Skip to main content

Esau's Line: Genesis 36

You know what we haven't had for a little while in through the whole Bible? A genealogy! Fortunately, we can remedy that problem today with Genesis 36 (link). I hope that you're as happy about that as I am :)

I think I've mentioned before (yep)  that these sections of Scripture can be a challenge to get through. It's tempting to skip them outright, and it's tempting to add in all sorts of ideas about who the people were. You have to hit the middle ground. Scripture does not leave us with all the details of all these lives. Any fill-in information is brought to us without the benefit of being perfectly inspired. Plus, since I don't have a lot of resources on the shelf that deal with Esau's line, it's harder for me to get that information.

What can be done with what we've got, then?

1. As seems to constantly bear repeating: one husband, one wife just works better for marriage. That's the template from Eden, when things were "very good." All manner of issues today cloud that concept, but if we believe Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 then we see intentionality in this. Esau's life and the lives of his descendants drew additional complications from his polygamy.

2. Sometimes, you have to part ways: Genesis 36:7 shows Esau moving on when he and Jacob could not share the land. This is likely about more than just material—Canaan's a big space for sheep at the time. However, Esau had traded away his birthright to the space and so he moves on.

3. Did you notice the name Reuel? Does that ring a bell for anyone? It should. Reuel shows up as a name some four centuries later in Exodus 2:18.

Let's take that thought and jump to a conclusion or two. First of all, here's an assumption that I think you can count on: cultures and families re-use names. Seriously. I've encountered a few criticisms of Scripture that point out that the authors just reuse the same names and the claim was that it showed a lack of creativity in making up the stories.

Hogwash. It just shows that those critics aren't from the South. Around here, we use and reuse names from one generation to the fourth generation. We borrow from that family and this family and the other family. Proof? My son's name is my father's middle name, my mother-in-law's maiden name, and my last name (well, all of us in this house have that in common). My name matches several of the nuts going back up the family tree as well as being given me specifically to honor non-family members.

It should be no surprise for us, then, to find Reuel show up again in the time of Moses. We're not talking about the same guy, we're talking about someone named after the same guy.

There's a connection that traces here from Esau, out into the wilderness, and down into the land of Midian. This is how Moses finds a family that worships the One True God when he flees Egypt. This is how God provides for those 40 years in the desert as a shepherd for Moses before he spends 40 years in the desert shepherding people.

Esau leaves a mixed legacy behind him. Even the Midianites as a whole are a mixed legacy behind him!

Yet along the way, the worship of the One True God was continued in parts of his family.

What are the impacts of a life? The actions echo forward into time and are hard to stop. In time, some of Esau's descendants did what was right, but others did not. Mixing his obedience with disobedience leaves him with a mixed legacy.

Therefore, let us focus our lives on being as fixed as possible in our obedience!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…