So my fav pair of jeans have sprouted a hole just below the right knee. And though this is apparently standard for new jeans and totally cool and acceptable and worthy of my top dollar, it’s just not ok with me. Why it is cool to wear pants with holes in them – I will never understand. I don’t find it cool – I find it cold. My knee was freezing today. Which means in the sooner-than-I-really-want near future I have to go jeans shopping. (Ugh.)
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 36
Key Verse: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt” (Gen. 12:3, NLT).
Don’t get me wrong. I love shopping – just not for jeans. Staring at myself over and over again in so called skinny jeans, in a tiny dressing room, with mirrors positioned so I can simultaneously see my front and backside at the very same time, is just not my idea of a good time. Personally, I think whoever came up with the whole double mirror thing needs to be sent to the Island of Perpetual Tickling (thank you VeggieTales for the grand idea).
But on the flip side. Those mirrors don’t lie. They give it to me straight. (You will never ever ever ever wear these jeans in public Stacey – go get another pair). Which is what Genesis 36 does for us – it gives it to us straight. It’s a long list of names we know little about and sound sickly foreign trying to pronounce. But it’s enough. Enough to prove this stuff ain’t made up. Jacob and Esau were real people. They lived and had families. And their families had families.
From the vantage point of randomly opening my Bible and declaring today I will read Genesis 36 – it screams “tedious skip worthy chapter.” But from the vantage point of let’s dig a little deeper because all Scripture is God breathed and useful – it declares a certain raw truth. A give it to me straight kind of authenticity.
Esau’s descendants were called Edomites. Fitting since Edom means red and Esau was red and the stew was red. (Who knows maybe they even wore red.) They settled in the land of Seir (modern day Jordan). Originally occupied by the Horites but as Deut. 2:12 makes clear “the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place.”
Interestly enough in the middle of this little genealogy is a list of Horite chiefs and their sons (v. 20-30) who were overtaken by the Edomite tribes. The assimilation of another people group furthered the power and prestige of the Edomites who went from having chiefs to kings, “before any king reigned over the Israelites” (Gen. 36:31). While Israel was busy making bricks as slaves in Egypt – the Edomites were enjoying political and military success. (So not fair.)
Apparently Edom was the place to be. Except for one little problem – just as Esau was hostile to Jacob for so many years, so were his relatives hostile to Israel. Not a good thing since God promised Abraham and thus Abraham’s descendants, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt” (Gen. 12:3, NLT).
But the Edomites didn’t care about God’s word. When Moses needed to pass through with the people, the Edomites gave them a big fat NO. (Numbers 20) Then they opposed Israel’s first King (Saul). David and Solomon were able to subdue them for a time, until they rebelled against King Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20) and were successful against King Jehoram (2 Chr. 21). But the real kicker is when Judah was under attack by the Babylonians and were fleeing for their lives, the Edomites blocked the roads, captured them, and handed them over to the Babylonians. And then gloated about it.
It says so in the book of Obadiah. A book of the Bible dedicated just to them. How special! Except not really. Obadiah, while only 21 verses long (good luck finding it), is in the Bible for the specific purpose of prophesying the complete destruction of Edom for their violent behavior against Israel. Ps. 137:7 says they shouted, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”
Not surprisingly, God was furious with these people. “Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever” (Obadiah 10). Jeremiah also prophesied “Edom shall become a horror. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters” (Jer. 49:17). Hmmm, not exactly a place I want to be anymore.
In fact, Edom became the poster child for all Israel’s enemies. The name Edom is used in Isaiah 34 and Amos 9 and Malachi 1 to represent all the nations arrayed against God that will one day endure his unparalleled wrath. Ironically (or not so ironically if you believe in the sovereignty of God) King Herod of all people is historically recorded as a descendent of Esau. So the violence of Edom continued even into days of Christ, along with Esau’s hatred and resentment toward Jacob when you consider the ultimate son of Jacob was Christ the King, and the ultimate son of Esau was Herod the king.
Like his relatives Herod definitely enjoyed a season of power and prestige but it came to an end. Just as it will for anyone who defies God and his people. The LORD has promised, “The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Obadiah 18, NLT)
The grass may look greener on the other side. Those who defy Christianity may be living a life of power and prestige right now. But a day is coming when we will no longer be making bricks in Egypt but will reign with the King of Kings Jesus Christ. So hold on. It’s absolutely better to be on God’s side, to be one of His people. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). Or as the Amplified Bible (classic edition) says “a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!”
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” And in John 14:15 He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Based on these two Scriptures are you for Jesus or against him? Why or why not?
A day is coming when justice will be served to both the righteous and the unrighteous. Does that comfort you or make you nervous?
I encourage you today, if you have not already, to give your whole heart to Jesus and experience the confident and assuring peace that comes with bowing your knee to the Eternal King of Kings.
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