was the end we had.

I would like to say upfront that. "The story is going to be kind of an anticlimax because Esau is not angry, he's not upset, he's not out for blood." In fact, he was a total opposite of what you and I would expect. He was totally warm. He was totally conciliatory. He was warm with his words. He kissed his brother. He did not even want the gifts from Jacob. He had clean-forgiven Jacob, as it were. He is so nice to Jacob, and they had a happy reunion. So we all can kind of heave a sigh of relief.

So after this happy time that they spent together, a reunion they had together, now, the Bible tells us that, "Esau would now return home to Seir and they bade farewell." Jacob will then head on to back to his hometown, which he left. So we read of Jacob, now going to first of all Succoth and then he will go to Shechem, en-route to Beersheba.

Now, Beersheba is where he last was before he left for Haran running away from the family. But today, we are not going to read him arrive at Beersheba, instead he's going to stick on at Succoth and then Shechem. And at Shechem, we read of, "Jacob erecting an altar, significantly calling the altar El-Elohe-Israel," [Gen 33:20] which we have looked at before means, 'God, God of Israel'.

So this is highly significant, because prior to this in the previous chapters, we've always read about Jacob calling God, "The God of Abraham, the Fear of Isaac, the God of Isaac," never really, "The God of Jacob," or after his name has been changed, "The God of Israel." So this is the first time we read that he acknowledges that the Lord God is the God of Israel. It's his God, and he bows before his God.

Now, this is in line with what he said in Genesis 28:20-21, when he was running away from his brother, running away from home, he was fearful, he was anxious, and he did say at Bethel, the place where he slept, the place where he met with the angels. He saw the stairway, it is there that he said, "If God will be with me ..." and so on and so forth, "... then the Lord shall be my God."

So after 20 years or so, he comes to this place, Shechem, erects an altar and says, "Yes, God is the God of Israel, is my God." So this is a fabulous end in chapter 33, Jacob is safe, Esau is gone, his life is not under danger, is not under threat. Everything is fine! Everything is hunky dory, beautiful! End to chapter 33. But this is where the twist comes, because when everything is going on, so well for Jacob, we never expect that chapter 34 would turn out to be such a disaster.

There is an unexpected twist to this story because in chapter 34, the attention shifts to Dinah. "Dinah is the daughter of Leah." [Gen 34:1] Now, Leah had in total seven children by herself - six sons and one daughter. The six sons were born first, then Leah (sic: Dinah). So Leah is the last of uh, no Dinah is the last of Leah's children. She's the youngest, she's probably I think just not a few years old when Jacob decided to leave Laban in Haran.

So she's a young girl, because she's the youngest in Leah's birth order, she's also the only daughter of Jacob, Jacob had 12 sons and one daughter. So must be someone very precious, I can imagine many fathers doting on the little girl after you have 12 sons, isn't it? Well, the focus shifts onto Dinah and, "She went out to see the women of the land." [Gen 34:1] She went out to Shechem to see or to meet the women in that place.

And something horrible happened, something no parent would want happen to their own child, because we read in verse 2, that, "When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her." [Gen 34:2] In short, he sexually assaulted her, he raped her. Now, this is terrible! Like I said, no one would ever want this to happen to their own child, but Shechem did that.

And Shechem, after that rape, loved her, liked her and wanted her to be his wife. "So he spoke to his father Hamor saying, "Get me this girl for my wife, I want her to be my wife." [Gen 34:4] So, "Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah ..." but notice he said nothing at this point of time, "... his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came." [Gen 34:5] He didn't say anything until they arrived.

And when they arrived, the Bible tells us that, "They were very indignant and very angry, because they ... that Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, for such a thing must not be done." [Gen 34:7] "So Hamor came and spoke with them, saying, "The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife. And this is the deal we will make with you, make marriages with us. In fact, don't just let Shechem and Dinah marry, but let your people and my people have freedom for marriage." [Gen 34:8-9]

"Give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves, and you shall dwell with us and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it." [Gen 34:10] In other words, we will give you legal rights. You have free trade agreement with us now at Shechem. And this is what you can enjoy, if you do so with us.

"Ask as well for me as great a bride-price ..." and price as you will, or bride-price, "... and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife." [Gen 34:12] So Shechem says, "I'll do whatever you say, I'll give you whatever you want, just give me Dinah."

Now, "The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor ..." and it is added here, 'deceitfully' [Gen 32:13], so they're going to name a price, they're going name a condition, but it was not a genuine condition, you're going to see why later on. "Only on this condition will we agree with you - that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised." [Gen 34:15]

So the sons of Jacob conspired to come up with this scheme or ploy, "If you want to marry our women and for us to marry your women, if you want to have freedom that we may be one people, then you've got to be like us, all of our males are circumcised, all your males must be circumcised." And so Shechem and Hamor agreed to their proposal, went back to their people and told them to do likewise.

Amazingly, every male was circumcised in Shechem, and, "On the third day, after the circumcision, when they were still healing, and when they were still sore, and when the wound is still raw, the Bible tells us, "Two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came against the city whilst it felt secure and killed all the males." [Gen 32:25]

They created this point of weakness in Shechem, and they conducted a huge massacre of all the males. And not only did they kill all the males, "They took all their wealth, all the little ones, all the wives, they captured and plundered." [Gen 34:29]

It was a deceitful plan! It was a despicable plan! Because they used the covenant of God to deceive another people and kill them. I mean, I understand if they wanted revenge, but this is way excessive. This is violent! This is vile!

Well, Simeon and Levi did that! And now we hear Jacob speak. "Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household." [Gen 34:30] And his sons replied shortly, "Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?" [Gen 34:31]

And that's how chapter 34 ends. So if chapter 33 ends with a sweet and happy note, chapter 4 (sic: 34) is absolutely bitter and painful. And if you read this chapter, it almost seems like an R-rated movie, isn't it? There's violence. There's deceit,. There is rape. There's scheming. There's plundering. I mean, this is an absolutely horrific chapter to look at.

Now, why? Well, this past Monday it was National Day, and we, as a family spent it in the zoo. And when I go to the zoo or when I think about going to the zoo, I ... I almost feel like it's déjà vu. It's ... I've been there, done that! I've seen all the animals, I know where the animals are located. I can remember some of their images in my head, so I always feel that it might be boring for me.

But you know each time I go to the zoo, there are also fresh surprises. For example, this time when I got there, I ... I've seen an animal I don't think I've seen before! And it is ....? Well ... you may say, "It's very simple," but you know, I've never seen this bird before. I might have seen a yellow version, but I've not seen a purple or blue version, and I thought it's beautiful! It ... it's just fresh to me!

And then we went to RepTopia. It's a beautiful display that my son Matthias' favorite place. And ... and when I went to RepTopia, I saw many .... of course reptiles. But I also learned something that day when I saw this exhibit, "Hot On The Trail - Vipers, pythons, boas, they have pit organs." I've always thought they were nostrils. No! No! they are pit organs which are special organs designed by God to allow the snake .... is to detect the heat of prey from 1-meter away. At night, they see prey as infrared images.

So because of the pit organs, perhaps they could see images. And there was a little boy that ran by, I took a photo of it. And it says, "This is probably what a snake would be able to envisage at night." I mean, that's real cool! Isn't it? I mean, this is something fresh, I never learned, I never knew. And I learned something when I got to the zoo.

Now, you say, "Jason, why are you talking about the zoo?" Well, the reason is this: When we read a chapter like chapter 34, I, I tell you what, many people tend to skip it, most people don't even preach about it, because we ... we sort of feel that it's boring. It's always going to be about Shechem's terrible rape or we think that it's about Levi and Simeon and their terrible violence. And you say, "That's so painful! That's so in a sense familiar, and maybe there's nothing to it."

But I like to tell you, "Maybe we are in the zoo today, we are going to see something new." Because I'd like us to take this chapter to be a perspective not about Shechem, not about Simeon or Levi, but maybe about this person that we have neglected. You say, "Who?" Well, this person is none other than the star and the hero of our story in the story of Jacob - Jacob himself.

Now, it is a surprise, because throughout chapter 34, and also 33, maybe Jacob is kind of behind the scenes. Very little is spoken about him, but I do think that this chapter reveals quite a bit about Jacob. Not a very good time in Jacob's life, but it does reveal many things about Jacob. And I like us to notice a few things. It's ... it's like jigsaw puzzle, we're going to take small pieces of clues together, and then fit it together to get a picture.

[A] Notice Jacob's Silence
I'd like you to first of all notice Jacob and his silence.

Now, it's obvious in fact to me, his silence is deafening. I mean, if your daughter is raped, surely there must be something you say. But the Bible tells us he was actually quite silent! It's almost like he has no confidence to say what he's supposed to say. He has no conviction to say what he's supposed to say. "He held his peace until his sons came." [Gen 34:5]

And then when Hamor came with the marriage proposal, you notice it was not Jacob who dealt with Hamor and Shechem, it was the sons! So again, he was silent here! But the only time he spoke is right at the end when he had this complaint. He complained against Simeon and Levi. Now, let's get that right, Simeon and Levi were absolutely wrong and there's no excuse for that. But what Jacob said was also very revealing, I've highlighted to you that in this statement, he had 7 references to himself - Me and I, me and I, me and I, me and I.

He was all self-absorbed! So I say that something that we need to grasp here, he was silent until it came to himself.

[B] Notice Jacob's Residence
Number two, I'd like us to notice his residence. Where is he living at this stage? Well, the Bible tells us that, "God actually told him to return to the land of your fathers." [Gen 31:3] Where is the land of the fathers? Where was Jacob staying or where was Isaac staying? Where was Jacob when he left? Well, it was Beersheba, further south of the land.

"But Jacob having journey to Succoth, built a house, made booths, he then went on to Shechem." [Gen 33:17-18] And we don't read of him moving on, at least for a period of time. Now, he is not temporarily staying at Shechem. It's not just a short vacation, or short stay.

The reason why I think it's prolonged is this, as I've mentioned Dinah is the last to be born to Leah. She's probably ... now, you notice that Jacob had to work another six years for Laban before he was allowed to leave, so I would imagine that Leah (sic: Dinah) is somewhere between maybe 7, 9-years-old when she left Haran, or when she left together with Jacob. Now, however, when you come to Genesis 34, this 7, 9-years-old girl when she left, is now of marriageable age. Now, you may say, "People marry very young in those days!" I agree, but I think she's probably already at least a teenager.

So the point is ... from leaving to Shechem is several years, and our friend Jacob has still not gone back to Isaac. So the point I'm making here is that - he has chosen to dwell in Succoth and also in Shechem. Something wrong is going on here, because he's not supposed to do that, he's supposed to be going en-route back to his hometown.

[C] Notice Jacob's Absence
Then finally, I'd like you to notice Jacob's absence, absence from the place of worship.

Now, he did worship, I think at Shechem when he erected the altar. But ever since that incident in Genesis 33, we don't read of his worship anymore. In fact, we don't read about God anymore in chapter 34. And this is I think, not just argument out of silence, it is significant because if you turn a page to chapter 35:1, we will read that, "God would call Jacob to arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, make an altar."

So for chapter 34, there's nothing there's no mention of God, but in chapter 35, after this disaster happened, God said, "Go back to Bethel. Set up my altar. Worship Me." And in chapter 35, you have 11 mentions of God, which is absolutely absent in chapter 34. Now, these are the little nuances, little clues that you got to, I suppose steep yourself in this chapter to be able to see. But all that fits into a picture, isn't it? All that comes together to look at Jacob at this point of time.

The conclusion is this: Jacob is not doing well spiritually, because he has been living outside God's will for some time now. He's struggling! He's silent! He's not confident about his faith.

And I suppose this is a little déjà vu once again - An apple does not fall far from the trees, just as Abraham his grandfather had the time of spiritual compromise in Egypt, and his father Isaac has a time of spiritual compromise in Gerar, we have looked at those two stories before, grandson Jacob would have a time of spiritual compromise, living outside the will of God in Shechem.

And that's why I think this disaster happened, I think that's why he has no confidence to speak, and that's why God gave us this passage! Yes, we see that there is sin in Shechem. Yes, we see that there is violence in Simeon and Levi, but more than anything else, let us see spiritual compromise in Jacob's life. That he is in a spiritual wasteland, figuratively speaking, and he's just languishing there.

Now, I spent so long just to come to this big idea, but I'm going to go fast in some of the specific points I like to highlight as we close.

[1] Compromise
First of all, I'd like us to notice - the compromise in Jacob's life.

Again, I think I've already explained that, God told him in chapter 31, verse 3, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred." And also again in verse 13, "Return to the land of your kindred." But as far as we read, thus far, "He journeys to Succoth. "He goes to Shechem." [Gen 33:17] And he doesn't quite get to Beersheba, which is his hometown. And he has stayed outside Beersheba for a long period of time.

And I think that's a picture of what compromise means. Compromise means that we are not quite in the will of God. We kind of come in between from Haran to Beersheba, we are somewhere in the middle at Shechem. And that's perhaps a picture of some of our lives, because maybe God has made it clear to you, you are convinced that God would want you to come to a place of service, come to a place of ministry, come to a place of sacrifice, but you are not willing to quite go all the way. You're not quite willing to leave behind all your worldly ambitions and dreams.

Maybe God has called you today to have a healed relationship, to forgive someone, and to seek reconciliation with another, but you're not willing to quite come all the way. You just want to maybe not bear hatred, but you do not want to reach out a hand of reconciliation. You just want to come halfway. And maybe as a result of this, you have been struggling in your life. And this is not just a momentary lapse in you have been struggling for years, because you choose to live in Shechem, like Jacob did, and will not come to Beersheba. Could that be you?

When I was in the military, in the army, I was in the armed forces or the infantry troops. We realize that ... I realized that after you attack an enemy objective, and you conquered that enemy objective, there is no rest. I had always thought that if I've captured that objective, we can now lie down and sleep. But no! The drill of the infantry troops is : after you have successfully captured that territory, you have to now get to work as well.

Get to what work? Well, you have to begin to dig holes - foxholes, shell scripts. So that you may be able to find a good place for defense, if the enemy comes back to recapture the objective. And the idea is that the infantry troops should always remain vigilant and alert, because even after a victory there can be another attack.

Now, the point is this: In chapter 33, we read of Jacob having an encounter with God, and there he learned to be broken, he learned to be humbled, he learned to pray, and God gave him blessing. But who is to know that after chapter 33, that juxtaposition is so sharp, that chapter 34 would present a story of compromise.

We thought that he would do well! He will be in cruise control! He will be a man who will be walking with God all the time! But no, that's not the reality! He is now languishing in a spiritual wasteland. He has learned to compromise and he's ended up in a terrible state.

Perhaps this is a warning for all of us, that we are to be sober and vigilant. Yes, God has blessed you in your life, you have had a wonderful experience with God, you have had a wonderful walk with God, but there is no place for complacency because compromise can strike at any time.

[2] Complications
Well, second thing I'd like us to look at is that as a result of this compromise, there are complications that would arise.

Now, the complications here are the terrible effects of the compromise. I want to say, "This mess, surely is also a result of Shechem and Simeon and Levi. I, I do not want to reduce their culpability, but the point is ... is if there was no such compromise, I believe on Jacob's part, there will be no such complications."

The complications are that I think Jacob lost all spiritual confidence and conviction as a leader at home. He will be silent, and he was self-centered. And of course the massacre, the deaths, the terrible rape, well, those are terrible things, those are the terrible consequences. So the point is: sin, living out of God's will is not just disobedience, it is also highly devastating and destructive. It's not just wrong, it will also bring terrible consequences!

Now, I was a medical doctor and I've learned quite a bit about diabetes. We have to study a lot about diabetes. It's called, "The Silent Killer", because often times it goes undetected for a long while.

Suppose today there is a cut on your forearm, it is painful, it is bleeding. You know what you will do? You will immediately do something to stop it, because it's so obvious! But diabetes is not like a cut wound, diabetes is a problem with blood sugar levels, somehow your body cannot regulate the blood sugar levels.

And you know what, it's often not painful! There's no blood oozing anywhere, it's just a blood sugar level control. And so many times it is undetected, and people may die from it undetected. However, there are times where diabetes, when elevated blood sugar levels result in many complications, it results in many consequences.

For example, because of blood sugar level bad control, your blood vessels are affected, especially blood vessels that are far away from the heart, they get affected and get spoilt. And what happens is that you have ulcers on your leg that do not heal because blood supply does not get there. It's choked up with all these terrible effects that the elevated blood sugars caused. So what happens is that people may end up with amputations, because the wounds just don't heal, because the blood supply is not good.

And there are people because of the blood vessels being destroyed end up with kidney failure, and they have to go for dialysis. And diabetes affects many organs. Diabetes is a silent killer. Yes, but it can also result in many complications! And I'll tell you what, whilst the complications are terrible, they are also a reminder that you have a bigger problem, a blood sugar level problem that you should address.

So in this case, we see the complications in Jacob's life. We don't just read about him living out of Beersheba, living in Shechem, but we see that there are complications in Shechem that we may learn from it. So I believe Moses wrote all these details, inspired by God to write all these details, no censoring, no holds barred, and just revealing to us the terrible mess that we might be warned out of it.

So maybe today, as you think about your life there are complications to living out of God's will. Maybe you are in a job that God doesn't want you to be in, because you're there exactly because you do not want to be in God's will, to maybe give up some things to serve Him and ... and to be in ministry and so on.

And maybe today you're struggling, maybe you don't want to obey God in forgiving someone, you don't want to obey God in living out his will, and therefore you have been struggling in your life. Maybe you've stress, you've anxiety, you have very strained relationships at home. Maybe God allows you to suffer these complications.

Now, let me say this, "I want to assure you that throughout this time, God has not given up on Jacob. God did not stop loving Jacob." And so it is, when we read about complications, the results of our sin, we must not then think that God now hates us. No, the Bible tells us that if God loves us while we were yet sinners, He will not stop loving us now that you're're His child! God's love is strong and unbreakable!

But in His love He allows painful consequences of sin to come into your life. In fact, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 12 that, "He would directly ever chastise us, scourge us." Why? Why does He give us pain? So that we may learn, so that we may turn, so that we may repent, so that when I see the complications of diabetes, I may deal with the heart of the problem which is blood sugar level.

So maybe God is dealing with you today as you go through pains. Could it be complications that are a result of your compromise?
It's easy to look at this chapter and say, "Alright, Jason, I understand what you're trying to say. You're saying that, "It's dangerous to live out of God's will, it's destructive to live out of God's will, and we need to repent."' I say, "You're right!" But then I say there's something more, because lastly from this story, I'd like us to have a better picture.

[3] Commitment of God
And I want you to see not just the fact that we need to obey God and not stay in Shechem but endeavor to always go back to the center of God's will. I want you to notice lastly - the commitment of not Jacob, but of God.

Because right after this disaster, we read in chapter 35 that God has not given up on Jacob. [Gen 35:1] Despite his weakness, despite his compromise, God has not given up on Jacob. In chapter 35, we have already seen this, "God says to Jacob, "Now, come back to Bethel and worship Me." You know, that's amazing! Because Jacob messed up, he messed up after being a believer, but God never gave up, even though Jacob messed up. Amazing, isn't it!

And God not only told him to come back, but God in chapter 35, we're going to study that next week, re-affirmed His covenant with Jacob. He's ... He's double confirming His promises to Jacob. "I know you messed up, Jacob. I know what your sons did, Jacob, but you know what, My promise for you and to you remains the same." [Gen 35:11-12]

Now, I'm not sure about you, but as I recall our journey in Genesis, this again is so déjà vu. Remember, Abraham messed up in Egypt, but God blessed him abundantly. Remember, Isaac messed up in Gerar and God blessed him abundantly. And I think now that Jacob messed up in spiritual wasteland at Shechem, God will still bless Jacob abundantly. Yes, there was a time of chastisement, but at the end of the day, God's will is still to bless Jacob.

I tell you, my reading of Genesis 34 is like a visit to the zoo. I thought I knew the story .... Oh, it's Shechem's rape! Oh, it's Simeon and Levi's violence! But let me tell you, it's more than that. It's not even about Jacob anymore! I think what I realize is that this is a chapter about God. What a strange thing!

Yes, God is not mentioned in chapter 34, but yes, it is part of God's story. God is repeatingly ... repetitively showing us and gloriously, repetitively showing us, He is a God of amazing love, grace, and faithfulness to His people!

So today, you may be living in sin, but I pray the love of God will melt your heart and grant you that He will grant you wisdom to come out of Shechem and go to the center of God's will. And I pray today even as you struggle and you suffer in this life, don't ever doubt God's love for you because just as He loved Jacob with a sovereign love, God loves you and I, who belong to Him with a sovereign love.

So this is the confidence we can have, "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good." [Rom 8:28] You know what, this has nothing to do with how deserving you are. This is the message of the Bible, it's absolutely stunning! We often think that God is good to those who are good to Him, God is good to those who belong to Him, those whom He has chosen, those whom He has set His love upon.

Oh my friends, our hearts are prone to wander like Jacob, even after we are saved! Yet, we can cry out, "Come Thou Fount of every blessing, and now tune our hearts to sing Thy praise." May we learn, yes ... to repent from our sins, but may we also more than ever learn to rejoice in who God is, and what He has promised Himself to be in our lives.

This is the story of chapter 34 - it's about God. This is the story of the Bible, it's always about God.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

Father, we want to thank You today for Your amazing love. You loved us while we were yet sinners, and now that we have become Yours, nothing ... nothing shall remove us from Your love. Thank You for Jesus Christ, that by His finished work on the cross, You may now forgive us and set Your love upon us and bless us. So today, we give You back the praise.

I want to pray today for Your people, some are living in sin, some are living in compromise, give us wisdom today, help us to be warned in our heart that we might turn. And I pray today for Your people to trust You, even through difficult times. Never to doubt Your love, but to be confident as You have said in Romans 8:28, "You are still working all things together for good to them that love You."

And dear God, I pray for friends who may be tuning in today for the first time. Maybe they are thinking about what they need to do to get saved, but Lord help them to see that it is not what they can do to get saved, it is what Jesus had done to get them saved. And may they see that You're such a generous and magnanimous and gracious God. We pray that You grant to them then that willingness to turn from their sin and to look to Jesus, to believe upon Him for salvation in life.

Thank You that we can look at this Book of Genesis and see that it is a book about You. Bless Your people. We pray all this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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