29 Aug 2021
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter. Esau and his family looked like a success by worldly standards. But he ultimately failed with God. What profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul, Jesus once said. That is the question you and I will have to ponder. Did God bless Esau in a way that signifies that Esau is the blessed one and not Jacob his brother? What do we make of his success in this world?
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Well, let's come to the Bible this morning, and we are continuing our journey in the book of Genesis. I want to thank Jonathan for reading for us in Scripture reading. Genesis 36 - not an easy chapter to read and I'm sure you appreciate. Not an easy chapter to go through this morning but I hope to make it simple; easy; practical and rich for all of you.
Now, let me show you a list of name. Genesis 36 was a lot about names! But let me show you a list of names right here. And some of you would be able to pick out some similarities in these names, but to most of us I think, this list of names probably sound like a list of strangers. We do not know them!
But if you really think about it and if you examine it, you might find it very familiar sounding - Guillemard, Cecil, Clifford, Shenton, Mountbatten, Nicoll ... Well, I'm sure you are familiar by now that these are words or names that are very similar to road and place names here in Singapore. So this list of names are actually the governors of the Straits Settlement. In simple words, these are the governors of Singapore before we became an independent nation from 1920 to 1959.
Now, I chose these dates because they are about 100 years or so before today. And if you think about it, we have already most of us forgotten who these people are. So if we do not even remember the names of our governors, equivalent like a Prime Minister of Singapore 100 years ago, what gives us the right to think that any one of you would remember the names in Genesis 36? They are some 3, 4000 years ago and they are not even in Singapore!
Now, I'm under no illusion that it will be a difficult chapter for us to go through. But I want you to appreciate that even though these are names that are long time ago, that seem irrelevant to us, this is still God's Word.
And I remember 2nd Timothy, chapter 3 that says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness that the man of God, that you might be perfect, thoroughly ... thoroughly furnished unto all good works." In other words, I'm saying that the Bible is saying that, "It is given for your good and Genesis 36 I think is likewise."
So, even though it's going to be a difficult, long and maybe, seemingly irrelevant chapter, I hope to help you see that there is relevance and there is value and there is profit in going through this. Now, of course, the approach of going through Genesis 36 cannot be one that is microscopic. In other words, we won't want to go through every single sentence and every single word in its every detail. We're not going to pursue every single individual written here, but we're going to take a more macroscopic approach, a broad sweep of things.
In that we are going to try to extract some observations from this text, distill out some of the principles, and then seek to make meaningful applications to life. If that is okay with you, we are ready to start.
Well, I like to begin with the very first verse that says, "These are the generations of Esau." Let me blow this up for you, that's ... that, that enables you to read it better. "These are the generations of Esau." This is about the family of Esau.
Observation 1: Esau Was Successful by the World's Standards
And I'd like you to see in general, Esau's family was a family that was quite successful by world standards.
A. Esau Has Many Descendants
He ... number one, you could see has many descendants. He has three wives, five sons, one daughter, 10 grandsons. And then, that family began to grow; to snowball. He, in Chinese would be someone who has "子孙满堂" [zǐ sūn mǎn táng]. His household will be filled with children and grandchildren. He was a blessed man, you would say by the world standards.
B. Esau Was The Founder Of A Powerful Nation/Dynasty
And not only does he have many descendants, they were all very impressive people in general, because ultimately his family became a powerful nation and dynasty. I mean, I wouldn't even think of anything close to that for my own family, but Esau had a dynasty because his descendants became chiefs. [Gen 36:15]
And in verse 31, they were called kings. So, he became a powerful patriarch! I mean, he had power and influence, his children and his descendants became very influential, wealthy people. No doubt! So, we see that Esau was successful by the world standards.
C. Esau Has Many Beautiful Wives
And maybe you could also say that he has many beautiful wives. This is somewhat implied, implied by the names of his wives. For example, his wife Adah, it means 'ornament' or 'adorned one'. I think it's probably reflective of who she is - someone who is beautiful, someone who is very attractive.
You may have Ohilibamah, not Obama but Ohilibamah, which means 'tall' or 'stately'. She must be quite impressive looking as well. And then his third wife, Basemath, which means 'perfumed one'. Someone who is again, attractive. So it may be that Esau and in all likelihood had beautiful wives.
So if you kind of look at it packaged together, you might say, "Esau was successful by the world standards."
Observation 2: Esau Did Not Choose To Walk With God
A second observation about Esau and his families that Esau however, did not choose to walk with God. Now, we already know this from the narrative earlier on when Esau sold his birthright; his spiritual birth right; the blessings of God for a bowl of soup. And the reason is because he despised spiritual things. He did not value them at all, and so he could very flippantly; casually, just sell it for a bowl of lentil soup.
Later on in the New Testament, the Bible explains that, "Esau was an unholy man, he sold his birthright for a single meal, and he never sought to repent before God." [Heb 12:16-17] So we already know from the story before, and from the New Testament commentary later that he was a man who did not choose to walk with God.
A. Esau Took Canaanite Wives
But in this text, we also see some clues. For example, "He chose to have Canaanite wives." [Gen 36:2] Abraham, his grandfather had earlier on said to his servant never to get a wife from amongst whom he dwells, to never get a wife from Canaan for his son Isaac. Now, we looked at it earlier and it is most likely because the people of Canaan were a sinful; rebellious people. But it did not matter to Esau, he chose Canaanite wives, according to verse 2!
B. Esau Stayed In Seir[Edom]
Not only that, we also read that Esau stay in Seir or Edom. Now, this would not be so bad I suppose if it was you and me, but in the case of Esau, it would be terrible because it was clear, it was explicit that God would give Canaan as the place of promise, but it did not matter to Esau. He did not want to be in the land of Canaan, he wanted to go away from it. He did not mind if he was living elsewhere in Seir, in Edom. "He settled in the hill country of Seir." [Gen 36:8]
And this has to be read in the contrast given to us in the next chapter in verse 1, "Jacob lived in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan." [Gen 37:1] Jacob believed God, Jacob was a man who walked with God, not always perfectly, but sometimes often enough for us to know that he's a man of faith. He chose to live in Canaan, but not Esau.
C. No Mention of Worship
And then finally, of course, we read in Esau's life that there was never a life of worship. Jacob did! Jacob put up an altar. Jacob built up a pillar. He would worship God. He would sacrifice unto God. But we won't read this in Esau's life, there was no worship of God.
So in all likelihood, for all intents and purposes, we could say that, "Esau, though successful by the world's standards was a man who did not choose to walk with God."
Observation 3: Esau's People Became Enemies of The People Of Israel.
And then, we see that Esau's people would become enemies of the people of Israel.
A. Frequent Wars Between The 2 Nations
They would frequently have wars between these two nations or at least from their descendants there will be frequent wars.
B. Amalek is Esau's Grandson
We read for example, that Amalek would be Esau's grandson. And you will remember the story of Exodus 17, the Amalekites would fight against the Israelites. They were enemies! These are ... this is just one example.
C. Edomites Refused Passage Through Their Land
And then later on as the people of Israel were wandering in the wilderness and needed a passage through the land of Edom, Eden refused them that right of passage.
So they were enemies! But it's also interesting, I just thought it might be good for you to know that God did say to the people of Israel, "You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother." [Deut 23:7]
So perhaps one of the reasons Genesis 36 is given here, tracing Esau's family all the way to the nation of Edom, is so that the people of Israel, having read and heard Moses in Deuteronomy and in Genesis 36 will understand why they are not to despise or to abhor an Edomite, because they are really in a sense, cousins. Just as Jacob and Esau are brothers, they are brothers, they are cousins, and therefore they are not to abhor.
So these are I think the broad sweep observations, I like us to pick out. But I'd like us to think about what lessons are there, I mean these are facts, they are great, but what are the spiritual distillations, if I may say we can have. Now, I wouldn't say that, "These are lessons that are direct from the text, but I think these are reflections we should have as we look at these texts."
So what can we learn? What other spiritual principles we can be thinking about?
Principle 1: Building
Well, the first one I think is rather obvious, and that is the question about - building. What are you building in your life? What are you living for? What are you trying to achieve? Because we see in this story, a man who probably seemed to achieve a lot, but ultimately failed before God. Isn't it?
I think the question Jesus asked is very relevant here, "What profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?" You see, again I repeat, "Esau was a man successful by the world standards, but he was a man who ultimately did not walk with God." Yes, he had a lot of success in maybe building a dynasty, but what use is that if he was an unholy man who did not repent before God, who despised spiritual things, and who eventually one day would end up in hell?
Well, the title I can think of for this sermon is therefore a very ironical one - "Esau Was The Successful Man Who Failed Miserably", because even though he succeeded in this world's things, he failed miserably where it ultimately mattered. He felt miserably with God!
Now, I want to bring you back to memory. Some months ago, when we first started the journey in Genesis, we looked at Genesis chapter 4. And it's a chapter that I said many people would skip because that doesn't seem to be a lot to talk about, but actually if you think about it, Moses is skillfully showing us the very same thing in Cain's life.
Remember Cain? He sinned against God, he did not believe God. He rebelled against God and build a city. He built a city where his descendants were very spectacular people. They were the pioneers, they were the inventors of music and art, and metal works, and technology, but they were ultimately a people who are defiant before God.
And then Moses skillfully added one sentence about the people of Seth, not a lot about inventiveness or creativity or technology is mentioned about the people of Seth, but they were the people who pioneered congregational worship, because the Bible says, "And they began to call upon the Name of the Lord."
Here, you have a contrast between Cain and Seth! And isn't it the same here, a contrast between the people of Esau and the people of Israel? The people of Esau was successful kings, the people of Israel were actually slaves. By the time Moses was writing Genesis, the people of Israel were slaves who escaped Egypt. They had nothing! They had no land! They had no territory! They were wandering in the wilderness!
But as Moses wrote these things, I think the intention is for the people of Israel to read about the kings, and the chiefs of the people of Edom and still be able to ask themselves, "So what? So what if Edom is a powerful nation, we are slaves, it didn't matter because we have the promise of God, and God is ours!"
What profits a man, like Esau if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? That's the question you have to ask yourself.
We live in a society that values success. We are thankful that in this tiny nation of Singapore, we enjoy peace and prosperity, but I hope you realize that prosperity in this life does not mean success for your life. I think the greatest fear we have ... we must have is not a failure, but of succeeding at things in life that do not matter ultimately.
Imagine, you climb the corporate ladder, you arrive at the top, you celebrate your victory, and that very day or at least 10 years later, your life goes! So what if you sat at the top! So what if you gain the whole world, but lose your soul! That's that question that the family of Esau should cause us to think about, because that's what the people of Israel would think about, "Our cousins, the Edomites, they are successful by world standards, but we have our God."
As you think about your own family, think about what you would want for your children. We joke about this in church, we say that, "The goal of the parent is not to get the child to Harvard, but to get him to heaven." Now, of course we can't save our children, salvation is of the Lord, but it is the parents' responsibility to always be pointing the child to Jesus, to salvation in Jesus Christ. That is our priority to help him get to heaven, and not to Harvard!
Now, I'm not running down Harvard. If on the way to heaven, he goes through Harvard, that's great! But don't go to Harvard at the expense of going to heaven. I'm not saying that, "You should not help your kids do well in their studies, in their PSLE and O levels, and to throw it all away. I think they have to be responsible in their studies, that's for sure, but I hope your priority is not that they would succeed in this life and fail in the real eternal life."
So as we think about Esau's family, let's think about what you are building, what you're building for your own life, and what you're building for your family and for your children?
Jesus' question, what a powerful one! What profits you if you should gain your billion dollars, or your company or your fame, if you should lose your own soul?
Principle 2: Blessing
A second reflection I thought this is a lengthy discussion that we should have, is that of the question of - blessing.
Now, think about it, Esau looked really blessed. In fact, I would say, "Esau's family looks very blessed, even more than Israel!" Don't you think? Like I said, Israel when they were reading what Moses was writing for the first time, they were slaves who had just escaped the land of Egypt.
I mean they had nothing! No territory, no title deeds, they were a wandering nation. And then if they were to think about their cousins Edom, they would probably assume that Esau's family looks very blessed more than us. And that is even more disturbing to some when we realize that Esau did not walk with God!
So this is the question - How is it that Esau's family looks more blessed than Israel, even though they were a people who by general did not in general did not walk with God? In fact, one of the descendants of Esau had a name named after Baal, a false God.
So how is this true? Is there a link at all between obeying God and being blessed? Is there a link at all with not walking with God and not being blessed? Now, that's the question about blessing. That is a question my Care Group talked about last week. I did not propose this subject, but it was a good question that was asked in my Care Group - Is there a relationship between obeying God and being blessed? Is there a relationship between not obeying God and therefore forfeiting our blessing?
So I'd like to present to you this question as well, as we look at Genesis 36 - Is there a correlation between obeying God and the blessing from God, or between disobeying God and therefore losing the blessing of God?
When you look at the life of Esau here in Genesis 36, your answer probably would be, "No! Huh, there's no relationship, because Esau did not walk with God but he was very blessed." So, are we blessed because we obey? When we look at Genesis 36, you might walk away saying, "No, no! we are not blessed because we obey, because Esau was blessed, even when he did not obey! Do we suffer because we sin? No, Esau sin, but he did not really suffer."
Now, that might be the conclusion, if we read this without the rest of the Bible. That would be an unfortunate conclusion in my opinion, because the answer to this is not no, the answer to this is not that there is no correlation between obedience and blessing, because I think affirmatively the Bible tells me the answer is actually yes.
I believe that God chooses to bless obedience. God delights to bless obedience, and it is found really throughout the Scripture. Let me just point out a few to you. Deuteronomy chapter 5, "Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear Me and to keep all My commandments...." That's called obedience alright, "....that it might go well with them." The reason that God gives in Deuteronomy that they should obey, is that it is for their good. Is there blessing in obedience? Absolutely! Deuteronomy 5:29.
How about Psalm 1:1-2 which many of you memorize? "Blessed is the man who does not live or is not influenced by sin or sinfulness, aah sinful people. But blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord." Now clearly, this is not just someone who reads it or thinks about it, but someone who delights enough to do it. There is a blessedness in doing the will of the Lord, and the blessing is that, "He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, he would yield its fruit. He will have leaves that do not wither in all that he does he prospers." Is there blessing in obedience? Sure! Found in Psalm 1 as well.
How about Psalm 119:165? "Great peace, inner peace have those who love your law." There is blessing in loving and obeying God's laws!
How about Proverbs 3:1-2? The whole book of Proverbs teaches the reader, "To keep the commandments, to keep the Word of God, so that there will be days and years of life and peace added to you." Is there blessing? Of course there is!
Some of you say, "Ah, but pastor, these are all Old Testament texts! It's not relevant in the New Testament." I beg to differ because for example, Galatians 6,7 and 8 gives us a very simple principle, "Whatever you sow, you will reap. If you sow to the flesh, if you sow to what you want and not what God wants, you reap corruption." There is a problem when you live in sin, there are consequences, but, "If you sow to the Spirit, you will from the Spirit reap eternal life." There is blessing there in obedience!
How about James 1:25, that says, "There is a man who looks into the perfect law, the Word of God, he perseveres. He does not just hear and forgets but he is a doer, the doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."
So this is the question: Is there a relationship between obedience and blessing? Absolutely yes! The Bible is affirmative! Obedience is blessed.
I've shown you many proof texts. Now, before you jump to any conclusion, I hasten to quickly make a few qualifiers.
Qualifier 1: Obedience Is Not The Means To Earning God's Love
Number one, I want you to know that even though God blesses obedience, you must be clear that obedience is not the means to earning God's love. Alright? We do not obey so that God loves me. We obey because God loves me. And the amazing thing that is that when we obey, because we know God loves us, God also blesses our obedience.
But let's be very clear, God relates to us not because we have earned His love by our obedience, but God relates to us because of His grace. Alright? Nevertheless, it is clear that God rewards and blesses obedience.
Qualifier 2: Blessing Is Not Always Physical/Material/About Comfort
I would also be very quick to point out to you that the blessing that is mentioned in the Bible is not always physical material abundance, not even ease. You will read in the verses earlier, it refers to peace, it refers to life. So it may not be just things that you see on the outside, it is not always about a Ferrari or a bungalow. In fact, it's often not these things!
So when we say, "Obedience is blessed, I do not want you to walk away thinking, "Oh, if I obey God today, God is going to give me a million dollars in my bank account!"' It does not always work based on material things.
Qualifier 3: The Timing Is Not Always Immediate
I also want you to understand that the Bible does not say that, "When you obey God, the blessing comes always immediately." There may be a gap period, sowing and reaping does talk about the kind of gap, time interval.
Qualifier 4: There Are Other Factors Like God's Grace & Glory
And how about that, understanding that there are also other factors like God's grace and glory! What do I mean by that? I mean this - Yes, in general, God blesses obedience, but do you realize that in the Bible, even when some of his people disobey, God still blesses.
Why? Because there's another great factor called, the grace of God. You will recall this about Abraham's life, right? And Isaac, both of them sinned against God, but God did not in a sense, take away the blessing from their life, but God still bless them. I mean the classic example of course is Jacob. Jacob was a sinful man, I mean, he ... he swindled his father, but God still chose to bless Jacob.
We must not walk away thinking that God rewards sin, rewards lies, but we must see that even though Jacob lied, Jacob sinned, God's grace is greater than Jacob's sin. It will be borne by Jesus, His Son on the cross, but God chose to operate on grace, in the case of Jacob. So there are other factors like grace that we have to consider.
And if you think about it, there is this puzzle in life with regards to suffering. Job, you will recall is a man who was stricken with terrible afflictions. And his friends said to him, "Aah, the reason why you are in such terrible affliction is because you sinned against God!"
They have a very simplistic theology, they have a very simplistic thinking, "If I suffer, it must be because I disobey, and if I'm blessed it must be because I obey." They ... they don't understand that there are other factors like grace and glory. Eventually God had to reveal to Job and the friends, that it was not because of Job's sin, but God has a greater purpose that is yet unrevealed to Job and his friends.
So we ... we must understand that in the Bible, sufferings are not always so easy to tie up. Not everything that you suffer is because of some sin in your life. Sometimes it may, but it may not always, and it will not always be that case.
Maybe something more explicit is the man who was born blind, Jesus healed that man born blind. But the question about this man is very interesting, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?" [John 9:2] You see in the minds of the people of Israel, it was very straightforward, "He was blind, because it must be because he deserved it, because someone sin, either he sin or his parents' sin." Jesus said, "Nah, neither!" "It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him," [John 9:3] It's for the glory of God that he was blind!
So it is not so straightforward, you see! There are other factors like grace and glory when it comes to blessing and suffering in a man's life. So I want to bring you back to this question - Is there a correlation between obedience and blessing? Well, absolutely yes! The Bible is affirmative about it, but it is not always easy, linking it so directly in our lives.
Why? Because number one, blessing is not always given in the form of material things. Number two, there will be a time interval. Number three, there are factors like God's grace and glory. So we know that obedience is blessed, but we cannot be too quick to assume a blessing or a forfeiture of blessing based on our obedience or disobedience. It's not that straightforward, alright?
I'm sure you're blur by now, but I just like to give you a kind of a mental test or check. When I was in medical school, we have many exams to go through. When I was in medical school, we have a lot of true or false questions. I find it a very fascinating way to test the knowledge of students. In O levels, A levels, we take multiple choice questions, A-B-C-D or 1-2-3-4. You choose one of the four, and oftentimes you have a high chance of getting it right, even if you do not know the answer, because the chances 25%, right?
But in med school, they don't give MCQs in four options, but they use - true, false. You say, "Wah, that's even easier what, 50 percent leh!" Well, yes and no, because in med school the system is, if you answer a question correctly, you get plus one. If you do not attempt the question, you get zero, but if you attempt and you got it wrong it's minus one. Somehow it was a very accurate way of assessment.
So today, I like to give you a series of questions of - true false. I'd like you to attempt. Most of you, all of you are at home right now. Take out a piece of paper, write on the phone your answers, just T or F, true or false for every question. Alright! Simple!
1. Obedience is rewarded with blessings. True or false?
If you attempt and you get it right, you get one mark. If you don't attempt because you're not sure, zero. If you think you know but you actually don't know and you attempt and you get it wrong, you get minus one.
Okay, try it for yourself! Obedience is rewarded with blessings. True, false?
2. Number 2, obedience results in God's love for us? True or False?
3. Number 3 ... now, results in God's love for us, in the saving way, we are saying, "We want God to save us so we obey Him, so that He might now love us and save us."
Number 3: God only blesses us materially for obedience. True or False?
4. Number 4: Blessing in obedience is always immediate. True or False? God blesses also out of pure grace, True or False?
5. And lastly - God can give pain, even in obedience. True or False?
Got all your answers in? Let me mark your exam script. Number one, blessing is always rewarded with ... obedience is rewarded with blessings. Well, the answer is ...? True. Yes, the Bible affirms this over and over again.
Obedience results in God's love for us? False.
God loves us because He is love, and He has chosen to set His love upon us, it is never earned, we will never deserve it.
Number 3, but only blesses us materially for obedience. False. In med school, I have learned that whenever they use the word 'only' is usually wrong. So, false.
Blessing in obedience is always immediate? If you get the trick by now, you know it's false. Alright, it's not always immediate. It can be but to assume it must be would be a critical failure.
God blesses also out of pure grace. True. We don't deserve it, we mess it up, but God still bless! That's actually the story of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and me. Okay?
God can give pain even in obedience? True. Job did not sin but he suffered. Well, he's suffered physically, socially, mentally, emotionally, but ultimately he is blessed. We read that in a book of Job, as well and from the rest of Scripture.
So I hope you get all this correct, alright? You should have six marks maximum. Lowest score possible, minus six, but I trust most of you will have scored in a positive territory.
So to wrap up - Is there a correlation? I absolutely think there is!
- There is blessedness in obedience, even though we must not then think that God loves us as a result of our obedience.
- We must understand that the blessing is not always physical.
- We must understand that the blessing is not always immediate. - We must understand that the blessing can be given, even when we mess it up because of grace.
- And we can also suffer the flip side for God's glory.
In other words, yes, obedience is blessed! But linking obedience and blessing is not always easy.
Now, this is the theology, I hope ... I know it's complex, is never easy to articulate this clearly but I've tried my best. I hope it's useful for you, but not only do I want you to walk away with a theological understanding, I want you to be able to apply this to your life.
So let's think about how this theory, how these truths, how these principles will help you in your life? I think it's immensely helpful. Three things - I hope will be helpful for you as we ruminate about this reflection on blessing.
Principle 1: Walk In Obedience
Number one, I hope this will encourage you to walk in obedience.
You see when people think that there is no blessing in obedience, they lose steam, they lose motivation to obey. But I want to tell you over and over and over again, God says, "I want to bless you when you walk in obedience." Is not God saying, "I want to love you when you walk in obedience." The love is sure! But when we obey God, there is blessing, so I want to say, "lease walk in obedience!"
Now, we obey God not just because of rewards, not just because there is blessing, but because we know God's love and we love Him. That should be the number one motivation! That God in His mercy has seen it fit to also give us beautiful rewards to inspire us, to encourage us to obey.
So I say to you, "Obey God, because it will be well with you." Not always about money, not always about material things. It may not be seen tomorrow, immediately, but I guarantee you, because God says so, when you obey God it will be blessed.
You will be blessed, sometimes materially, I don't rule that out. I hope that that's not what you chase for in life, but God does bless materially, there are many passages that say that. Sometimes spiritually, emotionally. There are many ways God can bless you but there is blessing in obedience. So walk in obedience.
Walk in obedience because God loves you. Walk in obedience because God blesses obedience.
Principle 2: Examine Yourself
Number two, I hope you will examine yourself.
The Christian is not immune from trials and pains and afflictions. Whilst we may not always know why we go through trials and afflictions, just like Job was puzzled, just like Apostle Paul struggled with it for a while. It is always I think wise that when I go through hardships to immediately examine ... examine myself if there be any sin or rebellion in me.
Because I understand that obedience is blessed and sometimes the forfeiture of obedience, or forfeiture of blessing is because of my disobedience. So it is my responsibility if I should enter a trial to immediately say, "Lord, is it because I've sinned against You and you are trying to arrest my attention?"
I think that's wise! Now, I'm not suggesting that you go on a witch hunt in your life that you die-die must find something, even if you don't think there is really something. But it is a good practice, scriptural practice to examine ourselves, to confess our sins if there be any. So I think that's the practical thing, we can understand from our discussion so far. Because God may be chastising you and, and what He wants is for you to repent, to turn back to Him.
Principle 3: Not Judge God's Love For Us Based On Our Circumstance
And then maybe, thirdly, I want you to realize that we cannot judge God's love for us based on our circumstances.
Let me repeat that again, we cannot judge God's love for us based on our circumstances, because if you do you be very confused. I think Job must be very confused if he does not have the right theology. I think Paul will be very confused if he doesn't have the right theology.
The point is this: We can suffer even when God loves us. We can suffer even when we are walking in obedience because sometimes God uses sufferings for His glory, sometimes uses sufferings to grow us, even when we don't like it.
So today as Christians, let's learn never to judge God's love, based on circumstances around us, but based on the cross of Jesus Christ. Don't just think that God loves you because things are hunky dory today! Don't think that God does not love you because you're going through sickness!
But realize God's love for you is clearly demonstrated on the cross. "But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
So you see the people of Israel should not judge God's love for them based on the prosperity of Esau and the poverty of Israel, but they should judge God's love for them in the promise they can hold in their hands and in their hearts.
So as Christians we may go through suffering, we will be persecuted in this life, but in all these things, we must not doubt God's love, because the cross has proven the strong and unbreakable love of God. I hope these are the practical theologies you can take away in your life. So, that's a long discussion, but I hope it's a helpful one.
Finally, I'm out of the text now, alright, and out of Genesis 36, I want to say that. But I just want to end off because this is what I thought about. There's a reflection about believing in Jesus. Why do I say that? Well, I'm out of the text, like I said, I extricate myself looking at Genesis 36, I just want to ask this question: What will happen to the Edomites? What will happen to Esau's dynasty?
Well, we know from Biblical record that the dynasty or the people of Edom would last until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ and a little beyond that. They will exist during the times of Jesus as Idumeans. There are two famous Idumeans, you would know of - Herod the Great and Herod Antipas, his successor.
Herod the Great was an Idumean and you will know that he was that angry, wrathful despot who ordered the killing of all male babies below two years in Jerusalem. He was a vicious man. He wanted to kill all the baby boys because he heard that the King of the Jews was born in, sorry ... in Bethlehem. And he wanted to make sure that there will be no one who would oppose him for his kingship, or his rulership in Israel.
So, Herod the Great was an Idumeans an Edomite. You could say that he was also like Esau a successful man, who ultimately failed miserably with God because I think he's a successful man who ended up in hell.
What about Jacob? What about his descendants? Well, his descendants .... well, by the way, the Edomite's historical records go as far as AD70 and they disappeared from the face of the earth after the destruction of Jerusalem. No more Edomites that we know of!
But how about Israel, how about Jacob's people? As you will know by now, they persist until today. And in 1948, the nation of Israel was reformed as a Republic, as an independent nation. But more than that, there is one Supreme Descendant of Jacob, His Name is Jesus. He came into this world to give His life on the cross. He is a unique God-Man, the Son of God who came to be the Savior for your sins and my sins.
What an interesting comparison between Esau's line and Jacob's line! And if you're here today, I want to tell you that there is salvation found in Jacob's line. This line of Jacob is actually the line of Isaac, is actually the line of Abraham, the line of Adam. Because on that very day Adam and Eve sinned against God, God said in Genesis 3:15, "There will be a man, born of Eve who will crush the serpent's head."
That's Jesus! He will go to the cross and die and pay for our sins and defeat Satan, so that He might rescue His people back to God. This is our King! That is the real dynasty that ... that ... that is the real Kingdom you should be a part of, I pray today you would come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Thank you for going through Genesis 36 with me, I hope it's a blessing to your heart.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
Father, thank You again for this morning that we can pause and think about what we are building in our lives. To pause and to have a proper theology of, if I may say - blessing. Encouraged us today to be a people who will walk in obedience. A people who are regularly examine our heart and life, and to be a people who will never doubt Your love, as we fixate on that clear demonstration of love at the cross of Jesus Christ.
And I pray today for people to come to know Jesus. The Central Figure of the whole Bible, the Central Figure of whole human history, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. By Your Spirit, draw men and women to turn from sin and to believe in Him. We thank You and we pray all this in Jesus' Name. Amen. God bless.
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