[Today: Genesis 36] When God Blesses Your Enemy Away from You: In Genesis 36, we find the genealogy of the generations of Esau. Family trees in the Bible tend to be lengthy with many difficult to pronounce names, but taking the time to study them can be very fruitful. In this passage, we see how God acted to move Esau out of the promised land to make room for Jacob and his growing tribe.
At the end of the previous chapter Isaac dies at the age of 180, and Esau and Jacob come together to bury him. This chapter then turns to the rehearsal of the sons of Esau and what befell them over the years. In verse 1, Esau is called Edom. You will remember that Esau is not just the brother of Jacob but the twin brother, although they bore little resemblance to one another. The word Edom means “red.” This is attributed to Esau (Gen. 25:25) being born red of skin, and also because Esau forfeited his birthright over a mess of red pottage that Jacob prepared for him (See Gen. 25:30). Throughout scripture where Edom or the Edomites, are mentioned, this will refer to the descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau.
In verse two, there are mentioned two names for Esau’s wives, being Adah and Aholibamah. This is curious because Gen. 26:34 suggests two of Esau’s wives as being Judith, the daughter of Beeri and Bashemath, the daughter of Ishmael. The question would be, then did Esau have two wives or four, and why would only two be mentioned here in Genesis 36? Some claim that Esau did, in fact, has four wives, others suggest three, but still, other authorities point out the fact that wives in ancient times often had two names, suggesting that Bashemath and Ada are the same woman and that Judith and Aholibamah are likewise one and the same person. This is an example of some of the problematic language of the Bible and issues with translation and cultural context.
Esau’s firstborn is Eliphaz (v. 4). This is important to note because Eliphaz is one of Job’s comforters (Job 2:11). This then dates for us the time when Job lived and the approximate time when the book of the Bible bearing his name was written. Esau for us represents the character of a person who settles for second best rather than holding out for God’s highest and best plan for life, thus when enduring the trials of Job you will often find those who give you the cold comfort of an Eliphaz are those who don’t have the level of commitment to the things of God that you might have.
In verse 6, Esau gathers up his family and all his possessions and departs the land of Canaan to go into a far country. The increase of his family and goods was attained in Canaan, but in God’s plan, he was not to remain in Canaan because it is the land of promise reserved only for the brother who holds the birthright which is Jacob. There are going to be people in your life who may be close to you and may be blessed, but ultimately, the plan of God is for those persons to be far from you. This is not something we are to regret or to try to keep from happening. Remember Abraham and Lot in Gen. 13:5-11. The same thing we see happening between Esau and Jacob is the same thing that took place between Abraham and Lot.
[Gen 13:11 KJV] 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Keep in mind that Lot was never in the plan of God, to begin with. When God first told Abraham to go to Canaan in Gen. 12:1, the instruction was to leave everything behind, including family:
[Gen 12:1 KJV] 1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Why did Abraham choose to bring Lot against God’s instructions? Because Lot was an orphan, and Abraham had no son. It was because of emotional considerations. How many times do we allow emotional consideration to cause us to make compromised decisions in our walk with God to our own hurt? Likewise, in the case of Esau and Jacob. Esau had forfeited his part in the inheritance, but the two brothers had just reunited and had only recently buried their father, Isaac. The time came, however, as in the case of Lot that the land could not bear them both.
Have you ever felt crowded by family considerations or family relationships? Perhaps you are in a situation like Abraham or our current chapter, Jacob. You may find yourself hanging on to relationships and connections that God is telling you to sever, and if you don’t, only trouble will ensue. Here is the lesson we all must learn: hod everything loosely. Don’t cling to relations or relationships. Know that times change, situations change, and people who are close to you now may very well be taken from your life later on by God’s plan and design. No one likes to be alone. We all want to be surrounded by those we feel connected to. Learn the lesson of Abraham and Lot, and Jacob and Esau.
How did God move Esau out of the land that was promised only to Jacob? Verse seven tells us that their riches (Jacob and Esau’s) were more than they could handle and still dwell together. You can see then that God BLESSED Esau away from Jacob, just as he blessed Lot away from Abraham. When Lot moved on, it was after a time of strife with his uncle Abraham. Esau, though he was friendly with Jacob still represented a threat, and the time came that he had to leave. Are you willing for God to bless your enemies away from you? Remember what God told Abraham:
[Gen 12:3 KJV] 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
When the verse above says that in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed, that includes families that potentially or in fact could cause you problems in your walk with God. In Matt. 5 Jesus made the following statement:
[Mat 5:44 KJV] 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
How can you bless your enemies? Jesus was familiar with the story of Lot and Esau. You bless your enemies by blessing them away from you. It is inappropriate for you to expect God to wreak vengeance. To be sure if others curse you, they will be cursed, and that is what they bring upon themselves. Where you are concerned, you bless those who bring pressure into your life, but you bless them away from you and not close to you. Be willing to make the separation for your own best interest; otherwise, you are forsaking your own mercy.