Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thursday, January 15th: Genesis 36-38, Romans 12

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 36-38, Romans 12

The primary purpose of Chapter 36 (genealogy of Esau) has already been realized. God would command the Israelites to destroy all the Canaanites except the descendants of Esau - so they had to know who they were.

That is not to say there is no value in this passage for us today.

We see here that, though Esau had no regard for spiritual things, he was a man of character. He had graciously received Jacob back upon his return from Haran, and when prosperity necessitated it, he moved away to allow Jacob to use the land (36:6-8). In fact, if God had elected one of the twins based on their likeability, He may very well have chosen Esau. But God's election is not based on our likeability or our works - and we see this in the example of Jacob and Esau.

We also see, that though Esau was not elected by God, he was still a recipient of common grace as seen by the prosperity he enjoyed in his lifetime.  However, worldly prosperity and power does not equal spiritual blessing, which is an excellent reminder for us in a culture that values power and money so highly.

Not only did this record protect the Edomites, it also was a record of God fulfilling His promise to Esau - giving him his own identity, nation, and history. God is faithful and can be trusted to keep His promises.

This record also showed that Jesus was not born through the family line of Esau. It was very important to keep track of all the genealogies to show which ones were included and excluded from the line of Jesus.

The record also shows us that everyone counts in God's eyes. Everyone is made in His image, and He cares for each of us.

What strikes me about Chapter 37 is the sovereignty of God.  God is so powerful that He can use our sin to accomplish His purposes. Who would have ever thought that God would use this horrid event to put Joseph in the position to save Israel from the famine to come, which led to the fulfilment of the 400 year enslavement prophecy, which led to the Exodus, which led to..... and on and on and on. The sovereignty of God is so amazing!

Chapter 38 we see some dirty laundry being aired.  And really, it underscores the need for God's people to be kept separate from the pagan cultures around them.  Judah (the son through whom the Messiah would be born!) married a Canaanite woman, had a pagan for his closest friend, and engaged what he thought was a cult prostitute.  Something drastic would have to be done, and the exile in Egypt was God's remedy.  They detested Hebrew shepherds and would refuse to intermarry with them - racial bigotry would help keep God's people pure.

This chapter also shows us, once again, that God is never limited by man's sinfulness to accomplish His plan.  Thankfully, it seems that this episode was what made Judah take stock of his life, as we see later on as the Joseph story continues.

Unfortunately, none of these people lived out Romans 12.  Thankfully, in Joseph's story, we're about to see the marks of a true believer.

 Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Genesis 39-40, Romans 13


Conrad said...

In chapter 36, we read about Esau's descendants and possessions. Esau was an extremely successful man by worldly standards. He had financial prosperity, he had wives that bore him sons and daughters, he had political power, he was the father of rulers, and he acquired many livestock and other animals while he stayed in Canaan. Unfortunately, he was too busy living for the world that he failed miserably where it counts the most. Living for God.

What stood out to me in the Romans passage was the use of gifts and using our gifts properly that God has blessed us with. Often we find ourselves in a situation where we have taken on too much, which can cause us to simply go through the actions of serving, but not doing so with a cheerful heart. We are asked to serve in the way that God has equipped us with, but we should also keep in mind that God has also equipped others with the same spiritual gifts. I found this to be reassuring knowing that God will provide other members to relieve us when needed, to continue on His good work!

Pamela said...

This verse was our theme at our school last year:
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

How easily we are swayed to the ways of the world... it is so easy to choose immediate gratification (Joseph's brothers being overcome with anger and jealousy, then selling Joseph in greed for money, Judah lusting for the Canaanite woman, sleeping with a prostitute) then to resist sinful urges to stay faithful to God. We need to pray for God's wisdom so that we may focus on holy things and not things that will lead to destruction.