Sunday, March 28, 2010

Genesis 36 - More than a list of names

Today we looked at Genesis 36.  This is one of those passages that we often gloss over.  We often read though passages such as this with lots of names and struggle with their pronunciation and wonder what this all has to do with anything.  To do that is to miss what God has for us to hear.

As I prepared for this passage it took a number of readings through and much study before it became clear.  This passage, among other things, creates a contrast with that of Joseph to follow and in truth also the life of Jacob that has passed.  While Esau and his descendants are shown as numerous and powerful Jacob and his descendants are wandering around and even in bondage. 

In reading the passage you may wonder who it is that is blessed.  But we know it is the line of Jacob that is of the promise.  Esau is the one that looks successful from the outside as this passage makes much of him.  The world desires to make much of itself and sees outward success as Esau had as what the aim of life is to be about.  The truth is we are to live lives that make much of God, who is absent from this chapter.  We are to make sure that all we do is done for God’s glory and not ours.

Another contrast that is seen is that Esau is said to have had children that were all born in Canaan (V5 ) but he would move out of the promise land to Seir.  Jacob on the other hand had children born outside the promised land but had taken them back there.  The message is that no mater what ones family looks like on the outside if we are leading them away from God what it looks like on the outside is of little matter.  Let us make sure that is what we are doing, leading our children towards God and not away.

These are just some of the things I found in the passage that initially looked like not much more than a list of names.  So, the next time you read this passage step back from your struggle with the names and notice that Moses is accentuating all that Esau had to let us see that was all he had.  His descendants contained chiefs and kings but Jacob would be the line through which the King of kings would come.

If you would like to hear the message from this week you can get it here:  Esau is made Much Of.

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