A Promise Kept

Whitney Capps

Day: 36 | Plan: Genesis

Today's Reading: Genesis 36

Genesis 36:8 (NIV) "So Esau (that is, Edom) settled in the hill country of Seir.”

Today we read more than 30 verses cataloging Esau’s descendants, the rulers of a place called Seir. It’s easy to wonder why on earth God included these kinds of mundane details among the most important words ever communicated to mankind.

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us all Scripture is useful for us; it teaches or trains us. This must include genealogies! However, often, to find the value of one passage, we have to look at how this passage would have been received by those for whom it was written and how it connects with the rest of Scripture.

Genesis 36 outlines in detail God’s great grace toward the impulsive, rebellious Esau. Over the course of his life Esau made willful, selfish and hasty decisions that showed a disregard for God’s wisdom and God’s ways. While Jacob deceitfully stole his blessing don’t miss the fact that Esau gladly traded his birthright asking, “What good is the birthright to me?” (Genesis 25:32). He was also rebellious in choosing a wife from among the pagan Canaanites rather than from his own people.

Earlier, God had made Esau a promise-inheritance and blessing in the land of Seir. This passage proves God kept His word. Esau had been habitually unfaithful. God is consistently faithful and that faithfulness would extend for years to come.

Many generations later, God tells Moses in Deuteronomy 2:2-5 that the Israelites must not engage the Edomites (Esau’s descendants) in war. They would not be one of the nations Israel would overthrow as a part of the Promised Land inheritance. 

Moses is writing Genesis and Deuteronomy for Israel. So when God’s command was given not to provoke Seir, they would have remembered God’s promise to Esau. 

Yes, this genealogy tells us something so sweet about our God. Amidst what might seem like irrelevant, monotonous detail, we see God’s unwavering faithfulness—not to us, but to His Word. Like Esau, even when we are unfaithful, He is faithful. His faithfulness isn’t based on us; it’s rooted in Him—His character, His Word, His unchanging nature. And His goodness always advances His will and elevates His glory.

Prayer: Father God, You are amazingly faithful. Sometimes I forget that Your goodness to me is not the result of my works. Similarly, I often forget that I can’t forfeit Your promises to me because of my failures. Help me remember that You are good, and You act according to Your will and pleasure. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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More Moments:

Esau made decisions that demonstrated his heart of rebellion toward God and His instructions.... Read More

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