Meditation: Genesis 36

Reading: Genesis 36:1-8

Genesis 35:29 says that Esau and Jacob buried Isaac. It seems the brothers have peace. Esau decides to move to “a country away from the presence of his brother Jacob” (vs 6). This was guided by the secret providence of God. Esau did not want to serve the Lord. Furthermore God has chosen Jacob’s family to build his church.  In order to avoid conflict and danger for the church God ensured that Jacob and Esau’s families did not share the Promised Land.


By faith we learn that in so called accidental circumstances, and in people’s decisions, the secret providence of God guides all events to a result already determined by Himself. This is very comforting. Often the actions of men around us are not pleasing to God, or indeed very evil. That can make us fearful; or we can be like Lot “who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (2 Peter 2:7-8). We are comforted that even in these situations God will direct things for His own sovereign purposes.


Esau moves to Seir and becomes the father of the Edomites. God is faithful to His promises to Rebecca about Jacob and Esau: “Two nations are in your womb” (Genesis 25:23).


Later there will be clashes between the two nations. Numbers 20:18 “Then Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.” 2 Chronicles 28:17 “the Edomites had come, attacked Judah, and carried away captives”. The Israelites and Edomites were brothers, as Moses says in Numbers 20:14. The enmity of the Edomites towards their brother was totally unjustified. When Esau reject God his decision has terrible consequences for many generations, even an entire nation.


Key text: Genesis 36:6b Esau “went to a country away from the presence of his brother Jacob.”


Question: Esau’s decision to reject God is very wicked. However, God still provides for him, indeed so much that even a nation (Edomites) grows from his family. Why does God care for Esau like this?