Genesis 35:22-36:43

Central family, I want to invite you to open your Bibles with me to Genesis 35.  Genesis 35.  And we’re going to start in verse 22.  And if you’re a guest stepping in here for the first time, whether you’re in the room or catching us by video, welcome home.  We tackle every part of God’s word because we believe it has truth for life for us today and that includes probably the most difficult passage to preach through in all of the book of Genesis which is what we’re going to spend our time in this morning.  I just want to remind you the last time we were in Genesis, we came face to face with two deaths and we talked about how deaths, death often raises life-changing questions.  One of those life-changing questions we talked about last time was the question of the heart.  Where is my heart focused?  We also talked about the question of identity.  Where do I find my identity?  And we’re going to see a third death taking place at the end of Genesis 35 that raises a third life-changing question for us.  And here’s that question today.  It’s a question of life.  Why is life so hard?  Why is life so hard?  And what we’re going to see this morning is that we find the answer to that question in an unlikely passage here in the Bible beginning in Genesis 35, starting in verse 22.  Follow along with me to the end of the chapter for now.

            22While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine.  And Israel heard of it.  Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.  23The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.  24The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.  25The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant: Dan and Naphtali.  26The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant:  Gad and Asher.  These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.  27And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, or Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.  28Now the days of Isaac were 180 years.  29And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days.  And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

I’m curious just by show hands.  How many of you have ever gotten to visit Yosemite National Park in California?  Anybody else been out there?  Uh my my parents used to live out there in Northern California for a season.  So, we went a number of times and it’s one of the most breathtaking places you have ever been.  And right at the center of it is this mountain face called El Capitan.  It’s a 3,000’ high sheer sheet of granite.  It’s known as one of the most difficult climbing rocks in all of the world which is exactly why Alex Hannold had been dreaming about it for years.  He wanted to make a climb of that rock face, but a climb that was different than any other before.  You see, he wanted to climb El Capitan through a method of climbing called free soloing.  Have you ever heard of that before?  To free solo means you climb the rock face with no safety gear, no no ropes, no harness, nothing.  It’s just you and the rock.  That means if you succeed, you make it to the top.  If you fail, you end up all the way at the bottom.  There’s nothing in between.  He had trained for years.  And the moment that this happened in June of 2017, he had a team of videographers there to capture this climb.  And I’m going to show you a short clip of it in just a moment.  And as you watch him climb, you’ll notice, he’s got nothing with him.  He’s climbing this rock face.  You’re going to see all the majestic surrounding.  You’re going to see the intensity of the climb, the difficulty of the rock face, the strain of his struggles.  And as you watch that, it’s going to set the stage for what this passage is bringing to us this morning.  Let’s turn our attention to the screens now.

How many of you would ever give that one a shot, huh?  It just makes my palms sweat just looking at it.  I’m out on that one.  Although, I’m wondering like, could we do some of that background soundtrack while I’m preaching?  That had kind of a nice, that kind of builds things a little bit.  I like that.  But you see him there struggling.  And why do I show you that video this morning?  Did you notice the way that he was climbing and where he was climbing?  It gives us a visual picture of two different things I want you to think about as we step into this passage.  The first one is that we’re coming to a text that looks a lot like the sheer rock face that he was ascending.  In fact, I think we got a picture on the screen here of all the names that are coming in Genesis 36 right after this.  Uh with the genealogy, if we can show that up there, you can see the rock face that we’re about to climb.  It’s name after name after name that’s difficult to pronounce.  I can’t even fit them all on this screen.  This is a difficult part of Genesis to climb.  But more than that, there’s a second piece of what’s going on here.  When we see him attempting to climb this rock, can’t you see a bit of yourself in that picture?  And by that, I don’t mean you climbing 3,000’ above the ground with no rope.  I mean, living your daily life.  It’s this difficult climb.  This journey, it seems like there’s no place of stability, no direct path, no certainty you’re going to make it, no visibility into the finish line.  There’s nothing to grab on to.  You’re simply trying to white knuckle it through your own strength.  Why?  Because life is hard.  And why is life hard?  Well, Genesis 35 and 36 is going to show us that the reason life is hard is because life is war.  You and I are caught in the middle of a battle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness.  We’ve been called to the front lines through the Gospel.  And life is hard because we are at war.  And we see that war unfolding in the most unlikely of places through the death of Isaac and the genealogy of Esau.  And this genealogy we’re about to read is unlike any other in Genesis because virtually all the other ones tell us the family line of the coming Messiah, the one who was promised in Genesis 3:15.  That God would raise up a seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent.  And it’s showing us how God is faithful to that promise.  But this one, this genealogy, it doesn’t mark the line of the Savior, it shows us the line of the serpent.  The enemies who are at war with us.  The passion and the pain within us that wage war.  The enemy that swirls all around us seeking to lead us astray and here’s what we’re going to see this morning.  When we look through this passage, we’re going to find that the reason that life is hard is because we face a war within us and we face a war around us.

So, let’s start with the first one of those.  We see at the end of Chapter 35 that all of us face lives that are hard because we are encountering a war within us.  So, think about what’s happening here.  We see all throughout Genesis a war unfolding.  Beginning all the way back in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve turn away from God’s design.  Their sinful desires cause them to take forbidden fruit, that forbidden fruit takes them, and from that point forward the world is broken and fractured, pain and illicit desire come into our lives.  There’s a battle within that seeks us to lead us astray from what God is calling us to be.  And we find two ways that that shows up here in Genesis 35 that cause a war within back then and can cause a war within even today.  You’ll notice the first one in verse 22, we must face the war within that is caused by our temptations.  So, look at the temptation that Reuben faces here in verse 22 when it says,

            22While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine.  And Israel heard of it.

Now, this isn’t the first time that someone has been drawn towards sin through sexual temptation.  In fact, just a chapter before this, we saw the way that Shechem did that with Dinah.  And now Reuben is doing the exact same thing with his father’s concubine.  There is a war going on in his heart that comes through temptation.  It comes through his passions.  It comes through sin in his life that leads him astray.  And James 4:1 helps us to see why that’s the case.  You’ll notice it on the screen.  Notice what James warns us about many years later.  He says,

            1What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

And that’s what’s taking place in Ruben’s life.  You see, he’s not just trying to take his father’s pleasure.  He’s trying to take his father’s position.  When he conquers this woman, he’s seeking to take his father’s role by conquering him, by becoming the alpha male in the family.  There is a war of passions that is going on.  And it looks like if all you see is right here in Genesis 35, it seems as if he’s gotten away with it.  It tells us in verse 22 that that Jacob learns that it happens but nothing takes place in response.  It just moves on to this short genealogy of all of Jacob’s sons.  It’s as if this is no big deal.  But yet what we find later on in Genesis 49 is that his pursuit of short-term pleasure ends up costing him in the long run.  What we need to realize is that when we chase pleasure through forbidden fruit, it can cost us everything.  What we gain in the moment, we lose for eternity.  Notice the way that when in in Genesis 49, starting in verse 3, Jacob is speaking a word of blessing over each of his children.  And when he gets to Reuben, notice the way that it speaks about this moment in Genesis 35 as why it is that Reuben has lost the birthright and the blessing.  In Genesis 49:3, it says,

            3“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.  But get this.  4Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, why? because you went up to your father’s bed;  then you defiled it – he went up to my couch!

The blessing’s gone.  And the blessing is gone because he lost the war with his temptation.  He gave in to the passions and the desires.  And in that way, he was imaging his uncle Esau.  Remember, Esau lost his blessing because he, he wanted a pot of stew.  Now, Reuben loses the blessings because he wanted a woman who wasn’t his.  And at the root of each of those, there is the same reality that our desires and our passions are at war within us.  And even if we don’t face the consequences in the moment, there’s accountability coming.  There’s judgement coming.  And through that, there’s a call for us to stand firm in the war within.  But that’s not the only front that we face in the war within us.  It’s not just based on our temptations.  That war within us is also caused by our trials.  So, what kind of trials do we see Jacob facing here?  Look back at verse 29 where it says to us,

            29And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days.  And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

So, why do we see deep pain in Jacob’s life in this moment?  Not just because he lost his first-born son through disobedience, but now, he’s lost his father through death.  And there are few things in life that cut us to the core like losing a dad.  I know there are people in this room who have lost your father in the last few years and I’ve heard you tell me stories about even now you wish you were over it but it’s still overwhelmed you week in and week out.  We feel this.  And even though we see here in the passage this sign of reconciliation has continued between Jacob and Esau as they bury their father together.  The focus is not on the healing that is taking place there but the pain that comes through the loss of a son and a father.  And these realities remind us of the fact that when we want to walk the difficult road of life in a broken world, one of the deepest challenges we face in the war within us is the pain in the wounds and the hardship and the suffering that we experience.  It comes at us relentlessly.  And what that means for us this morning, Central Family, is we step into this Thanksgiving week is that this passage has everything to do with how we are to face that war within us this Thanksgiving week.  So, what do I mean by that?  I imagine there are some of you in this room right now who find yourself in a similar spot is Reuben.  Those temptations, desires, passions have have grown in your heart and drawn you into sin where you’ve walked away from God’s design through forbidden fruit and you are now enslaved to an enemy within.  You now feel that heaping guilt and shame upon you, that you stand condemned before God.  You wonder if anything’s going to change.  For others of you, it’s not about the passion, it’s about the pain.  And maybe this morning you’re feeling pain in exactly the ways that Jacob was encountering in here.  Because Jacob experiences two of the deepest wounds we can ever face; The pain that comes from a prodigal, and the pain that comes from a burial.  Now think about it, this prodigal, this son, Reuben, his first born, the one who is going to get it all.  If he would just resist the temptation and wait for God’s blessing to come in this time.  He turns away.  But this prodigal doesn’t go to a far country, he goes to a nearby couch.  He pursues that pleasure in a way that cost him everything and he rips his father’s heart out in the process.  I know many of you are preparing for Thanksgiving meals this week and you are wondering if you should set out an extra place setting for that prodigal that hasn’t been back in years.  I remember sitting across the table from one of our amazing legacy adult couples just earlier this month in tears.  Wondering, how long oh Lord?  Will he ever come back?  Could we have done anything different?  How did we mess this up?  Are other kids turned out great?  What happened to him?  There is a pain, an emptiness that having a prodigal can produce in our hearts.  It wages war on our soul.  But then others of you aren’t wondering if you should put out that extra place set, hoping the prodigal comes home, you’re realizing you don’t need as many place sets as you used to because the Lord has taken somebody close to you in your life home.  This is going to be your first Thanksgiving without him.  It’s not going to be the same with those table conversations and the way he laughs and the way he always gets in the couch and turns on the Cowboys game and it’s out in 5 minutes.  You you’ve got memories etched into your mind and there’s that sense of loss, that sense of pain.  And both through that pull of our passions and through the pull of our pain, this world is at war within us.  And the hope that we have during this holiday season is to find that deliverance from the war within us, not just by trying to be a bit stronger on our own.  Instead, it is to rely on the one who is our help in the midst of temptation and our hope in the midst of trial.  And that we see that a glimpse of it pictured right here because Reuben, he gives up his inheritance.  He gives up his birthright through this sin following right on the heels of his two younger brothers, Simeon and Levi who have already squandered it in Genesis 34 through their retribution in response to what had happened to their sister Dinah.  And so what do we have here?  The first three sons of Jacob, the ones in line to receive the inheritance and the blessing have all walked away from it because they failed to successfully fight the war within.  But what we see here is the beginning of a transition to where now that blessing, that inheritance, that covenant passes on to Judah.  The fourth born.  The one who receives the promise.  And the way that we stand in the middle of the pain and the passions, in the middle of the suffering and the sin is that we’re looking to that offspring of Jacob, that seed of the woman, that lion of the tribe of Judah, who can stand for us even when we can’t stand ourselves.  He’s our help.  He’s our hope.  He’s our path to victory against the war within us.

But let’s pick up now in Genesis 36.  We see a second dimension here.  It’s not just about the war within us.  Our life is also hard because there is a war around us.  So, we think about El Capitan and that video that you saw there, we’re about to start climbing the most difficult part of the climb.  But before we get there, I was really surprised this week to see a story come out about a pest control company in North Carolina.  It’s not very common that an exterminator makes national headlines.  But the reason they did is because normally you pay the exterminator to come eliminate the bugs in your home, but this company in North Carolina was offering people the chance to sign up and if you were selected, they would actually pay you $2,500.  Now, why would they want to do that?  Well, they needed to test some new pest control solutions that that they wanted to see how well they worked.  And so, they would give you $2,500 dollars if you would be a willing to allow them to infest your house with cockroaches for 30 days.  You up for that, anybody?  You’re like, I’d rather free solo El Capitan than than than go for that, right?  I mean, I’m out on that one.  Like, why would you willingly allow that?  To have your home infested by this this dangerous and and disturbing insect.  It seems so sudden and overwhelming.  You can’t imagine life having to be surrounded by that for generations.  And yet, what we find in Genesis 36 is a different type of invasion.  One that is much more dangerous and significant.  Wave after wave, generation after generation being described here of the line of the serpent who is coming to wage war on the line of the Savior.  Who’s coming to wage war in our own lives.  It’s a war that’s taking place around us.  And as we see this family line of Esau recounted, we’re getting a glimpse into how our enemy is still at work today.  And I want you to notice four things about that reality.  The first one in verses 1 through 8 is that Genesis 36 presents a fulfillment, a fulfillment.  So, follow along with me.

            1These are the generations of Esau (that is, Edom).  2Esau took his wives from the Canaanites:  Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, 3and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth.  4And Adah bore to Esau, Eliphaz; Basemath bore Reuel; 5and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.  These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.  6Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, his livestock, all his beasts, and all his property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan.  He went into a land away from his brother Jacob.  7For their possessions were too great for them to dwell together.  The land of their sojournings could not support them because of their livestock.  8So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir. (Esau is Edom.)

So what do we find here?  In verses 1 through 8, we see a fulfillment and it’s a fulfillment of a blessing.  So even though Jacob had stolen Esau’s blessing from his blinded father, Isaac, in Genesis 27, God still gives Esau a blessing to be fruitful and multiply and we see that playing out here.  The fulfillment of that through his people, his possessions, and his place.  So, look at verse 1, we see it talking about that people when it says, these are the generations of Esau.  That’s that word Toladot.  We’ve talked about in the past in Genesis signaling God’s blessing on His people.  What about possessions?  Well, you see there in verses 6 and 7, how great their possessions are.  Jacob and Esau have so much stuff they can’t even live together.  They’ve got to spread out just like Abraham did with Lot back in Genesis 13.  And then there is the promise of a place.  You’ll notice down in verse 8, that place is Seir.  This hill country that’s to the east of the promised land.  They now have their own place to live.  But notice, we see that that even though there’s a blessing, it is outside of the covenant of God.  In part, we can see that because the land that they’ve inherited is outside the promised land that God has committed to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

So, we notice here first, the fulfillment.  But there’s a second thing starting down in verse 9.  Genesis 36 also presents a foe, an enemy, someone who stands against the people of God and here’s how it goes on.  Verse 9 says,

            9These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.  10These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Basemath the wife of Esau.  11The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.  12(Timna was a concubine from Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.)  These are the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife.  13These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.  These are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife.  14These are the sons of Oholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.  15These are the chiefs of the sons of Esau.  The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: the chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the chiefs of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Adah.  17These are the sons of Reuel, Esau’s son: the chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, Mizzah; these are the chiefs of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife.  18These are the sons of Oholibamah, Esau’s wife: the chiefs Jeush, Jalam, and Korah; these are the chiefs born of Oholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife.  19These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs.

So, in a way, this this genealogy feels almost like a text wall that your grandparents send you this Thanksgiving.  You’re trying to decipher like, what does this mean?  What is it significance?  How do I make sense of all of these things that are here.  But at the core of what you find in this passage is a foe, is an enemy.  As I said, it’s tracing not the line of the Savior but the line of the serpent.  The ones who will stand against the plan and the people and the place and the kingdom of God.  And it’s showing us one distinct branch of this family tree.  And if you’ll notice in the middle of verse 8, look at how it describes, or verse 9, look at how it describes Esau.  It calls him the father of the Edomites.  And this father shapes his family in the same way that Esau turned away from God and ran after his appetites to forbidden fruit.  He gave up everything to fulfill his own desires.  That pattern exist over and over again in his family.  And as you read through these difficult to pronounce names, that maybe your pastor’s been practicing for months before he gets in here, there’s one that might stand out to you in verse 12.  Look back.  It’s the name Amalek.  I want you to see on the screen a visual representation of this part of the family tree of Esau that that culminates in Amalek.  Let’s show that first one up there.  You can see the way that Esau has four wives.  And you can follow down through that center line.  And in the bowl there is the name Amalek and the Amalekites and right below that you’ll see the name Agag, king of the Amalekites.  And who is Amalek?  He was one of the tribal kings who led the Amalekites who were often a thorn in the side of Jacob and Israel’s people.  And you’ll notice that name there on the screen, Agag.  Do you see it?  He was the king of the Amalekites at that time in 1 Samuel 15 when God had raised up King Saul to lead his people.  And He calls Saul to devote the Amalekites to destruction in 1 Samuel 15.  And they go in and they defeat the army, they kill the men.  But rather than fully obey God’s command, instead, Saul leads the people to keep some of their most prized possessions.  To keep some of the women and children for themselves.  And that failure against that foe is what caused Saul the kingdom.  God removes him as king.  And he puts faithful David in his place.  What we find later on in the story of David is that David succeeds where Saul fails.  He goes and wages war on these foes.  He brings them into submission and to judgement.  He fully destroys the enemy in the way that Saul never did.  And let me pause here long enough to say that as we talk about the war around us, every one of us is going to choose to face that spiritual enemy either like Saul or like David.  So, what do I mean?  Well, see, Saul, Saul looked at God’s command to destroy the enemy and he took it as a suggestion rather than a directive.  He did it up to the point that he was comfortable with and no further and he stopped whenever he thought that the benefit of not following through outweighed the consequences of following through.  In other words, he managed the enemy rather than destroyed him and David takes a different path.  David is the man after God’s own heart.  He faithfully pursues God’s design.  He fully defeats the enemy.  He does not just what Saul does, he wipes them out.  And you and I face that same choice when we’re striving against sin, temptation, the world around us, the spiritual forces seeking to deceive us.  Are we going to manage our sin or are we going to destroy it?  Are we going to put our sin behind closed doors?  Are we going to put it to death?  We face a foe and we must choose which way we will live.

Now, back to Genesis 36.  Let’s keep going.  There’s a third thing here in the middle of the passage.  Genesis 36 also presents a failure.  Let’s see that failure start to unfold beginning in verse 20.

            20These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the chiefs of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom.  22The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna.  23These are the sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, Onam.  24These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah; he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness, as he pastured the donkeys of Zibeon his father.

Just on a side note, I think that’s hilarious that it points out that he found the hot spring.  Like, why is that in there?  Of all the things that you could mention, but let’s keep going.  Verse 25,

                25These are the children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah.  26These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran.  27These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.  28These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.  29These are the chiefs of the Horites: the chiefs Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the chiefs of the Horites, chief by chief in the land of Seir.

So, how do we see failure in this part of the passage?  Well, you’ve got generation after generation after generation and each one of them has the chance to turn things around to stop the rebellion, and respond in repentance, to abandon the way of their father, Esau, in order to pursue the way of their father God.  And yet over and over again, they fail, they fall short, they turn away, and that failure, that rebellion against God shows up again and again in a war against the people of God.  It happens before King David comes along.  It happens after King David comes along.  And what you not realize, it even takes place up until the time of the birth of Jesus Himself.  So, get this.  This is incredible.  Here we are about to step into this Christmas season, and do you remember who the ruler of that region was when Jesus was born?  It was King Herod.  And what did Herod do?  In order to prevent the coming of the Messiah, he he called for the murder of all the children of the Jews who were under 2 years old.  Now, why do I draw your attention to that?  Well, guess what?  Do you know what tribe Herod was from?  The Edomites.  These same people that warred against God, these same people that failed to repent, who continued in rebellion, that cascades all the way to the coming of Jesus Christ.  Who is the one that finally brings the victory over those spiritual enemies that the people of God in Israel could never achieve.

Which takes us to the last part of this passage and I don’t want you to miss it here.  Starting in verse 31, the fourth thing that we’ll notice here is that Genesis 36 presents a future, a future for Edom and a future for us.  So, let’s notice what it says here.  Verse 31,

            31These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites.  32Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, the name of his city being Dinhabah.  33Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place.  34Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place.  35Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, reigned in his place, the name of his city being Avith.  36Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his place.  37Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates reigned in his place.  38Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his place.  39Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his place, the name of his city being Pau; his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab.  40These are the names of the chiefs of Esau, according to their clans and their dwelling places, by their names: the chiefs Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43Magdiel, and Iram; these are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of Edom), according to their dwelling places in the lord of their possession.

Thank you, Jesus.  I made it through the names.  A future.  There’s a future right here in this passage.  A future that plays out for Esau.  You’ll see it reflected on the screen.  One more picture of these family trees.  It lists all the chiefs of Edom that are recited here.  And you’ll notice here in this portion, it lays them all out, all the way down the line.  It keeps going and going and going and every one of them follows the path of their father, Esau.  And Esau’s rebellion ultimately leads to Edom’s rejection.  And over and over again, in the prophets of the Old Testament, there is a word of judgement spoken over the nations that are wicked including that of Edom.  But perhaps where it is most focus is in the book of Obadiah.  In the majority of Obadiah is a judgement against the Edomites.  So, for example, you’ll notice in Obadiah 1:10, the way that it speaks about this prophecy of future judgment against Edom when it says,

            10Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.

So, there’s this word of future judgment.  But just a little bit later in Obadiah chapter 1, verse 21, there is this word of future, hope, and promise.  Notice what it says.  Obadiah 21 says,

            21Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

So, what is this promise?  It is a promise of a future Savior, the promise of a future victory.  The promise of a future kingdom.  And one that will come as Mount Zion defeats Mount Esau.  As the seed of the woman crushes the head of the seed of the serpent.  As God brings the victory through His one and only Son.  And that future He provides gives a future for you and for me.  And the question that we need to be wrestling with this morning.  Is do we find ourselves right now in the line of Esau or in the line of Jesus?  Because Esau, if you find yourself there running after your sin, giving in to temptation, looking to yourself for deliverance, you have less hope than Alex Hannold did on those rocks.  You gotta try to climb that mountain on the way to God.  And one misstep leads to your spiritual death.  But the call of the Gospel to you and I this morning is to recognize and know that what we can’t do on our own God has done for us.  He has sent His Son as a Savior for you and me.  So that we can quit the attempts on our own.  Quit trying to white knuckle our way to God.  Quit trying to have our good outweigh our bad and finally just surrender.  Give it over to the King.  Invite Him into your heart.  And the promise of the Gospel is not that when you do that, life will no longer be hard.  The promise of the Gospel is that you have a Savior who will sustain you and keep you so that you can keep pressing on no matter what trials you’re facing today.

Let’s pray about that as we close at our time together this morning.

Father, even in these difficult passages, we see that You are sovereign, You are King, you are Lord of it all.  Lord, Your word tells us that apart from You, we can do nothing.  And so I pray that if this morning, there are people here that are trying to make their own way to You just like the people of Esau were in that day, Lord, that You would show them that that path is hopeless, that their judgment is sure, and that instead You’re calling them to a life of following Jesus.  And Lord, if there are those here that know You this morning, who are wrestling with the passions and the pain that so often wage war inside us, or they’re striving against the spiritual enemies all around us who are seeking to cause us not to live out God’s design for our life.  Lord, would You help us flourish?  Would You help us find freedom and victory not through our own discipline, not through our own willpower but through the blood of Your Son, by the power of Your Spirit, and by the grace with which You provide to each one of us.  And may we run the race with grateful hearts this Thanksgiving season because of all that Jesus has done for us.  And it’s in His name we pray.  Amen.

The beauty of the Gospel is we don’t just get to receive it, we get to respond to it.  In just a moment, we’re going to do that exactly by standing and singing.  We’ll have ministers here at the front and if you want to take a next step with Jesus, either follow Him in salvation or start the membership process here or just need someone to pray with.  However, God is leading you in this moment.  Let’s stand and respond as the Spirit moves.