Genesis 35
Genesis 37

Genesis 36

Genealogies. Ugh! Kinda like reading a phone book written in another language. Because of this, we tend to skip over them. Do they really matter? In their historical context, they were important social and legal documents regarding possessions, inheritances and boundaries. Additionally, they serve as an important reminder of God's faithfulness to the nation portion of the Abrahamic covenant and to the various families to whom the promise was made and through whom the Seed promise of the Messiah was to flow. Ultimately, they are there and important in keeping with the reminder of 2 Timothy 3:16. We do well not to skip ahead past the difficulties in gleaning truth, wisdom and insight from them (or any other difficult biblical passage or concept), rather, we should commit ourselves to whatever additional study and research might be necessary for us to not only understand them but to appreciate them and learn from them. There are several applications contained within Esau's genealogy. It chronicles a family of great size, possession and wealth, yet void of spiritual foundations. Esau and his descendants succeeded in this world but failed terribly in light of eternity, which points out two truths for us to be aware of in our lives. First, material prosperity does not equal spiritual prosperity. In verses 6-8, Moses writes about Esau’s relocation: "Then Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his goods which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land away from his brother Jacob. For their property had become too great for them to live together, and the land where they sojourned could not sustain them because of their livestock" Despite Esau's 's great wealth, the consequences of his spiritual weakness would have ramifications for generations to come. The family of Esau would become the nation know as Edom and would be a thorn in Israel's side as Israel sought to take hold of and live out the Abrahamic promise. Despite Esau's great wealth, his epitaph is a sad one... "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done." (Heb 12:15-17) Second, Esau's failed spiritual headship impacted generations to follow. Esau's marriages produced five sons. Esau’s kids were born leaders—talented and strong; a few even identified as kings. Yet, there is no indication that Esau raised them to know the Lord. In this chapter, there are 81 names listed, yet only two names hint at a belief in the true God: “Reuel” Esau’s son by Basemath, means “friend of God”; and “Jeush”, Oholibamah’s son, means “the Lord helps.” Esau was a successful man whose sons and grandsons after him were successful men, by worldly standards. But they all failed at what matters most because they left God out of their lives. The most important thing we can impart to our kids is not how to be a worldly success. It’s easy to encourage our children to succeed in the wrong ways. They may make the soccer or basketball team or be the homecoming queen. They may score well on the SAT and go to the best colleges and get the best paying jobs. But if they fail with God, all that stuff doesn’t matter. We need to instill in our children what it means to succeed with God. We must encourage our kids spiritually. Do our kids enjoy attending church? Are they involved in youth or GROW group? Do they have personal devotions? Are they observing us, as parents, setting an example before them as we do these things? Spiritual legacies are caught, not taught. "Do as I say and not as I do" is a recipe for spiritual disaster. As we lead and observe our children in their pursuit of God, let's show them how proud of them we are. Let's encourage them and inspire them toward spiritual desires; support them in every way we can with their spiritual endeavors; and look for creative ways that we can stimulate them to love and good deeds (Heb 10:25); for, "What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" (Mark 8:36) Within Esau's genealogy is the reminder that if we succeed by worldly standards but fail with God, we have failed where it really matters. Whether we fail or succeed by worldly standards, if we succeed with God, we will have true and lasting success. Every day we live, the choices we make, the things we say, and the actions we take impact those around us (one way or the other). How we conduct ourselves in our marriage, with our children, in our work, and in the community is incredibly important and God wants to use our lives as the means by which He draws lost and hurting people to salvation. We are leaving a legacy for those who will follow in our steps (Prov 20:7). Let's live our life with eternity in mind (Eph 5:15-16).
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