One of the things that makes doing the will of God a difficult thing is the temptation one must fight in order to stay in line with God's commands. Life presents many "opportunities" to fill and satisfy the flesh in ways that will disconnect God's people from Him. It is the responsibility of the children of God to be aware of these things and then respond in such a way that is in favor of God rather than one's flesh. The thing that makes this challenge extremely difficult to overcome is that the enemy that presents temptation is very good at what he does. The enemy is a master of deception. Temptation is often packaged with what appears to be God's will, but always involves compromise to God's commands.
This truth is made evident in Genesis 34:1-12. In this portion of scripture, Jacob and his family are presented with an extremely difficult situation. While Jacob's daughter Dinah was out in the town, one of the men of the town violated her. The scriptures explain that a man named Shechem, who was a prince in the land, was infatuated with Dinah and violated her. The scriptures explain that Shechem's attraction to Dinah caused him to aggressively pursue her and was continually kind to her in order to take her as his wife. The Bible explains that later, Shechem went to his father Hamor and asked Hamor to speak to Jacob to arrange a marriage between Dinah and Shechem, which was the tradition at the time. Though Shechem had already violated Dinah, he wanted to pursue her in marriage as well.
Genesis 34:1-12 goes on to explain that Hamor, the father of Shechem, approached Jacob and gave a proposal. Hamor explained to Jacob that Shechem was in love with Dinah. Though Jacob knew that Dinah had already been violated by Shechem, Hamor sought to smooth things over by making an offer to Jacob in hopes that Jacob would be willing to overlook the atrocity of Dinah's violation. Hamor's offer was intense. Since Shechem was a prince in the land, that meant that his father was a king in the land. Thus, Hamor had great possessions and wealth in the land that Jacob was living in. Hamor offered to make a peace treaty with Jacob by extending his family to Jacob's in marriage. Hamor suggested that the families should marry each other and that as a result, they would be able to share in the riches of the land. Hamor wanted Jacob to marry into his own family so that they would be able to acquire their own possessions and become rich in the land of Canaan. Hamor just wanted to ensure that the treaty began with a marriage between Dinah and Shechem.
This proposal is difficult. One must consider the circumstances of Jacob and the impact of his decision. The offer of Hamor appears to be a good thing even though Shechem violated Jacob's daughter. One must consider that God had promised to give Jacob the very land that Hamor was offering. If put in this position, it is likely that one might wonder if God was going to use these marriages to accomplish His will. Though Shechem violated Jacob's daughter, both Shechem and Hamor were adamant that Shechem was in love with Dinah, wanted to take care of her and marry her, and were willing to give up everything in order for that marriage to take place. Shechem and Hamor wanted to live peacefully with Jacob and his family and desired to do so to the extent that Hamor suggested the families join together in more marriages and share all of the wealth. One must consider that from the perspective of Jacob, these all sound like enticing things. Nevertheless, one must consider the perspective of God and the cost of doing business with Hamor as God saw it.
Recall that when Abraham desired Isaac to be married, he sent his servant back to his hometown to find a wife for his son. Abraham did not want Isaac married to anyone from Canaan by any circumstances. Recall that when Esau got married, he married two Canaanite women that caused his mother great grief and such disappointed his father. Recall that God worked the circumstances in favor Jacob to take a wife that was from Abraham's own family. Recall that God made His eternally unconditional promises to Abraham and his descendants and that God desired a specific lineage to give the inheritance to. Though the offer of Hamor appeared to be good, it would come at the cost of intermarrying with the Canaanite people, which God did not desire. Though Jacob would receive some of the land that God promised, it would come at the cost of compromise of God's will and plan.
This is a common technique that the devil uses to tempt God's people. In the Gospel of Matthew, the devil is seen using this same technique to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. The Bible explains that the devil took Jesus up on a high tower and showed Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world. The devil offered Jesus all of those kingdoms in exchange for Jesus bowing down to Satan. One must consider a few things about that offer. First, the Bible explains that the devil had the authority to make such an offer, even to Jesus. Second, one must consider that the Father's desire is for the Son to rule and reign as King. Therefore, the offer of Satan appeared to be a way to cause the fulfillment of God's desire, but it would come at the cost of worshiping Satan rather than God. The offer of the devil appeared to be good since it put Jesus in a position of authority over the world as God desired, but it skipped over the crucifixion, which was God's plan. The devil's offer seemed like an easier way to do what God wanted in the end. Nevertheless, the offer of the devil required a rejection of God's will and required compromise of God's promises, which would reflect a lack of confidence in God's plan.
Jacob was put in a very similar position as Jesus in the wilderness. The proposition of Hamor seemed good. It seemed to accomplish that which God desired since Jacob would possess the land that God promised. The proposition of Hamor seemed good because it would result in Jacob and his family becoming rich, accepted in the land, and having certain positions of authority. The proposition of Hamor might have even seemed to be a blessing from God. However, upon examining the full plan of God and recalling the promises of God, it should have been clear to Jacob that God had no interest in Jacob's children marrying into Canaanite families. This is really proven true when the children of Israel overtake the land and God repeatedly demands the children of Israel destroy all of the Canaanite people and do not take them as husbands and wives. God desired His people to be holy and separate from the ways of the pagan Canaanites. God did not desire for Jacob's children to marry into a family that violated people lacking the ability to control their lusts. God did not desire for Jacob's children to marry into a family that sought to justify sin by producing outcomes that seemed favorable from the perspective of mankind without the consideration of God. The temptation that Jacob faced was great, and the only thing that would ensure his success was his understanding of who God was and what God wants.