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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 26 August 2013

The descendants of Esau (Genesis 36)

We may be surprised that Genesis contains genealogies connected to Esau. After all, he had despised his birthright and had never shown any interest in God. Yet the genealogies are included. Why? One answer is that they show that God ensured that the blessing given to Esau by Isaac was fulfilled (Gen. 27:39-40). He received many blessings connected to God’s common grace.

The lists of the generations of Esau remind us that God was in control and knew all the details of their lives. Although they did not think about God, he was aware of them. It was impossible to hide from him. God’s sovereignty and knowledge go together.

The lists also inform us that sometimes the people of the world seem to have more blessings than God’s people do, at least for a while. Esau married forty years before Jacob did and had several children. Yet Jacob was the one whose descendants God had promised to bless. Moreover Esau had obtained his territory while Jacob was living with Laban. Jacob had to learn to wait for God’s blessings to come, and this requirement is a common experience for believers.


Esau did not trace his blessings to God. Despite the Lord’s goodness to him in temporal things, they did not lead him to seek for any spiritual blessings. He should have accepted the fact that God had chosen his brother and rejoiced that spiritual deliverance would come through his brother’s line. But he did not, even although he knew what God had said about the matter. Esau’s judgement by God will be more severe than the judgement on those who will have heard nothing about God’s saving plans.

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