God Keeps His Promise (Gen 36)
36 lists the generations of Esau. From Genesis 37 onwards, the focus is
on Jacob and the events leading to the book of Exodus. Genesis 36
focuses not so much on the individuals but on them as a group as
descendants of Esau.
This chapter shows the fulfilment of God's promise to Esau in Genesis 27:39: “And
Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall
be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above.” In
the book of Obadiah, the prophet described how rich Edom had become.
God showed His common grace to all men both believers and unbelievers
alike. Esau was not a believer, but God prospered him and his
descendants. The lesson for us is not to be envious of the riches and
wealth of others, even that of the unbelievers. Even though Esau was
rich materially, he did not have the spiritual blessings Jacob enjoyed.
2. God’s promise reminded
When the children of God made their way from Egypt to the promised
land, they had to pass through Edom; and God reminded them that Edom
was given to Esau and they were not to touch them or their land (Num
20:14-24, Deut 2:2-6). Similarly, with Moab. God reminded them also not
to touch Moab because the land was given to the Moabites. The children
of God must make sure that they obey God. In the example of David, he
obeyed God and did not touch the Lord’s anointed. We must submit to how
God deals with the wicked. We must not overstep our boundaries even for
God’s truth and justice. We must fulfil our responsibilities the right
way, lest we fall into disobedience. Trust in God; and in His time and
will, He will deal accordingly with the wicked.
3. God’s promise contrasted
There is a contrast here between God's promise to Esau and that to Jacob. If God would keep His promise to an unbelieving people (like Esau and his descendants), how much more He will keep His promises to His people? Unlike the nation of Israel, the blessings we Gentile believers receive today are not material but spiritual; we have the grace, mercy, comfort and presence of God with us. When we see God's providence upon Joseph (how God protected him, led and guide him through his tribulations so as to provide a land for the children of Israel to grow into a great people), the material wealth of Esau pales in comparison.