Loyal, Strong, and Faithful

(Genesis 39:1-23)



“Here are ten ways you can tell it’s going to be a rotten day:

  • You start brushing your teeth with muscle relaxant cream.

  • You see the 60 Minutes news team in your office.

  • You realize the hair spray you just used was really your new can of hair-removal spray.

  • You turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.

  • You come out to find your car parked right where you left it, but there are no tires on it.

  • Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.

  • Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.

  • Your income tax refund check bounces.

  • You get passed on your morning jog by a little old lady with a cane.

  • You look down to see you have on one black shoe and one brown shoe and you remember seeing another pair just like them in your closet before you left home.


[Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 321].



  • ME

    • Loyalty

        • I worked for Child Evangelism Fellowship for ten years

        • I probably would have worked their longer, but I got laid off

        • I was very loyal to that ministry and I am grateful for everything the Lord taught me through ministering with them

    • Strength

        • The Lord has been developing this character quality in my life

        • I wasn’t always strong, especially when it came to certain things

        • I had to have accountability in order to overcome a weakness

    • Faithfulness

        • Through all of the difficulties in my life, I have remained faithful to the Lord

        • I know He is the One who will carry me through

        • He will never leave me or forsake me, so I can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper!” (Heb. 13:5-6)


  • WE

    • How many of us have been loyal (brand, employer, person, team, school, etc.)?

    • All of us are strong in certain areas and weak in others. ​​ How has God developed strength in us?

    • When we experience hardship and difficulties, have we remained faithful to the Lord?


Joseph experienced the Lord being with him and enabling him to prosper and be successful in everything he did. ​​ Because he knew God and His character, Joseph was able to remain loyal to his master, strong in the face of temptation, and faithful to Him when things appeared bleak. ​​ Joseph is a great example and model of how . . .


BIG IDEA – Our character should reflect loyalty, strength, and faithfulness. [Gangel & Bramer, 326]


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 39:1-23)

    • Loyalty (vv. 1-6a)

        • The narrator reminds us of what happened to Joseph

          • He was sold to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar one of Pharaoh’s officials who was captain of the guard

          • It is close to what the narrator said in Genesis 37:36

          • There was this little vignette about Judah, sandwiched in between

          • Now the narrator is ready to continue the Joseph story

        • The Lord was with Joseph

          • This statement is also found in verses 3, 21, and 23

            • I am certain that Joseph already knew the Lord was with him, because He had rescued him from his blood thirsty brothers

            • The same is true of us as followers of Jesus Christ

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – The Lord is always with us.

              • Biblical background

                • Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. ​​ I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

                • Deuteronomy 31:6, Be strong and courageous. ​​ Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

                • Matthew 28:20, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

                • Hebrews 13:5b-6, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

              • The Lord is always with you

                • When you are feeling alone, anxious, and depressed – the Lord is with you

                • When you are feeling angry and frustrated about a relationship – the Lord is with you

                • When you are struggling with finances and wondering where the money is going to come from – the Lord is with you

                • When you are scared about the future – the Lord is with you

                • When you don’t know or understand what is happening to you physically – the Lord is with you

                • In every circumstance that you face, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you can have confidence that the Lord is with you

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the truth from God’s Word that the Lord is always with me.

            • Some pretty amazing things happened for Joseph as a result of the Lord being with him

          • What happened because the Lord was with Joseph

            • He prospered

            • The Lord gave him success in everything he did

            • He got promoted

            • Caution!

              • I want to caution us today that what happened with Joseph is not universal for all people at all times

              • God was accomplishing his perfect plan and purpose through Joseph

              • He was going to use Joseph in Pharaoh’s household in order to save the Egyptians, other nations, and even Joseph’s family

              • The Lord is always with us, but that does not mean we will always prosper, be successful, or get promoted

              • He is with us even when we are struggling and having difficulties

          • It is amazing that Potiphar recognized that the Lord was with Joseph

        • Potiphar’s recognition of the Lord being with Joseph

          • When Potiphar recognized that the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in everything he did, he promoted him to his personal attendant – second in command in his household

          • Potiphar’s smart move of placing Joseph in charge of everything paid off

            • The Lord blessed his household

            • The Lord’s blessing wasn’t reserved for just part of Potiphar’s holdings, it was for all of his holdings, both in the house and in the field

            • “In the house and in the field” is a merism to explain everything (it is two contrasting parts of the whole that refer to the whole)

          • It was because of Joseph that Potiphar’s household was blessed

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God keeps His promises!

              • Genesis 12:2-3, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. ​​ I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

              • Genesis 22:17-18, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. ​​ Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

              • Genesis 30:27, 30b, But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. ​​ I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.”… The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I have been.

              • As part of the line of Abraham, Joseph’s presence, in Potiphar’s household enabled his household to be blessed

              • God still keeps his promises today, so we can trust Him no matter what

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Thank God for keeping His promises.

          • Potiphar left everything in Joseph’s care and didn’t worry about anything, except what he was going to eat

        • Joseph showed incredible loyalty to Potiphar as he handled all of his affairs

        • In our work environment and volunteer positions, we should also reflect the character quality of loyalty

        • Joseph’s loyalty would also be coupled with his strength in resisting temptation

    • Strength (vv. 6b-19)

        • Joseph was a good looking guy (some scholars believe he got this attribute from his mother – Gen. 29:17, …but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful)

        • Potiphar’s wife’s proposition

          • Potiphar’s wife noticed that Joseph was muscular and handsome

          • I used to be the same way – most of us were in our 20’s

          • She asked him to come to bed with her – she wanted to be intimate with him

        • Joseph’s refusal

          • Joseph gives her three great reasons why he can’t do what she has asked

            • Proper view of responsibility [Gangel & Bramer, 322] – breaking trust – Potiphar had entrusted everything to Joseph, except his wife

            • Proper view of marriage [Gangel & Bramer, 322] – violation of marital rights – Potiphar was her husband and therefore he had the marital rights to intimacy, not Joseph

            • Proper view of sin [Gangel & Bramer, 322] – falling short of God’s expectation – adultery is a sin

          • Joseph’s refusal did not stop her

        • Potiphar’s wife’s persistence

          • She asked him the same question every day

          • Her persistence does not pay off like she had hoped, because Joseph doesn’t even want to be with her or be around her

          • So, she probably sets the stage for her next attempt

            • It is likely that she released the other household servants or told them to leave the house

            • With the house empty, surely she will be able to seduce Joseph into being intimate with her

          • She doesn’t just ask Joseph to come to bed with her, but grabs him by his cloak

          • Perhaps she is directing him towards her bed or a couch

          • Proverbs warns young men about a wayward wife and her temptations (Read Proverbs 6:20-35 and Proverbs 7:10-20)

        • Joseph’s flight

          • Joseph knew exactly what to do, because he had probably determined, in advance, what action he would take if something like this happened

          • Joseph left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – “Our ability to overcome temptation depends more on character than on circumstances.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 326]

            • “Temptation is not a part-time experience of the believer. ​​ Calvin commented, ‘Holy Joseph, therefore, must have been endowed with extraordinary power of the Spirit, seeing that he stood invincible to the last, against all the allurements of the impious woman.’” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 734-35]

            • 2 Timothy 2:22, Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

            • Galatians 5:24, Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

            • Joseph knew not to put himself in a position to be tempted – he didn’t even want to be around her – and he knew that if the advances progressed, he would flee

            • This showed Joseph’s character of strength in resisting temptation

            • Our character should reflect strength in resisting temptation

              • There are all kinds of temptations bombarding us today

                • Adultery and affairs (physical & emotional), pornography, premarital sex, same-sex attraction, etc.

                • Addictions (smoking, vaping, drugs, alcohol)

                • Overspending, oversharing, overeating, etc.

              • Success in resisting temptation comes when we have a plan in place before the temptation comes

                • What will I do when sexual temptation comes? ​​ (flee, put protective software on all of my devices, not be alone with my boyfriend or girlfriend, etc.)

                • What is my plan when confronted with smoking, vaping, drugs, and alcohol? ​​ (flee, say no, don’t attend certain parties, etc.)

                • How will I avoid overspending, oversharing, and overeating? ​​ (don’t go shopping or work with a budget, hold my tongue, walk away from the ​​ table, only prepare a regular portion, or don’t buy certain foods)

                • When we plan ahead for any temptation, then we will be guided by our character instead of the circumstances

                • “Self-control is an important factor in building character and preparing us for leadership.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 147]

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Determine what my plan will be to overcome any temptations I am currently facing. ​​ (accountability is one very important key to success)

        • Potiphar’s wife’s prevarication (lie, deception)

          • When Potiphar’s wife did not get her own way, she twisted the truth

            • Her intent was to get Joseph in trouble

            • She also wanted to take the attention away from her sin

            • She didn’t keep Joseph’s cloak in her hand, but put it beside her

            • If she had kept it in her hand it could have incriminated her and shown the truth of what had really happened

            • She does not use Joseph’s name, but rather is nationality when referring to him – perhaps this was a tactic to create an “us verse him” scenario (she was trying to garner sympathy and support against Joseph)

            • How she words her report to the household servants also attempts to create division and separation between them and Joseph (Look, this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us?)

            • She reversed what actually happened

              • Joseph did not come in to sleep with her, but to do his work

              • Perhaps she screamed after Joseph left to help make her case, but Joseph didn’t leave his cloak because she screamed

            • Blaming her husband

              • She kept Joseph’s cloak beside her until her husband came home

              • Then she told her “story” and basically blamed her husband for what happened (he brought the Hebrew slave into their home)

              • She is desperately trying to shift the attention and blame away from herself

          • Another cloak incident

            • If you recall, Jacob gave Joseph an ornamented robe that elevated him above his brothers – it showed that he had authority

            • His cloak made him an easy target for his brothers when he visited them in Dothan

            • Now Joseph has another cloak that probably identified him as second in command under Potiphar

            • Potiphar would have recognized the cloak as being Joseph’s

        • Potiphar’s reaction

          • Burned with anger

            • At first glance, it seems as though Potiphar is very angry with Joseph for his alleged attempted rape of his wife

            • Perhaps that is not the case

            • Background

              • The normal punishment for Joseph’s offense would have been immediate execution

              • Potiphar, as captain of the guard, was over the soldiers who carried out executions

              • So, it would make sense that Joseph should have been killed

            • “Potiphar responds by ‘burning with anger’ (39:19). ​​ Given his wife’s slander of his own motives, the proven trustworthiness of Joseph, the fact that he is going to lose the services of a competent slave, and his knowledge of his wife’s character or lack of it, his anger arguably burns at his wife, not at Joseph. ​​ This is further suggested by the fact that Joseph is only put in the king’s prison. … The action he takes against Joseph is as minimal as it can be and still retain his family’s honor.” ​​ [Walton, 671-72]

          • Put Joseph in prison

            • The prison where Joseph was put is where the king’s prisoners were confined

              • This wasn’t the same prison that the commoners were confined to

              • In fact, Genesis 40:3 makes it sound as though the prison Joseph is confined to is attached to Potiphar’s house

              • Genesis 40:2-3, Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined.

            • God continued to be with Joseph even when he was falsely accused

        • PRINCIPLE #4 – “God’s blessings do not insulate our lives from hardships or injustice.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 326]

          • Joseph certainly experienced that in his own life

          • The same is true for us

          • Jesus never promised his followers that when they believed in him that everything would be cotton candy, sunshine, and rainbows or prosperity, success, and promotions

          • He did warn his disciples about a few things:

            • Read John 15:18-25

            • James 1:2-3, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

            • Matthew 24:9, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”

          • Sometimes we experience hardship, because of our own poor decisions

          • We can rest assured that the Lord is still with us during those times of hardship and injustice

        • Joseph experienced God’s presence and mercy while in prison

    • Faithfulness (vv. 20-23)

        • The Lord was with Joseph

          • This phrase begins and ends these three verses

          • Because the Lord was with him, the warden put him in charge of all the prisoners and everything that was done there

          • The warden did not have to pay attention to anything under Joseph’s care

          • Joseph’s character reflected faithfulness

            • Even though he was now in prison, for no fault of his own, Joseph faithfully worked hard and advanced in the prison

            • We shouldn’t be surprised by this, because this was part of his character when he served as Potiphar’s personal attendant

            • Our character should reflect faithfulness no matter where we are working

              • Even when we don’t get the promotion at work that we thought we should have gotten, we need to remain faithful

              • Even when we are asked to serve in the church in a position that seems below our gifts and abilities, we need to remain faithful

              • I remember reading in one of Chuck Smith’s books that when he was approached by an enthusiastic person about serving in the church, he would ask them to clean toilets. ​​ Depending on how they responded, determined whether he would have them serve in the church in other capacities. ​​ If they were willing to serve in a lowly position, he knew their heart was in the right place

              • Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

        • The Lord was merciful to Joseph

          • The Lord showed Joseph kindness

          • The Lord granted Joseph favor in the eyes of the prison warden

          • The Lord is merciful and kind to us also

          • He does not give us what we deserve


  • YOU

    • Do you need to claim the truth that God is always with you as His child?

    • Do you need to thank God for keeping His promises?

    • Do you need to determine what your plan will be to overcome temptation?

    • Does your character reflect loyalty, strength, and faithfulness?


  • WE

    • The Lord is with us as a body of believers

    • We can thank God for keeping His promises to us



“When life seems to be going terribly wrong, as it did for Joseph on a few occasions, it is difficult to affirm God’s sovereignty. ​​ Joel Sonnenberg is a modern-day illustration of someone who had cause to question God’s sovereignty and love. ​​ He was not yet two years old when a tragic chain-reaction car accident changed his life. ​​ A truck crashed into the back of a line of cars that was stopped at a toll plaza, and the car Joel was riding in was engulfed in flames. ​​ Agonizing minutes went by before he could be rescued. ​​ Though he survived, he was faced with excruciating pain, and even then the fifty-plus surgeries have still left him severely disfigured.


Bitterness would have been easy. ​​ But instead of rejecting God as powerless or cruel, Joel has allowed God’s love to fill him, and he has had opportunity to testify to what God can do in someone’s life. ​​ He has been featured in national news programs such as 48 Hour and Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel. ​​ Special reports by Chicago anchor Carol Marin have also followed Joel’s story over the years. ​​ He graduated from Taylor University in the spring of 2000. ​​ The university’s website listed some of Joel’s achievements and honors: ​​ Eagle Scout, Discover Tribute award winner, Western North Carolina Citizen of the Year, and high school student body president, to name just a few.


Like Joseph, Joel could not have known what God would eventually accomplish through the crises and tragedies of his life. ​​ We are not in a position to argue with God about why he sovereignly allows the difficult things that come into our lives. ​​ As the prophet says in Isaiah 45:9-10:


Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. ​​ Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has not hands’? ​​ Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to his mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’


Unlike Joseph, Joel’s troubles were not caused by someone’s evil intentions. ​​ The fact is, however, that even when evil intentions are involved, whatever people intend for evil God can use to bring about good. ​​ God does not promise to shield us from all evil. ​​ But we can believe that whenever evil comes, God is able to accomplish good through it.”


[Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 697-98].




Caught in the Palm Tree

(Genesis 38:1-30)



“An Indian bride called off her own wedding after getting a look at her groom for the first time on their wedding day. At a reception preceding the ceremony, the bride and groom both lifted their veils and saw one another for the first time. But the would-be bride didn’t like what she saw. According to local news reports, the woman complained the man was too dark-skinned and appeared to be too old. After the woman called off the wedding, the families that had arranged the marriage began fighting, stopping only when police were called to the scene.


Source: Staff, “Bad First Impression,”, (1-18-20) p. 15.





  • ME

    • Deception

        • Trash can veil

          • Our two oldest boys were wrestling in one of their bedrooms in the house we were renting

          • Judy heard a loud noise and went to investigate

          • Both boys were sitting on the bed

          • When Judy asked them what had happened they weren’t immediately eager to share

          • Judy saw the trash can sitting in the middle of the room along the wall, instead of where it normally was

          • When she moved the trash can, there was a hole in the wall from one of our boys back ends

          • It was a textured wall and I knew I couldn’t repair it and match the texture

          • We had to call a professional who did an amazing job of matching the preexisting texture

        • Clay veil

          • I’ve mentioned before that I bought Judy two vases while I was in Hungary in Romania

          • When we moved from California to Pennsylvania, I was packing up the items on the mantel over the fireplace

          • One of the items was the black vase I had bought Judy in Romania

          • I noticed that it didn’t quite look the same

          • One of the boys had broken a piece out of the vase and repaired it themselves

          • I never noticed because the repaired section was facing the wall

          • They had used clay to repair it and even painted it the same black color as the rest of the vase


  • WE

    • Perhaps all of us have experienced some kind of veiled deception in our lives

    • We have to be careful how we react when the deception is revealed, because we may be guilty of the same kind of deception


As we will see today, Judah and his family were plagued with sin and deception. ​​ Two of Judah’s sons were disciplined by the Lord and lost their lives. ​​ Judah was repentant when his sin and deception were revealed. ​​ He received forgiveness through the grace of God. ​​ We will see in this passage that . . .


BIG IDEA – God’s grace is amazing!


Let’s pray

  • GOD (Genesis 38:1-30)

    • Descent (vv. 1-11)

        • Judah’s marriage (vv. 1-5)

          • “At that time” refers to the time after Joseph was sold to the Midianites and they took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar

          • While that is happening to Joseph, Judah leaves his brothers and goes down to Adullam () and stays with Hirah (khee-raw’)

            • It is assumed that Judah is still living in Hebron with his father Jacob

            • Even though Adullam is northwest of Hebron, Judah is going down

            • Hebron is in the mountains and Adullam is in the lowlands

            • They are about 2.5 miles apart

          • While in Adullam, Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua (shoo’-ah)

            • Her name is never revealed in Scripture

            • They had three sons together

              • Their firstborn son was named Er (ayr/air), which means “awake”

              • Their second son was named Onan (o-nawn’), which means “strong”

              • Their third son was name Shelah (shay-law’), which means “a petition”

            • Jacob and his wife were in Kezib (kez-eeb’/kez-eve’) when Shelah was born

          • This sets the stage for the next part of the narrative about Judah’s sons and Tamar (taw-mawr’)

        • Judah’s son’s marriage (vv. 6-11)

          • Arranged marriages were not uncommon, so Judah got a wife for Er

            • Her name was Tamar, which means “date palm” or “palm tree”

            • She was most likely a Canaanite, like Judah’s wife

          • Er was wicked in the Lord’s sight

            • We are not told what wicked thing(s) he did in the Lord’s sight

            • We do know that the Lord removed him from the earth, because of his wickedness

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – The Lord punishes the wicked.

              • The Lord is holy and just, therefore He has to punish sin

              • Romans 6:23 tells us that what we earn or deserve for our sin is death – it’s not a physical death, but a spiritual death – a separation from God for all of eternity

              • He does not always require the life of the sinner, but sometimes in Scripture He did

                • Aaron’s sons Nadab (naw-dawb’/naw-dawv’) and Abihu (ab-ee-hoo’/av-ee-hoo’) for offering unauthorized fire (Leviticus 10:1-2)

                • Korah (core’-rack), Dathan (daw-thawn’) and Abiram (av-ee-rawm’), their families and possessions and the 250 men that followed them in their rebellion against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16:1-35)

                • Achan, his family, and possessions for not obeying God’s command to destroy everything in Jericho (Joshua 7:1-26)

                • Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11)

          • Levirate marriage

            • After Er died, Judah went to his second son Onan and asked him to fulfill his duty as a brother-in-law to produce an offspring for Er

              • This was a common practice that was active up to the time of Christ

              • It was obviously something that was practiced prior to the Mosaic law, but we see the regulations in the Mosaic law for the Israelites

              • Read Deuteronomy 25:5-10

              • When a brother died without any offspring, it was the duty of his next closest brother to marry his wife and produce an heir for him

            • Onan’s wickedness

              • He was selfish and greedy

              • Onan understood that if he produced an heir for Er that the child would receive the firstborn sons share of Judah’s inheritance

              • Onan was only thinking about himself and what he stood to inherit

              • He faked his obedience

                • “The syntax of v. 9 does not refer to one time ‘when’ Onan had sex with Tamar, but to whenever he had sex with her.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 436]

                • Every time that Onan was intimate with Tamar he practiced coitus interruptus, so that she would not get pregnant

              • This was considered wicked in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord required his life

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – The Lord punishes the wicked.

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Selflessness is pleasing to the Lord.

              • That is not what Onan was practicing

              • He was practicing selfishness – he was coveting what he perceived would be an incredible inheritance

              • While levirate marriage is not practiced in our culture today, there are others ways we can be selfless in our relationships (family and friends)

                • 1 Timothy 5:3-4, Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. ​​ But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

                • Philippians 2:3-4, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. ​​ Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

                • Matthew 7:12, So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

              • Is there a family member or friend that could use some help right now? (physical, financial, etc.)

              • Your selfless act may be just what they need

          • Judah’s deception

            • What he said

              • Judah tells Tamar to live as a widow in her father’s house until Shelah grows up

              • This would have been unusual in their culture

              • Judah should have taken her into his household and provided for her, but what he said was not what he was thinking

            • What he thought

              • Judah is afraid that if he gives Tamar to Shelah as his wife, that Shelah will die too

              • “The sudden death of his two sons so soon after their marriage with Thamar made Judah hesitate to give her the third as a husband also, thinking, very likely, according to a superstition which we find in Tobit 3:7ff., that either she herself, or marriage with her, had been the cause of her husband’s deaths.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 219]

              • “Alternatively, women who seemed prone to become widows were in danger of being suspected of witchcraft.” ​​ [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 668]

            • What he missed

              • His two son’s deaths were not Tamar’s fault

              • It was their fault – they were wicked

              • Judah did not recognize the sin in his own children

              • Had he done that, he could have cautioned them

              • The same is true for us as parents

                • We need to recognize the sin in our children

                • We need to lovingly confront our children about their sin, even as adults

                • As adults, they are ultimately responsible for their sin

            • We will see that Judah’s deception will backfire on him

        • Some time passes as the narrative continues

    • Deception (vv. 12-30)

        • Judah’s wife’s death (v. 12)

          • Waltke believes verse 1-11 covers a period of twenty years, while vv. 12-30 covers a period no longer than a year [Waltke, 506]

          • At the beginning of this year long period, Judah’s wife died

          • After Judah recovered from his grieving period, he resumed his regular activities

            • One of those activities was to participate in the celebration surrounding the shearing of his sheep

            • He took his best friend Hirah (khee-raw’) with him

            • They traveled north to Timnah (tim-naw’)

              • [show map]

              • Scholars are divided on the exact location of Timnah

              • Some believe it is in the lowlands (Timnah)

              • Others believe it is in the highlands (Timnah-serah)

              • Either way, Judah and Hirah would have gone up to Timnah from Adullam

          • Next we see that Tamar has continued to grieve the loss of her two husbands – her time of mourning hasn’t stopped

        • Setting the trap (vv. 13-23)

          • We do not know who told Tamar about her father-in-laws travel plans, but this was perhaps the opportunity she had been waiting for

            • She recognized that Judah had lied to her about giving Shelah (shay-law’) to her as a husband

            • She took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself and sat down at the entrance to Enaim (ay-nah’-yim/ay-nam’)

            • “According to a Middle Assyrian law (ca. 1200 B.C.), the daughters, wives, and concubines of free Assyrian males, as well as sacred prostitutes, must be veiled in public, but a whore must not veil herself.” ​​ [Waltke, 512]

            • Tamar had to think about her future, since Judah was not fulfilling his duty as her father-in-law – she was part of Judah’s family now

          • The proposition

            • Judah saw her and assumed she was perhaps a shrine prostitute, because she had covered her face

            • Shrine prostitutes would cover their face with a veil as a symbol of being the bride of the god/idol [Walton, 669]

            • Judah approaches her and propositions her to sleep with him

            • Judah has no idea that she is actually his daughter-in-law, Tamar

          • The price

            • Tamar asks what Judah will give her to sleep with him

            • Judah promises to send a young goat

            • The fact that Judah did not have money or a young goat with him, is probably an indication that his act of sexual immorality was not premeditated

            • He was acting impulsively and gave in to the temptation of being satisfied sexually, especially since his wife was now dead

          • The pledge

            • Tamar does not want to be deceived and lied to again, so she presses Judah to give her something as a pledge until he sends her the young goat

            • Judah does not suspect anything, so he asks her what pledge he should give her

            • Tamar knows exactly what she is doing, so that she will be protected in the future

            • She asks Judah for his seal and its cord, and the staff in his hand

              • The seal would have been made of metal or stone and was probably a cylinder [show picture]

              • The seal would have had a design or marking on it that was unique to Judah

              • He would use the seal in business transactions and communications

              • He could roll the cylinder seal over soft clay and impress his unique mark on it

              • The cylinder had a cord that went through it, so it could be worn around the neck

              • Judah’s staff represented authority and probably had his unique identifying mark etched on top of it

            • Once the pledge was exchanged, Judah slept with Tamar

              • “Her demand that her father-in-law father a child by her, since he refuses to give her his son, is probably consistent with accepted ethical practices at her time. ​​ Both Hittite (fourteenth—thirteenth century B.C.) and Middle Assyrian laws legislated that if a married man died and his brother also died, then ‘his father shall take her …. There shall be no punishment.’ ​​ The Mosaic law did not go this far, but her actions are not inconsistent with the principle: ‘[the deceased brother’s] widow must not marry outside the family’ (Deut. 5:5).” ​​ [Waltke, 511-12]

              • Of course, Judah was not knowingly agreeing to this law

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Sexual immorality is wrong.

              • Even though Judah was no longer married, it was still wrong for him to use a prostitute to satisfy his sexual desires

              • Sexual immorality comes in many forms

                • Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery.” (any sexual activity outside of marriage)

                • The Lord told the Israelites not to participate in the sexual practices of the Canaanites

                  • Leviticus 18:1-29 lists quite a few

                  • Most of them have to do with sexual relations with various family members (close relative, mother, father’s wife, sister, grandchildren, aunt/uncle, daughter-in-law, brother’s wife, neighbor’s wife, homosexuality, and animals)

                • Jesus elevated the command to “not commit adultery” from the physical act to the heart when He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ ​​ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

                • Paul, writing to the Corinthian believers, tells them not to unite their bodies with a prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:13-20)

                • Hebrews 13:4, Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess any sexual immorality in my life (physical or mental) and seek help to stop it.

            • What his first two sons were unable or unwilling to do, Judah unknowingly does

          • The pregnancy

            • Tamar becomes pregnant from the single sexual encounter with Judah

            • When she returned to her father’s home, she changed back into her widow’s clothes

          • The promise

            • Judah keeps his promise by sending a young goat with his friend Hirah (khee-raw’), so he can get his seal, cord, and staff back

            • “He has the honor to keep his obligation to a prostitute but not to his daughter-in-law!” ​​ [Waltke, 513]

            • When Hirah arrived, he could not find the woman, so he asked the men of the town where the shrine prostitute was

            • They told him that there had not been a shrine prostitute there

            • Hirah reported back to Judah about not being able to find the woman and that the men of the town said there was not shrine prostitute there

            • Judah told Hirah to forget about the woman, because he did not want to become a laughingstock to the people of Enaim (ay-nam’)

            • “Judah is like a reputable gentleman who unwittingly ‘loses’ his credit card in a brothel.” ​​ [Waltke, 513]

            • He told Hirah that he attempted to keep his promise to the woman – he did his due diligence

          • We are given a time stamp at the beginning of verse 24 – three months have passed

        • Springing the trap (vv. 24-26)

          • Judah is informed about Tamar’s pregnancy

            • The informant is again left unnamed, just like informant that told Tamar that Judah was going to Timnah

            • They told him that Tamar was guilty of prostitution and had become pregnant

            • At three months, Tamar would no longer be able to hide the fact that she was pregnant

            • Why was Judah informed?

              • “Such news would readily be passed along to Judah, for she evidently still had marital obligations to Judah’s family. ​​ He had not released her to marry another, which later was an option provided in Deut 25:5-10.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 722]

              • Whether Judah wanted to admit it or not, Tamar was now part of his family and his responsibility

              • It did not matter that he tried to pass off his responsibility to her father

            • Judah had to deal with the situation

          • Judah’s reaction

            • He asks that Tamar be brought out and burned to death

              • This seemed like a pretty harsh punishment

              • In the Mosaic law burning someone to death was reserved for a man who sleeps with a woman and her daughter at the same time (all of them were burned to death), and for a priest’s daughter who acts as a whore [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 590]

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – It is easy to condemn others for the sin we struggle with.

              • Judah had no problem condemning Tamar for being sexually immoral, even though he had also been sexually immoral

              • The same happens with us today when we condemn others, whether openly or in our hearts and minds for the same sin we struggle with

                • We may look at family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, fellow believers and condemn them for doing any number of things

                • We may condemn them for gossiping, being spend thrifts, not being as spiritual as we are, being sexually immoral, struggling with an addiction, being prideful, coveting things, lying, stealing, using God’s name as a cuss word, not handling relationships well, etc.

                • This is so easy to do and sometimes we don’t even recognize it in ourselves

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my sin and extend grace to those who are struggling with the same sin.

            • Judah is about to be confronted with his own hypocrisy

          • Tamar’s defense

            • Tamar uses Judah’s pledge to protect herself from being burned to death

            • She sends a message to Judah with the seal, cord, and staff and asked him to identify the owner

            • She states that the owner of those items is the man she is pregnant by

          • Judah’s repentance

            • Judah recognized his seal, cord, and staff

            • He acknowledges that Tamar’s defense was right

            • “Judah’s remark did not mean necessarily that her action was approved; rather, Judah acknowledged that her motivation was consistent with the purpose of levirate marriage, whereas Judah had attempted to circumvent the custom.” ​​ [Mathews, 723]

            • He had withheld his son, Shelah from her

            • PRINCIPLE #5 – Repentance brings forgiveness.

              • Judah’s response to Tamar shows that he was repentant for his sin of lying and deceiving

              • The fact that he did not sleep with her again is also evidence of his repentance

              • It is important that for you and I to repent of our sins, so that we can experience God’s forgiveness

              • 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

          • There is another time stamp for us as we see the birth of Judah and Tamar’s sons

        • Judah’s (grand)sons (vv. 27-30)

          • When the time came

            • We can assume that six months have passed

            • It is now time for the Tamar to give birth

          • Twin boys

            • Tamar was not as fortunate as Rebekah, who inquired of the Lord about the jostling in her belly and found out that she was having twin boys (Gen. 25:22-24)

            • Tamar found out the day of their birth that she was carrying twins

            • Jostling for position

              • One of the babies put his hand out and the midwife tied a scarlet thread on his wrist to identify him as the firstborn

              • That baby pulled his hand back inside

              • The other baby then came out first

              • This is similar to the happened with Jacob and Esau, except that Jacob came out second holding on the Esau’s heal – eventually Jacob was chosen as the covenant carrier

            • The boys names

              • Perez (peh’-rets/pair’-rets) – “broken out” or “breach”

              • Zerah (zeh’-rakh) – “rising,” “scarlet,” or “brightness”

          • “Tamar, a wrong wife (i.e., Canaanite), saves the family by her loyalty to it. ​​ The four women in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus Christ (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba) all come from outside of Israel and have a highly irregular and potentially scandalous marriage union. ​​ But because of their faith, God deems them worthy to carry royal seed.” ​​ [Waltke, 516]

          • Matthew 1:1-3, A record of the genealogy of Jesus ​​ Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: ​​ Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the of Ram, . . .


  • YOU



  • WE




“It is utterly astounding that Judah in connection with the twelve sons of Jacob has his name written on the gates of heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12). ​​ He stands as a witness to God’s amazing grace. ​​ He fails as a son of the covenant (i.e., intermarrying with Canaanites and behaving like them), as a father (i.e., his sons are wicked), and as a father-in-law (i.e., deceiving Tamar). ​​ Even the worst sort of sinners can enter heaven by God’s redemptive grace.”


[Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 515].


That is true for every one of us too.

  • We are all sinners (Rom. 3:23)

  • We all deserve to be separated from God (Rom. 6:23)

  • We were all created by a loving God (Rom. 5:8)

  • Jesus died for all of us (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

  • We can all receive God’s redemptive grace (Eph. 2:8-9)

  • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Receive God’s free gift of salvation by believing in His grace through faith in Jesus Christ.




Going Once…Going Twice…Sold!

(Genesis 37:12-36)



“Harriet Tubman was born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in 1822. As she grew up, she was made to work driving oxen, trapping muskrats in the woods, and as a nursemaid. Harriet's owners frequently whipped her. And she endured the pain of seeing three of her sisters sold, never to be seen again. But when her owner tried to sell one of her brothers, Harriet's mother openly rebelled. The would-be buyer gave up after Harriet's mother told him, ‘The first man that comes into my house, I will split his head open.’


Her mother's actions likely implanted in Harriet the idea that resistance to evil was right—and could sometimes be successful. As a child, Harriet herself … would run away for days at a time. But there were rays of joy in her life, as well. Harriet's mother told her stories from the Bible, which developed in her a deep and abiding faith in God.


When Harriet was about 26 years old, she learned that she might be sold away from her family. The time had come to try to escape. She made her way some ninety miles along the Underground Railroad. She traveled at night to avoid slave catchers, following the North Star, until she reached Pennsylvania, and freedom. Once there, she dared to make a dangerous decision: She risked her own freedom in order to give others theirs.


For eight years, she led scores of slaves north to freedom. During these trips she relied upon God to guide and protect her. She never once lost a runaway slave. As Harriet herself later put it, "I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger."


She gave all the credit to God, explaining, “‘Twant me, 'twas the Lord. I always told him, ‘I trusts to you. I don't know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me,’ and he always did.” Her faith deeply impressed others. As abolitionist Thomas Garrett put it, ‘I never met with any person of any color who had more confidence in the voice of God, as spoken direct to her soul.’”


Source: Adapted from Eric Metaxas, "Harriet Tubman, on the Money," Breakpoint (5-6-16).





  • ME

    • Estate auctions in Ohio

        • Judy and I went to several estate auctions when we lived in Ohio

        • We were able to get some pretty nice furniture pieces for a little bit of nothing

        • We had those pieces for a long time before we got rid of them

        • I was always hopeful that the bid would not go too high, since we did not have a lot of money

    • Winners Fellowship Auctions

        • When we used to have the Winners Fellowship Auctions, there were a few things I always bid on

          • I would bid on the large jars of pickled eggs and beets

          • I would also bid on artwork, like photographs and paintings

        • I don’t think I ever won the bid for one of the large jars of pickled eggs and beets, but I did win the bid on a couple of artwork pieces


  • WE

    • Winners Fellowship Auctions

        • How many of us have experienced the excitement of the Winners Fellowship Auctions?

        • What items were bid on the most? (Nancy Tate’s hog maul, Leonard Tate’s raspberry ice cream, Lucy McNair’s pickled eggs and beets, Connie Tate’s paper-thin cookies, and perhaps some other items)

    • Slave trading

        • My guess is that none of us have ever been part of slave trading

        • Slavery is still prevalent today, even though it is no longer legal

        • compared slavery from 1860 to today (2012)

          • There were 25 million slaves worldwide in 1860 and there were 27 million slaves worldwide in 2012

          • The median price for a slave in 1860 was $134 and the median price for a slave in 2012 was $140

          • 78% of slaves were legal in 1860 and 0% of slaves are legal in 2012

          • []


Last week we talked about the hatred that Joseph’s brothers had toward him. ​​ Their hatred grew and eventually turned into jealousy/envy when Joseph shared his dreams with them. ​​ We will see today the result of having their hatred unchecked. ​​ It went beyond more hatred and envy to something much more serious. ​​ We will see again today that . . .


BIG IDEA – Unchecked hatred leads to greater sin.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 37:12-36)

    • Pursue (vv. 12-17)

        • Last week

          • Joseph’s brothers hated him, because he was the favored son of Jacob and he had been given a special robe

          • They hated him even more when he told them his first dream about their sheaves bowing down to his

          • They were envious and jealous after he shared his second dream with them about the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him

          • Jacob rebuked Joseph, but also kept the dream in his mind

          • After all that happened, Joseph’s brothers went 50-60 miles north of Hebron to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem

        • Israel’s request

          • Israel/Jacob reminds Joseph that his brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem

            • Warren Wiersbe asks a couple of good questions for us to consider [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 143]

              • “Why were Jacob’s sons pasturing their flocks fifty miles from home when there was surely good grassland available closer to Hebron? [Possible answer: ​​ They didn’t want anybody from the family spying on them]”

              • “Why did they return to the dangerous area near Shechem when Jacob’s family had such a bad reputation among the citizens there (remember that Simeon and Levi murdered the Hivites after Shechem raped their sister Dinah)? (34:30) [Suggested answer: ​​ The brothers were involved with the people of the land in ways they didn’t want Jacob to know about]”

          • Israel/Jacob tells Joseph that he is going to send him to his brothers near Shechem

            • “Knowing that his sons hated Joseph, why did Jacob send him out to visit them alone and wearing the special garment that had aggravated them so much?...The answer is that the providential hand of God was working to accomplish His divine purposes for Jacob and his family, and ultimately for the whole world….God had ordained that Joseph would go to Egypt, and this was the way He accomplished it.” [Wiersbe, 143]

            • The reason that Jacob gives for sending Joseph is so he can see if all is well with his sons and the flocks

        • Joseph’s response

          • Joseph is compliant

          • Joseph’s response can be translated as “very well,” “here am I,” “I am ready,” or “I will go.”

          • Joseph’s obedience to his father’s request is amazing, especially in light of the fact that he knows his brothers hate him – they will not even talk to him or greet him

          • This should be an interesting interaction

        • Hide and seek

          • Joseph leaves the valley of Hebron and heads to Shechem [show map]

          • When he arrives in Shechem he can’t find his brothers, so he’s wandering around the fields on the outskirts of Shechem looking for them

            • “The Hebrew word that the NIV translates ‘wandering’ is generally used when someone is lost or straying from the right path. ​​ This same verb described Hagar’s wandering in the 21:14.” ​​ [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 664]

            • Roaming may be a better word to describe what Joseph is doing

          • Anonymous man

            • We are not given the name of the man that finds Joseph roaming around the fields outside of Shechem

            • “Whether the ‘man’ is an angel or a human, the unseen hand of the Lord is apparent here. ​​ He is directing Joseph to discover his brothers so that the divine plan for the salvation of Jacob and many peoples (50:20) might be realized, although it meant a troubling time for the house of Jacob.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 695]

            • It is not by chance, but by God’s providence and sovereignty, that this man appears and directs Joseph

            • It is also not by chance, but by God’s providence and sovereignty, that this anonymous man overhears the brothers’ plan to go to Dothan (do’-thawn/doth’-a-en)

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Helping others is pleasing to God.

              • Galatians 6:9, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

              • Ephesians 2:10, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

              • Philippians 2:4, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

              • Hebrews 13:16, And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

              • Is there someone you can help today or this week?

          • Joseph follows the man’s advice and travels another 13 miles northwest of Shechem to Dothan (doth’-a-en)

        • Joseph doesn’t see his brothers yet, but they recognize him as he approaches

    • Plot (vv. 18-24)

        • Murder and deception

          • Their initial plot was to physically kill Joseph, throw him in one of the cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him

          • They were still very angry about his two dreams and they figured that if they killed him his dreams could never come true

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Sin in the heart can lead to sin outside the heart.

            • Unchecked hatred leads to greater sin.

            • Joseph’s brothers had taken the hatred and envy they had been harboring in their hearts and were now openly talking about taking it to the next level – murder!

            • Had they dealt with the hatred in their hearts, it is most likely that they would not have gone to the next level – they probably would have started talking to Joseph again

            • Most of us have probably never been so angry with someone that we openly talked with someone else about killing them

            • Listen to the words of Jesus as he taught about anger – “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ ​​ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement. ​​ Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. ​​ But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

            • Jesus teaches us that if we are angry with our brother, we deserve the same judgment as someone who has committed murder.

            • We need to confess the sin in our hearts, so that it doesn’t cause us to sin outside our heart

            • Anger is not the only sin in our hearts that can leak

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess the sin I have been harboring in my heart, so that it doesn’t leak outside my heart.

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Murder is wrong!

            • “You shall not murder.” ​​ (Exodus 20:13)

            • Murder comes in many forms today

              • Actually taking another person’s life

              • Abortion is murder (taking the life of an unborn baby)

              • Euthanasia (taking the life of an elderly person or a terminally ill individual)

              • God’s Word tells us that murder in any form is wrong

          • At least one of the brothers was not blinded by hatred and envy

        • Neglect

          • Reuben’s suggestion

            • When Reuben heard what the other brothers were plotting, he made a suggestion

            • He encouraged them to not take Joseph’s life or to shed any of his blood

              • PRINCIPLE #4 – Confronting sin is always right.

                • Whether or not Reuben saw it that way or not isn’t important

                • He was confronting his brothers about taking Joseph’s life and shedding his blood

                • Confronting sin in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ is always right, but it must be done in love, after we have first examined ourselves

                  • Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? ​​ How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? ​​ You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

                  • Galatians 6:1-2, Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. ​​ But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. ​​ Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

                  • Ephesians 5:11-12, Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. ​​ For it is shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret.

                  • 1 Timothy 5:20, Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

                  • James 5:19-20, My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: ​​ Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his ways will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ In love, confront a fellow believer about their sin, after I have examined myself first.

              • That is basically what Reuben was doing by making the suggestion he did

            • He recommended throwing Joseph into one of the cisterns

            • Perhaps what Reuben was suggesting to his brothers was that without food and water, Joseph would die from natural causes

            • Joseph would still die, but it wouldn’t be from their hands – he would simply die from neglect

          • Reuben’s plan

            • Reuben’s real plan was to rescue Joseph and take him back to his father

            • We are not told why Reuben was hesitant to kill Joseph

              • We know that Reuben had fallen out of Jacob’s good graces, because he had slept with Bilhah, Jacob’s one wife

              • Perhaps Reuben is trying to gain his father’s blessing and good graces again

            • God’s providence and sovereignty at work

              • I believe that God is using Reuben and his suggestion to protect Joseph from death

              • God is orchestrating everything that is happening to accomplish is plan and purpose for Joseph and ultimately, Jacob, his family, and even other nations and peoples

          • The brothers obviously agree with Reuben’s suggestion

            • When Joseph met up with his brothers, they stripped off his special robe and threw him into the empty cistern

            • That was probably the extent of what they were going to do to him

            • They would let nature take its course

          • God had another plan in mind

        • As the brothers sit down to eat, God initiates the next step in His plan

    • Plan (vv. 25-30)

        • Ishmaelites

          • The Ishmaelites are also called the Midianite merchants (37:28) and the Medanites (37:36)

            • It is probably referring to the same group of people

            • “When first sighted the ‘Ishmaelites’ were seen (v. 25) and then as they come nearby they are identified as ‘Midianites’ (v. 11:05 AM28).” ​​ [Mathews, 698]

            • “Midianites are descendants of Abraham through Keturah (25:2), while the Ishmaelites descended from Abraham through Hagar, so these are kinfolk…these traders are second and third cousins to Joseph and his brothers. ​​ It is not unusual to find the two clans together since both occupy the Arabian desert region.” ​​ [Walton, 665]

          • Travel route

            • They are traveling from Gilead to Egypt

            • They had been traveling the east-west trade route, but were now picking up the north-south trade route that would take them to Egypt

            • Dothan (doth’-a-en) was right on that trade route – coincidence, no – providence, yes

          • Trade contents

            • Spices

            • Balm (native to Gilead)

            • Myrrh (southern Arabia)

            • These merchants didn’t trade exclusively in spices and balm

            • They were also willing to trade human beings, as we will see in a moment

          • Before the merchants arrive, Judah has a suggestion

        • Judah’s suggestion

          • Probably the reason that Judah speaks up at this point is because Reuben is not with them

          • Judah also recognizes that murder is wrong and perhaps uses his suggestion as an opportunity to confront his brothers about their sinful desire to kill Joseph

            • The Lord is using Judah’s conscience to accomplish His plan and purpose for Joseph

            • Judah is looking at what they can gain by not killing Joseph, but instead, selling him to the Midianite merchants

            • One other interesting note about what Judah says

              • If they don’t kill Joseph, they will not have to cover up his blood

              • “Judah is primarily concerned that he and his brothers not shed innocent blood (v. 26). ​​ His apprehension is that spilled blood cries out from the ground for vengeance when one attempts to cover it (Gen. 4:10; Job 16:18; Isa. 26:21; Ezek. 24:7, 8).” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 421]

              • Genesis 4:10, The Lord said, “What have you done? ​​ Listen! ​​ Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” ​​ (Cain and Abel)

              • Job 16:18, “O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest!”

              • Isaiah 26:21, See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. ​​ The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.

          • Sell Joseph

            • The brothers agree to Judah’s suggestion of selling Joseph to the Midianite merchants

            • When the merchants get close, they pull Joseph out of the cistern and sold him for 20 shekels of silver

            • This was close to the going rate for slaves and probably left some room for the Ishmaelites to make a profit

          • The deal is done and the merchants have left with Joseph

        • God’s providence and sovereignty

          • We are not told where Reuben was during the meal and the deal with the merchants

          • We once again see the providence and sovereignty of God

            • Had Reuben been there during lunch and the arrival of the merchants, he would have protested and refused Judah’s suggestion

            • In God’s providence, he was not there and the deal with the merchants was completed

          • Reuben is beside himself

            • He tore his clothes as a sign of grief and despair

            • He returned to where his brothers were – probably finishing up their meal

            • He tells them that Joseph is gone, which wasn’t news to them

            • He doesn’t know where to turn, because he feels personally responsible for Joseph’s safety

            • How will he be able to gain his father’s approval, since Joseph is gone

        • The brothers simply follow through with the deception they had already thought about when they first plotted to kill Joseph

    • Prevaricate (vv. 31-36)

        • The definition of prevaricate is to, “deceive,” “lie,” or “stretch the truth”

        • Deceived by a goat

          • The brothers slaughtered a goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in it to make it look like Joseph had been attacked by a ferocious animal

          • They took the bloodstained robe to Jacob and told him they had found the robe in this condition

          • They then asked him to identify the robe – was it his son’s robe?

          • Jacob positively identified it as Joseph’s robe

          • The brothers did not have to share their “story” about Joseph’s demise, because Jacob immediately draws his own conclusion – some ferocious animal has devoured him and he has been torn to pieces

          • NOTE – Jacob had deceived his father, Isaac, by preparing a goat just the way he liked and by wearing goat hair skin on his arms and neck to make his father believe he was Esau – now he is being deceived by goat’s blood

        • Mourning

          • Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned for his son many days

            • We are not told how long “many days” is, but Jacob says that he will mourn for Joseph until he dies

            • “But God had a better outcome for Jacob because ‘many days’ (v. 34) proved to have an end—twenty-two years until they were reunited (cf. 41:46; 41:3; 45:6).” ​​ [Mathews, 701]

          • Jacob refused to be comforted by his sons and daughters

            • We cannot forget that Joseph was his favorite son, born to him by his favorite wife

            • “That Jacob refused his children’s consolation was uncommon, revealing the intensity of his grief (cf. Isa 22:4), for his rejection of comforters meant the most aggravated anguish (e.g., Ps 69:20[21]).” ​​ [Mathews, 701]

            • This is another result of unchecked hatred leading to greater sin

            • Jacob’s sons were going to have to continue the deception for the rest of their lives

          • PRINCIPLE #5 – Deception causes heartache.

            • Jacob’s sons probably knew how devastated he would be when he learned of Joseph’s death

            • Perhaps they did not realize to what extent it would affect him – he would not be comforted and would never stop mourning until his own death

            • Honesty is always the best policy

              • There will be hurt, anger, and distrust for a little while, but eventually healing and restoration will come

              • Being honest also means we do not have to keep up the ruse, the lie, and the deception

              • Perhaps there has been some deception in your family, at school, at work, or in your neighborhood

              • Healing can begin when we come clean

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Begin the healing process by coming clean with the individual(s) I have been deceiving.

          • While Jacob is mourning, Joseph is traveling

        • Joseph’s fate

          • The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials

          • He was the captain of the guard, which meant that he and his soldiers were in charge of executions


  • YOU

    • Is there some sin you need to confess today?

    • Is there a fellow believer that you need to confront in love?

    • Is there some deception you need to reveal?


  • WE




“Years late, Jacob would lament, ‘All these things are against me’ (v. 36, KJV), when actually all these things were working for him (Rom. 8:28). ​​ This doesn’t mean that God approved of or engineered the brothers’ hatred and deception, or that they weren’t responsible for what they did. ​​ It does mean that our God is so great that He can work out His purposes even when people are doing their worst.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 144]


“A young man from an impoverished background dreamed of a better life for himself and his family than the hardscrabble existence he had known growing up. He saved all he could and went deeply into debt to launch a grocery startup in a town called New Salem. His partner had an alcohol problem, and he ended up so far in the hole that he referred to his financial obligations as ‘the national debt.’ He gave up on ever being a successful businessman, and it took him more than a decade to pay off his failed dream.


He went into law, and then politics, and in 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president. He was an avid Shakespeare fan, and his favorite quote came from Hamlet: ‘There is a divinity that shapes our ends, roughhew them as we may.’ He came to believe this deeply about his own life, but also about the nation he led. His entire second inaugural address is an amazingly profound reflection on how God was at work in the Civil War in ways more mysterious and profound than any human being could fathom. What a loss it would have been—not just to him but to a whole nation—if the doors of that little grocery he started in New Salem hadn't closed.”


Source: John Ortberg, All the Places You'll Go. Except When You Don't (Tyndale, 2015), pp. 216-217.






Haters Gonna Hate

(Genesis 37:1-11)



“A number of years ago when I needed a kidney transplant, my Jewish nephrologist asked me a soul-searching question, ‘Do you know anyone who would give you a kidney?’ ​​ I grew up in a wonderful Christian home with both my parents and three brothers and three sisters. ​​ I knew they loved me, but I must admit that when that question was asked, all sorts of strange thoughts went through my mind. ​​ Many of them had to do with how I had acted toward my brothers and sisters in earlier days. ​​ My parents did not spoil me, but I had acted spoiled in many instances. ​​ Now they reared their ugly memories in my mind.”


[Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 305].


It makes us think doesn’t it?



  • ME

    • How have I acted toward my siblings?

    • How have I acted toward fellow students growing up?

        • Years ago when I first started using Facebook, I began connecting with fellow students from Shippensburg

        • I didn’t graduate from there, but I grew up with them

        • When I friended one particular person, they eventually sent me a message sharing something I had said that hurt them

        • I didn’t remember the comment or situation, but they did because it caused them pain

        • I had the privilege of apologizing and asking them for forgiveness after twenty plus years

        • I had no idea how my words had affected this person

    • How have I acted toward colleagues I have worked with?

    • How have I acted toward fellow Christians that I worshiped with?


  • WE

    • Perhaps all of us can and should ask ourselves the same questions

        • How have we acted toward our parents and siblings?

        • How have we acted toward fellow students we grew up with?

        • How have we acted toward colleagues we have worked with?

        • How have we acted toward fellow Christians we have worshiped with?

        • How have we acted toward our neighbors?


In Genesis 37, we are going to see how Jacob’s family members acted toward each other. ​​ There were some dynamics in Jacob’s family that motivated some strong feelings by his sons. ​​ We begin today to see what caused some of the strong feelings and next week we will see happens when those strong feelings go unchecked. ​​ What we are going to learn over the next two weeks is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Unchecked hatred leads to greater sin.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 37:1-11

    • Transition (v. 1)

        • Some scholars have verse 1 of chapter 37 with the Esau episode

        • Others have it as part of chapter 37

        • It is definitely a transitional statement to take us from the account of Esau to the account of Jacob

        • Walton informs us that Jacob has been in Canaan for about a decade [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 662]

        • Verse 1 “implies that Jacob had now entered upon his father’s inheritance, and carries on the patriarchal pilgrim-life in Canaan, the further development of which was determined by the wonderful career of Joseph.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 215]

    • Final toledot (v. 2a)

        • This is the account of Jacob is the final toledot in the book of Genesis

        • The remaining chapters of Genesis (37-50) will be talking about the sons of Jacob, specifically Joseph

        • One of the major themes in the last fourteen chapters of Genesis is the sovereignty and providence of God

        • What seems like the end for Joseph and the account of Jacob continues, because in God’s sovereignty He uses the evil of humanity to accomplish His plan and purpose

        • We will see that theme repeated over and over again in the final toledot section

    • Favoritism (vv. 2b-4)

        • Joseph’s information

          • Age – he was seventeen, just a teenager

          • Job – assistant shepherd

          • Responsibility

            • Inform his father about what his brothers were doing

              • We are not told what the bad report from Joseph included

              • Some speculation is that the brothers may have been robbing their father, Jacob

              • Perhaps it was some unethical or ungodly behavior

              • Maybe they were adopting the ways of the Canaanite people

              • We are just not told

              • Whatever these brothers were doing, Joseph recognized that his father needed to be informed

            • Some scholars question whether Joseph was being a tattletale or following the will of his father

              • Here are a couple of things to think about

              • Throughout the remaining narrative about Joseph, we see that he is a man of character and that God is with him and helps him

                • When sold into slavery to Potiphar, he worked hard and God allowed him to find favor in Potiphar’s eyes, which resulted in Joseph becoming his personal attendant, and when he was approached by Potiphar’s wife concerning being intimate he rejected her and eventually had to flew from her

                • When put in prison, he again worked hard and God allowed him to find favor in the warden’s eyes, which enabled him to be put in charge of all the prisoners

                • When he was brought before Pharaoh God gave him knowledge concerning Pharaoh’s two dreams, which allowed him to be promoted to second in command in Egypt

                • When Joseph’s two dreams were fulfilled, he didn’t lord that over his brothers or hold anything against them, but forgave them

                • So, it would seem like being a tattletale would not fit into the man of character Joseph was

              • Following the will of his father

                • The significance of the robe that Jacob gave Joseph will be discussed in a moment, but perhaps it is part of why Joseph was following the will of his father when he brought the bad report against his brothers

                • The other indicator that Joseph was probably following the will of his father is what we will see next week when Jacob sends Joseph to check up on his brothers and bring a report back to him (Genesis 37:14)

              • So, I believe that Joseph was following the will of his father – he cared more about his father than he did his brothers

          • The information about Joseph is important as we continue to unpack this narrative

        • Jacob’s love

          • Favoritism

            • Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons

            • The reason given for his preferential love was that Joseph was born to him in his old age

              • That is certainly true

              • Joseph and Benjamin would have been born to Israel when he was older, because Rachel had been barren

              • Perhaps the favoritism of Israel for Joseph stems from the fact that he was the first born son of his favorite wife

              • Genesis 29:30a, Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah . . .

              • Some scholars believe that Israel looked to Joseph as his “real” first born son that would inherit his estate, because he was the first born son of Rachel, his favorite

            • Learning from the past

              • It seems as though Jacob had not learned from his past, the kind of hurt and damage, playing favorites can create

              • Isaac and Rebekah’s favoritism

                • If you recall, Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob

                • The competition that ensued brought about hard feelings between Jacob and Esau – to the point that Esau was going to kill Jacob after their father died

              • There was continual competition between his first and second wives, because he loved Rachel more than Leah

                • Rachel bargained with Leah for her son Reuben’s mandrakes

                • That competition spread to Leah and Rachel’s handmaidens being given to Jacob as two additional wives

                • Now we see that Joseph brought a bad report to Jacob about Bilhah and Zilpah’s (the two handmaidens) sons

              • Favoritism always creates heartache and hatred

                • Unchecked hatred leads to greater sin.

                • Jacob should have known what would happen if he favored one child more than the others

                • “The heart has its reasons which reason cannot know.” ​​ [Pascal in Pensees, cited by Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 141]

                • “‘Love unwittingly produces hate’: ​​ it is the first instance of ‘the pivot of irony’ upon which the entire plot of the Joseph story might be described as turning. ​​ The Jacob family illustrates the dynamics of many a family, with someone loved too much, someone loving too much, and some people not feeling loved enough.” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, 573]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Favoritism is always wrong.

              • We have seen throughout Jacob’s life how favoritism was wrong

              • It creates hard feelings, resentment, competition, and hatred

              • The same is true for us in our relationships

              • Loving too much

                • Parents have ever you found yourself favoring one of your children over the others?

                • It can be easy to do, especially when some of your children are making decisions that are hurting them while others are not

                • It may not be favoritism that comes into play, but just a realization that certain children are more difficult to raise than others

                • Personality types also play a role in how we connect with each of our children

                • It takes intentionality in order to treat each of your children equally

                • As parents, we may not even realize we are favoring one child more than the others

                • Perhaps an outside perspective would be helpful

                • If you are aware that you have been showing favoritism, then determine today to make the necessary changes

                • Those changes can heal wounds, create unity, and express love

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Love all of my children equally.

                  • We need to love all of our children equally no matter what they are doing or have done

                  • Take time this afternoon to talk with them or call them and tell them how much you love them

                  • Depending on your relationship with them, they may ask you if you are dying, because you haven’t told them that in quite some time

                  • Just reassure them that you aren’t and that you genuinely love them

              • Not feeling loved enough

                • Perhaps you feel like Jacob’s other sons – not loved as much as another sibling

                • I’m so sorry if that is actually happening in your family, because it makes you have hard feelings toward your parents and the favored sibling

                • Sometimes our perspective can be skewed, because we aren’t aware of everything that is happening in another person’s life

                • We may think we know, and from the outside it looks like another brother or sister is being favored

                • I would encourage you to not be easily offended, but rather to communicate with your parents

                • Let them know how you are feeling

                • Give them an opportunity to express how much they love you

                • Every one of us is susceptible to the view that the grass is always greener on the other side

                  • We become consumed with wanting what another sibling has (relationships, intelligence, money, personality traits, and much more)

                  • When we allow ourselves to be consumed with what others have, we will always be discontent, angry, resentful, hateful, jealous, and envious

                  • God did not make a mistake when He created you – you are one of a kind, unique and valuable (please hear me today)

                  • You have a heavenly Father who loves you perfectly

                  • He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)

                  • He loves you so much that He sent His one and only perfect Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for you (John 3:16) so you can have an eternal relationship with Him

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Communicate with my parents that I am feeling like they favor another sibling over me.

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Forgive my parents for favoring another sibling over me.

                  • You can be set free from the bitterness, anger, resentment, hatred, jealousy, and envy today

                  • You can begin to heal from those wounds that have been festering for far too long

                  • The great think is that then you will not have unchecked hatred that leads to greater sin

            • You and I do not need to fall into the same cycle that Jacob did with his sons

            • He made it clear that Joseph was his favorite, by giving him a special robe

          • Richly ornamented robe

            • What were you taught about his robe? (it had many colors, it was technicolored)

            • What did the robe probably look like?

              • Bible translations

                • Richly ornamented (NIV)

                • Many colors (KJV, NKJV, ESV, CSB, ASV)

                • Multicolored/Varicolored (NASB, LSB)

                • Long robe with sleeves (RSV)

                • Long coat (YLT)

                • Beautiful robe (NLT)

              • Biblical scholars

                • Full-length coat or a long-sleeved coat [Walton, 662]

                • A long robe with sleeves [Waltke, 500]

                • An upper coat reaching to the wrists and ankles, such as noblemen and kings’ daughters wore [Keil & Delitzsch, 215-16]

                • Coat or tunic with long sleeves [Gangel & Bramer, 307]

              • We cannot know with certainty what the robe looked like, because the Hebrew word used for it is only used here and in 2 Samuel 13:18

            • What did the robe represent?

              • It was definitely not the uniform of a common shepherd

              • Joseph’s social standing had changed [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 689]

              • It signified that Joseph did not need to work [Goldingay, 572]

              • Joseph was in management now [Walton, 663]

              • “It was the rich garment of a ruler…” [Wiersbe, 141]

              • Jacob was definitely revealing his preferential love and favoritism for Joseph, and with that he may have been signaling to his other sons that Joseph was his preferred heir

              • Jacob was elevating Joseph in the eyes of the other family members

          • Jacob’s favoritism had created hard feelings with his other sons

        • The brother’s attitude

          • Joseph’s brothers recognized that Jacob loved him more than any of them, which caused them to do two things:

            • Hate Joseph

            • Speak harshly to him/not speak to him at all

              • It can also be translated as “could not so much as greet him” (ask him how he was doing, offer him the usual greeting of Shalom, Peace be with you)

              • This is how deep the hatred went

          • This unchecked hatred was going to go even further

        • The narrative then transitions to Joseph’s two dreams

    • Dream 1 (vv. 5-8)

        • Joseph’s dream

          • All of the brothers were binding sheaves of grain

          • Joseph’s sheaf rose up and stood upright

          • His brother’s sheaves gathered around his and bowed down to it

          • Things to ponder

            • Why was Joseph even telling his brothers about his dream when he knew they hated him?

              • Was it youthful arrogance? (I don’t believe so)

              • Was it youthful enthusiasm and excitement? (perhaps)

              • Was it God’s sovereignty and providence? (I believe so)

                • “This revelation at the beginning of the story shows God as the Director behind the entire account. ​​ This is the first dream in the Bible in which God does not speak (cf. 20:3; 28:12-15; 31:11, 24).” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 500]

                • “This wasn’t ‘adolescent enthusiasm’; it was the will of God.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 142]

              • In our human intellect it does not make sense, but in God’s will it makes perfect sense

                • He is the Director of the entire situation in which Joseph is taken to Egypt

                • This is the first step in that process

            • What did the sheaves represent?

              • Shepherds, not farmers

                • Some scholars believe that Jacob’s family also did some farming

                • It was perhaps how they fed their family

                • Framing would have been a secondary occupation to shepherding

              • Foretelling the future

                • As the story of Joseph unfolds we will see that one of Pharaoh’s dreams includes heads of grain (Gen. 41:22) and it is Joseph’s wisdom, concerning reserving grain for seven years, that saves Egypt and his own family (41:48) ​​ [Mathews, 691]

                • It is likely that this first dream is foretelling the future for Joseph

            • What did this dream mean?

              • It meant that Joseph was going to have supremacy over his brothers at some point in his life [Keil & Delitzsch, 216]

              • “The prophecy is fulfilled in escalating stages: ​​ the brothers initially bowing once (42:6), then bowing twice to honor him (43:26, 28), and finally throwing themselves at his feet (50:18).” ​​ [Waltke, 501]

          • Remember that Joseph’s brothers already hated him

        • Brother’s reaction

          • The brothers questioned the validity of Joseph’s dream by asking him two questions

            • Do you intend to reign over us?

            • Will you actually rule us?

            • Remember, the long coat that Jacob gave Joseph was already a sign that he did not need to work like his brothers and that he was their foremen or ruler

            • With Jacob’s favoritism already in play and now Joseph’s divine dream elevating him to ruler status, the brothers are not happy

          • They hated him even more

            • Notice that the words “they hated him all the more” opens and closes this first dream narrative

            • Unchecked hatred leads to greater sin.

            • Perhaps their hatred, first expressed in verse 4, has turned into bitterness

            • We know that their hatred has deepened, it has become more pronounced

            • There is a progression taking place

        • Joseph has second dream

    • Dream 2 (vv. 9-11)

        • Joseph’s dream

          • The sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me

          • Joseph tells his brothers and his father for the same reason he told his brothers the first dream – it was according to God’s will

          • What did the dream mean?

            • Joseph’s supremacy would not only be over his brothers, but also over the whole house of Israel [Keil & Delitzsch, 216]

            • “The inclusion of his parents . . . suggests Joseph’s eventual prominence in the ancestral line, superseding even his parents in significance.” ​​ [Walton, 664]

            • We know from the rest of the story that Joseph has supremacy over all the Egyptian citizens and people of neighboring countries

            • Dreams in pairs

              • Joseph received two dreams together, which signified that God had made up His mind about this situation and it would happen [Waltke, 501]

              • We will see that the remaining two dreams in Genesis will come in pairs also (Pharaoh’s attendants and Pharaoh himself)

          • Joseph not only shares the second dream with his brothers, but also his father

        • Father’s reaction

          • Jacob rebuked him

            • Jacob’s initial reaction is to rebuke Joseph

            • It was probably out of shock, at hearing that Joseph was going to rule over the entire household of Jacob, that Jacob rebuked him

          • Jacob kept the matter in mind

            • After his initial reaction, Jacob spends time thinking about it

            • “Perhaps this occurred because Jacob knew the Lord could speak in dreams (Gen. 28:12-16) and he also knew that the Lord’s words in dreams came true (Gen. 35:7).” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 308]

          • Finally we see the brothers reaction to the second dream

        • Brother’s reaction

          • They were jealous of Joseph

          • Unchecked hatred leads to greater sin.

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jealousy/Envy drives us to ruin others.

            • “They did not just want what Joseph had; they wanted to ruin him.” [Walton, 701]

            • There is a difference between coveting something and envying or being jealous of something

            • “What an envier wants is not, first of all, what another has; what an envier wants is for another not to have it. . . . To covet is to want somebody else’s good so strongly that one is tempted to steal it. ​​ To envy is to resent somebody else’s good so much that one is tempted to destroy it. ​​ The coveter has empty hands and wants and wants to fill them with somebody else’s good. The envier has empty hands and therefore wants to empty the hands of the envied. ​​ Envy, moreover, carries overtones of personal resentment: ​​ an envier resents not only somebody else’s blessing but also the one who has been blessed.” ​​ [Plantinga cited by Walton, 701]

            • That is exactly what Joseph’s brothers wanted to do to him – destroy what he had been given both physically and in through the dreams

          • Where are you at today?

            • Are you envious/jealous of someone (family member, fellow student, colleague, neighbor, fellow Christian)?

            • Have you allowed your hatred to go unchecked, which has driven you to envy and jealousy?

            • Do you wish that the person you are jealous of would fail?

            • Have you actually tried to ruin someone you are jealous of?

            • Repentance

              • I want to encourage you to repent of your hatred and jealousy

              • Next, I would encourage you to begin the process of reconciliation with that person (my guess is they already know you hate them – you haven’t been talking to them)

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my hatred and jealousy and seek to restore the relationship.


  • YOU

    • Do you need to love all of your children equally?

    • Do you need to communicate your feelings to your parents and forgive them for showing favoritism?

    • Do you need to repent of your hatred and jealousy?


  • WE

    • We may need to love all of our fellow Christians equally

    • We may need to communicate our feelings and forgive leadership for showing favoritism

    • We may need to repent of our hatred and jealousy



Growing up, I remember my grandma Johns sharing stories that Paul Harvey had shared on the radio. ​​ “Every day he’d begin a broadcast with one of his catchphrases, ‘Hello, Americans! I’m Paul Harvey.’ Then after he started his story, before the next break he’d say, ‘In a moment…. the rest of the story….’ And at the very end he would say, ‘Now you know…the rest of the story,’ and conclude his radio show with, ‘Paul Harvey…Good day.’”




I want you to know the rest of the story from the introduction.


“I am humbled to write that my entire family expressed a willingness to share with me the needed kidney. ​​ As members of the same family, my brothers and sisters, as well as my mother and father, acted in a way that honored the Lord and showed great love for me. ​​ Not all families act in such a loving, accepting way. ​​ Neither do all Christians. ​​ And when a family fails to act like a family, terrible consequences occur. ​​ Sometimes these consequences are far-reaching.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 305]


We will see next week what happens when Jacob’s sons do not act in a loving way towards Joseph.



The Crown

When you see the phrase, “The Crown”, what do you think of? I think about royalty; kings and queens, etc., especially British royalty. There is a TV show in its last season called “The Crown” which follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II who just passed away in 2022. Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother was Queen Victoria, who has been called the “Grandmother of Europe.” (picture) Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, who were first cousins, looked to consolidate royal power through marriage. They had nine children, each of whom married important European royal families. Queen Victoria’s grandchildren served as (or married) the kings or emperors of most of Europe. There was King George V of the United Kingdom, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King Haakon VII of Norway, Ferdinand I of Romania, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, King Constantine I of Greece, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, and King Alfonso XIII of Spain. When World War I broke out Wilhelm II of Germany was at war with his cousin George V of the United Kingdom and cousins-in-law Nicholas II of Russia and Ferdinand I of Romania. Several of Victoria’s issue remain on European thrones today. King Harald V of Norway, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and King Felipe VI of Spain all descend from Victoria and Albert.

In our scripture today we are going to investigate another royal family, the royal family of Esau. For the past several weeks we have camped out on the idea that God cares and provides for all people even non-covenant peoples. We have also seen comparisons between the descendants of Esau and Jacob. Esau has had children and grandchildren who have become chief of clans and tribes. He and his descendants married into the family of Seir the Horite who lived in the hill country of Seir. Eventually Esau and his family migrated there and the nation of Edom was established. Today, we will see that Esau’s descendants have now become kings of Edom. They are ruling as chiefs and kings in their own land long before the nation of Israel ever comes into being. Esau and his descendants had it relatively easy, increasing in number and absorbing the land and people of Seir. In comparison, Jacob and his family will find themselves in Egypt due to famine and then live there in slavery for 400 years. Finally, as God commands Moses to lead them out of Egypt into the Promised Land they will wander in the wilderness for another 80 years before finally conquering their own land. It will take them a long time to become the monarchy that Edom has already established. ​​ 

As we think about the hardships that the Israelites, God’s chosen people, went through compared to their cousins and as we think about the hardships that we, as Christians, seem to go through compared to those in the world, we see that success, power and prestige seems to come easy to those living by the world’s standards. But the Israelites, God’s chosen people lived by a higher standard, God’s standard. God tested and tried the Israelites but the Edomites, the non-covenant side of the family of Abraham, don’t seem to be. And we might ask ourselves why? I think the answer lies in what God’s plan and purpose was for the Israelite people. They were to be a holy, set apart people, in the world, in order to be ambassadors of God to their neighbors. They were blessed by God to be a blessing to others. They were to usher in the coming Messiah to the world and spread his gospel. For them to fulfill this plan and purpose they needed to be tested and refined in the fire of slavery, wandering the wilderness, and exile. Esau and the Edomites did not have such a plan and purpose and did not need to be tested.

As Christians, all the above is appropriate for us as well. We are called to be a holy and set apart people. We are blessed by God to be a blessing in the world. God has a plan and purpose for us to pursue, grow and multiply disciples. And the Bible says that we will be tested and tried in God’s refining fire as well. All the Israelites testing, trials and tribulations, and ours as well, are so we will bear much fruit and when that fruit is realized and seen by the world it will be for the glory of God. Which brings us to the big idea this morning that God tests his people, for the bearing of much fruit, to the glory of God. As we prepare to open God’s Word this morning, let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we ask your Holy Spirit to come down in this place and in your people. We pray for open hearts and open minds as we study your Word. Use your holy scripture to teach us, reprove us, correct us and train us in righteousness so that we may be complete and equipped for every good work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This morning we are wrapping up Genesis chapter 36, the genealogy of Esau. We will be looking at verses 31-43. There will be three points this morning. The first point is the Introduction found in verse 31. Follow along as I read. This is what God’s Word says: “These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned:”

Before we see the lists of kings, they are introduced to us with this caveat: “These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned.” Again, Esau/Edom is compared to Jacob/Israel. Before Saul became King of Israel there were already eight generations of kings in Edom. In Numbers 20:14, we see these words, “Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom.” This refers to when the Israelites, being led by Moses in the wilderness, were getting ready to pass through the Transjordan and enter the Promised Land. Moses sent messengers to ask the king of Edom to let them pass by unharmed. He promised they would stay on the King’s Highway and pay for any water used by them or their livestock. The king of Edom refused and even threatened to attack them with the sword. Later, King David would conquer the Edomites and rule over them for a time. These events fulfilled Isaac’s blessing on Esau found in Genesis 27:40, “You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother.” Numbers 20:14 confirms that Edomite kings were already ruling before the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

Something we will notice in the king list that follows is that it is evidence of an elective kingship instead of a dynastic one. This means that the succession of kings was not based on heredity, like we see in the United Kingdom. The eight kings will succeed each other in an orderly fashion but no king is a son of the previous one. Also, the place of origin or the capital city is different for each king. This may be the only evidence of a non-dynastic monarchy in the ancient Near East, except for the election of King Saul. When Saul was made king of Israel, there was no provision made for Saul’s sons to take over the throne after him like there was for King David.

Last week, Pastor Stuart made the point that God provides for all people even people outside the Abrahamic covenant. Esau descendants may have been outside the covenant, but they weren’t outside the story of God’s work in the world. This point will be reaffirmed by the list of Edomite kings as they represent the first stage of the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:16. God speaking to Abraham about Sarah says, “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” The Edomite kings were a direct fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. Lastly, in 1 Samuel 8:5, when the Israelites wanted a king “like other nations”, it is possible that the Edomites were one of the nations they had in mind.

Our second point is Succession found in verses 32-39. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “Bela son of Beor became king of Edom. His city was named Dinhabah. When Bela died, Yobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king. When Yobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king. When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith. When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king. When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king. When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king. When Baal-Hanan son of Akbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.

We see a recurring formula here: X died and Y succeeds him as king and his city was named Z. As I said earlier, no son ever succeeded their father as king. We also see that the capital city changes with each king. They ruled out of the city where they lived, as King Saul did. The first king was Bela, son of “Beor.” Bela means “eloquent.” In Numbers 22:5, we also see that Balaam, a wicked prophet, is the “son of Beor.” Bela’s capital city is “Dinhabah” which is an unknown. When Bela died, Yobab, son of Zerah from Bozrah became king. The name Yobab is also seen in Genesis 10:29 as he is identified as the third great grandson of Shem. The resemblance of names goes to show the fact that the Israelites and the Edomites were related. We have seen the name Zerah earlier as the grandson of Esau and Bosemath. Bozrah is one of the Edomite towns most often referred to in the Bible. We see it named in Isaiah 34:6 and Amos 1:12 where those prophets prophesied about God’s judgment on the nations who against Israel.

The third king was Husham which means “broadnosed” in Arabic. He was from the land of the Temanites. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that one of the friends of Job was Eliphaz the Temanite. The fourth king was Hadad, son of Bedad. His name is associated with the Syrian storm god meaning “thunderer.” With him we have our first antidote; an explanation that Hadad defeated Midian in the area of Moab. This was probably to distinguish this Hadad from the one mentioned in verse 39 as the eighth king. Bedad means “separate/alone” and this one’s capital city was Avith. The fifth king was Samlah, which means “protection” in Arabic. His capital city was Masreqah which is related to the noun “vine” and was probably located in a vine-growing area. The sixth king was Shaul which means “requested” and his capital city was Rehoboth on the River. Rehoboth means “open spaces” and the river could refer to either the Euphrates or the Jordan.

The seventh king was Baal-hanan, son of Akbor. Baal-hanan means “Baal is gracious” and Akbor means “mouse.” Baal-hanan is the only king not ascribed a capital city. The eighth and last king on the list is Hadad and his capital city is Pau. And again we get some explanation: he was the husband of Mehetabel, who was the daughter of Matred, who was the daughter of Me-Zahab. Mehetabel means “El (God) does good”; Matred means “to run continually”; and Me-Zahab means “waters of gold.” It was unusual to name two women in an ancestral line. It may be that the women’s names conveyed a great splendor that meant “continuous running waters of gold.”

Our third point is Settlements found in verses 40-43. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “These were the chiefs descended from Esau, by name, according to their clans and regions: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom, according to their settlements in the land they occupied. This is the family line of Esau, the father of the Edomites.”

This final list is a list of chiefs descended from Esau according to their clans and regions. “According to their clans” is the same formula used in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10. Four of the eleven names we have seen before: Timna, the concubine of Eliphaz and sister of Lotan, son of Seir. Oholibamah, daughter of Anah, a wife of Esau. And Kenaz and Teman, sons of Eliphaz and chiefs of Edom. The other seven names are new to us: Alva which means “ascend”, Yetheth, Elah which means “terebinth”, Pinon which was a known copper mining and smelting site in Edom, Mibzar which means “fortress”, Magdiel which means “fruit (gift) of El” and Iram.

One of the problems with identifying this list is how to reconcile it with the chiefs of Esau listed in verses 15-19. ​​ First, these may be later chiefs of Edom than those mentioned earlier or second the list in verses 15-19 may be genealogically arranged and this list is geographically arranged. This list is referred to as regions and settlements in the land they are occupying. Hamilton says, “The names that follow might refer to the names of the dwellings rather than of the chieftains.” And Wenham says, “It has been suggested that this is a list of the administrative districts of Edom since some of the names are place names.” The word “occupy” here is the same as “held.” It is the same word that we saw when Esau first appeared in Genesis. If you remember, at the twin’s birth, Jacob took “hold” of Esau’s heel. This may be a deliberate play on words to mark the last appearance of Esau in the book of Genesis. The fact that Edom “held” these lands again fulfills the promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:8. They have gained secure possession of the land of Edom just as Israel will have secure possession of theirs. This language indicates that both the Edomites and the Israelites received their land by divine commission from God.

Lastly, the ancestral heritage of the Edomites is reaffirmed reminding us that Esau was their father. Esau’s descendants have become clans, chiefs, kings and districts. They have an established political structure and royalty. There is no doubt that they are flourishing. Esau has now become a dynasty with eight kings in succession and chiefs in eleven districts. Their power and the extent of their monarchy is incredible. Their impact would be felt for centuries after Esau’s death and these cousins of the Israelites would relentlessly and persistently oppose them for a long time to come. Interestingly, when Jesus stood before King Herod at his trial, Jesus was standing in the line of Jacob and Herod was standing in the line of Esau. Herod was an Idumaean, which is the Greek equivalent of an Edomite. This descendant of Esau ridiculed and mocked Jesus, a descendant of Jacob, who was the Son of God.

There is a warning to us in this chapter. We need to be careful in our dealings with others so that we don’t allow a bitter root to grow up and cause trouble in the future as we see in the story of Esau. Hebrews 12:14-17 says, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” We must make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy because if we don’t, we could be perpetuating conflict not only in our lifetime but in the lifetimes of our descendants far beyond anything we could ever imagine. That brings us to the first next step on the back of your communication card: My next step is to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.

As I conclude today, I want to revisit our big idea: God tests his people, for the bearing of much fruit, to the glory of God. Again, in Hebrews 12:5b-11, we see these words, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Archaeological digs have been done in Bozrah (King Yobab’s capital city) where they have found effigies in stone and pottery from after the Patriarchal period showing that there were generations of idolatry in that area. This didn’t happen overnight but may have been birthed by Esau as the material outweighed the spiritual in his life. Interestingly, Baldwin says, “Despite the struggle of the prophets in Israel over the same issue excavations have nowhere near unearthed a plethora of idols in the territory of Israel and Judah. Esau’s defection set a precedent, which was later to lead to identification with the idolatrous religion of the local population.” Baldwin goes on to say, “If it had not been for the many forms of divine discipline which culminated in the Exile the story would have been of the same sorry decline among Jacob’s descendants. It was the mercy of God that refused to “give them up” and instead worked to produce a people who were capable of receiving his salvation which is the theme of the rest of the OT.

The story of Jacob was different than the story of Esau in that God tested and disciplined his chosen people, for the bearing of much fruit, to his glory. It is the same for us today, as Christians. We need to endure hardship as discipline and accept God’s perfect discipline in our lives knowing that he does it for our good, in order that we share in his holiness. It will not be pleasant and it will be painful but it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace if we are willing to be trained by it. And through it all, God will receive the glory. That brings us to the second next step this morning, which is to “Accept God’s testing and discipline in my life, in order to bear much fruit, so that God will receive the glory.” As the ushers come to gather the tithes and offerings and the praise team comes to lead us in our final song, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for this time to dive deep into your Word. Help us to strive to live in peace with everyone and to be holy so we aren’t leaving conflict in our wake. Help us to accept your testing and discipline, in order to bear the fruit in our lives that is honoring and glorifying to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Increase Through Absorption

(Genesis 36:20-30)



[Have a table set up in the front with a jug of water and a clear container with some of the Orbeez seeds in it. ​​ Have a second clear container with the completed Orbeez balls in them, but keep this container hidden until the conclusion of the message.]


I am going to need some help this morning with the introduction. [Choose one of the children or youth from the congregation to come up front to help]


I have some Orbeez seeds in this clear container. ​​ When you add water to the seeds, they absorb the water and grow into little water balls. [Have the child or youth pour the water into the clear container with the Orbeez seeds]


We will let the seeds absorb the water while we talk about the passage in Genesis 36:20-30.



  • ME

    • Increasing through absorption

        • Gaining weight

          • I am a very sympathetic and compassionate person, especially when it comes to Judy

          • When Judy was expecting our first child, I made sure to eat like I was eating for two

          • I did the same thing with the other two pregnancies

          • I tell everyone that I gained ten pounds with each pregnancy and I’m still waiting to have my baby

          • My waistline has increased through absorption of food

        • Gaining family

          • When our two oldest sons got married, Judy and I gained two daughters

          • We have now gained two granddaughters and one grandson

          • So, our family is increasing through marriage


  • WE

    • Increasing through absorption

        • How many of us can relate to increasing our waistline through the absorption of food?

        • How many of us have experienced the increasing of our family through marriage and grandchildren?


Over the past couple of weeks, we have been focusing on the genealogy of Esau. ​​ In the middle of his genealogy, the narrator talks about the genealogy of Seir (say-eer’) the Horite (kho-ree’/hore-ree’). ​​ We will see some familiar names in this genealogy that were part of Esau’s genealogy in verse 2. ​​ Esau married one of the Horite women and what we know from the rest of history is that the Horite people were probably absorbed into the Edomite people. ​​ We will learn from this passage of Scripture that . . .


BIG IDEA – God provides for all people.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 36:20-30)

    • Seir’s sons (vv. 20-21)

        • We learn from this verse that Seir’s family was living in the region that Esau is now inhabiting (Genesis 36:8)

        • His sons are then listed

          • Lotan (lo-tawn’) – means “covering”

          • Shobal (sho-bawl’/show-val’) – means “flowing”

          • Zibeon (tsib-one’/sieve-own’) – means “colored”

          • Anah (an-aw’) – means “answer”

          • Dishon (dee-shone’/dee-shown’) – means “thresher”

          • Ezer (ay’-tser/eight’-sare) – means “treasure”

          • Dishan (dee-shawn’) – means “thresher”

        • Notice that even though Esau settled in the hill country of Seir and that Seir and his family were already living there, that at the end of verse 21 it says that these sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs

          • The region has changed from being the hill country of Seir to Edom

          • Edom was the name of Esau’s clan (it was another name for Esau)

          • Esau absorbed the Horite people

        • What we see next is Seir’s grandchildren

    • Seir’s grandchildren (vv. 22-28)

        • The sons of Lotan (lo-tawn’)

          • Hori (kho-ree’/hore-ree’) – means “cave dweller”

          • Homan (hay-mawm’/hay-mom’) – means “exterminating”

          • Timna (tim-naw’) was Lotan’s sister

            • Esau’s son Eliphaz (el-ee-faz’) had a concubine named Timna

            • This was probably the same woman

            • We are already seeing the increase of Esau’s clan through marriage

        • The sons of Shobal (sho-bawl’/show-val’)

          • Alvan (al-vawn’) – means “tall”

          • Manahath (maw-nakh’-ath/mine-ak’-hath) – means “rest”

          • Ebal (ay-bawl’/a-vawl’) – means “stone” or “bare mountain”

          • Shepho (shef-o’) – means “bold”

          • Onam (o-nawm’) – means “vigorous”

        • The sons of Zibeon (tsib-one’/sieve-own’)

          • Aiah (ah-yaw’/a-yah’) – means “falcon”

          • Anah (an-aw’) – means “answer”

            • This Anah was the one who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was caring for his father Zibeon’s donkeys

            • He was probably named after his uncle Anah

            • “This little story distinguishes this Anah from his uncle, a pattern we have also seen regarding the two Lamechs (Gen. 4:17-24) and the two Enochs (Gen. 5:21-24).” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 297]

        • The children of Anah (an-aw’)

          • Perhaps Seir did the same thing that Jacob did in taking some of his son’s, boys as his own sons

            • Jacob did that with Joseph’s two sons

            • Manasseh and Ephraim were counted as two of the twelve sons/tribes of Israel

            • Scripture does not directly tell us that, though

          • Dishon (dee-shone’/dee-shown’) – means “thresher”

            • He was obviously named after his uncle Dishon

            • There seemed to be a lot of names reused in this clan

          • Oholibamah (o”-hol-ee-baw-maw’/ah-holy-vaw-maw’) – means “tent of the high place”

            • We met her as one of Esau’s wives in verse 2

            • She was Anah’s daughter and Zibeon’s granddaughter

            • This is another reason why it is probable that Seir took Anah as one of his sons, even though he was actually Zibeon’s son

        • The sons of Dishon (dee-shone’/dee-shown’)

          • Hemdan (khem-dawn’) – means “desire”

          • Eshban (esh-bawn’) – means “fire of discernment”

          • Ithran (yith-rawn’) – means “advantage”

          • Keran (ker-awn’/kay-rawn’) – means “lyre” (like the instrument)

        • The sons of Ezer (ay’-tser/eight’-sare)

          • Bilhan (bil-hawn’) – means “their decrepitude”

          • Zaavan (zah-av-awn’) – means “troubled”

          • Akan (aw-kawn’/ah-kawn’) – means “sharp-sighted”

        • The sons of Dishan (dee-shawn’)

          • Uz (oots) – means “wooded”

          • Aran (ar-awn’/ah-rawn’) – means “joyous”

    • Horite chiefs (v. 29-30)

        • Seir’s sons are listed again as the Horite chiefs

        • They were divided by these seven clans in the land of Seir

    • Application

        • We have to turn to Deuteronomy 2:1-6 to help us with applying this section of genealogy to our lives

          • The Israelites were wandering in the desert

          • Then we turned back and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea, as the Lord had directed me. ​​ For a long time we made our way around the hill country of Seir. ​​ Then the Lord said to me, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north. ​​ Give the people these orders: ​​ ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. ​​ They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. ​​ Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. ​​ I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own. ​​ You are to pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.’” (Deuteronomy 2:1-6)

          • God had given the hill country of Seir to Esau as his own

            • As far as we know, God did not require Esau to completely destroy the inhabitants of Seir as He commanded the Israelites to do with the inhabitants of Canaan

            • Through marriage and perhaps the sheer size of the Edomite clan, Esau and his descendants absorbed the Horite clans

        • Principles

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is our provider

            • God had provided a permanent place for Esau and his descendants to thrive

              • As we know, he could not remain in Canaan with Jacob, because their flocks and herds were too much for the land

              • God did not just kick Esau out of Canaan without providing a place for him to live

            • God is our provider too

              • How many of us have experienced being displaced?

              • Judy and I left California without having another job lined up or a place to stay

              • We visited family for a couple of months, before God provided the pastoral position here at Idaville UB Church that also provided housing

              • God is our provider

              • He will provide for us and not leave us alone and displaced

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to provide for me.

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is our protector

            • God could have required Esau to completely destroy the Horites, but He didn’t

            • God protected them from being completely destroyed by allowing the Edomites to absorb the Horites

            • God is also our protector

              • How have you experienced His protection?

              • Has He protected you from physical harm, sickness, financial failure, relational heartache, and much more?

              • Take a moment to recall how the Lord has protected you

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Thank the Lord for protecting me.

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God keeps His promises

            • God’s blessing of Abraham was amazing!

            • The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. ​​ “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. ​​ I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

            • We see through this genealogy that the Horites and the Edomites were blessed through Abraham

            • “If the inclusion in Genesis of the lines of Ishmael and Esau implies that in their way they are part of the outworking of Yahweh’s promise to Abraham, then the inclusion of the Horites’ clans implies a reaffirmation of a point implicit in Gen. 10-11, that people who are quite outside the Abrahamic line are not outside the story of God’s work in the world.” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 565]

            • God keeps His promises to us also

              • Every promise God has made in His Word, He has kept

              • Because He has kept every promise in His Word, we can trust that He will keep the promises that He has made about the future

              • We can rejoice in a God who keeps His promises

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Rejoice in the fact that God keeps His promises.


  • YOU

    • Do you need to trust God to provide for you?

    • Have you thanked the Lord for protecting you?

    • Are you ready to rejoice, because God has kept His promises to you?


  • WE

    • We can trust God to provide for Idaville UB Church

    • We can thank God for protecting us as a body of believers

    • We can rejoice in a God who keeps His promises



Let’s check in on our Orbeez seeds.


Have they increased yet?


Let me show you what they look like after absorbing water for 24 hours [show the other clear container with the Orbeez that have already increased]


God provided protection for the Horites by allowing the Edomites to absorb them.



Walking Your Past

Show video. The kids had trouble defining the term genealogy, didn’t they? But they understood what family history meant. To a lot of people genealogy is just a bunch of names of dead people that don’t matter anymore but if we think of genealogy in terms of family history that might make it more interesting and intriguing. Maybe you here today could care less about your genealogy, a list of dead people, but I bet if I asked you to tell me stories of your parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents that you knew growing up, that would be a different tale.

I was introduced to genealogy at the age of 6 or 7, when I was doing an assignment for a church group I was a part of. At that time, I was told that I was related to a couple of famous people. One was Lucy Webb Ware, who was married to President Rutherford B. Hayes. Historians have christened her "Lemonade Lucy" due to her staunch support of the temperance movement. In fact her husband, the President, banned alcohol from the White House. The other famous person that I was told I was related to was Sam Houston, an American general who played an important role in the Texas Revolution and who was the first governor of Texas. I have disproved that I am directly related to them, but who I have proven that I am related to is my great grandfather who was known under three different names, with three different wives, in three different states. And very possibly turned state’s evidence after getting caught up in a conspiracy to commit arson case with his daughter. Now that’s a family history story. Genealogy is not just the names of people in your family who are dead. Genealogy is the people and the stories that made up their lives.

I read somewhere this past week that studying Genesis 36 is like walking through the gravestones of Esau’s family. You can find out a lot about your family by what is put on their tombstones. You may find that they served in the military and actually served in wartime like my grandfather (here) and my great grandfather (here). You may find that they had some kind of spirituality during their lives like my second great grandparents (here), whose tombstone says, “to die is gain” or my great grandparents (here) who gravestone depicts the Holy Bible on it and says “together forever” which spoke to their hope of being together beyond the grave. You may also find that your ancestors were truly loved like my grandmother (here) whose tombstone says, “in memory of a loving mother and friend.” I wish I could go back in time and listen to the stories of their lives, the good and the bad.

So why is this chapter of names important and what can we find out about Esau and his family as we walk through his tombstones in chapter 36, and specifically verses 9-19? First, this chapter is important because Moses was writing to people who were going to be living in close proximity to the Edomites, Esau’s descendants. The Lord was going to be giving the Israelites specific instructions about these close relatives so they needed to know who they were. Second, this chapter is important because the people of Israel and us today need to realize that worldly blessing, even if it is given by God, does not translate into spiritual blessing. Whether we believe in God and his son, Jesus, or not, our blessings all come from God alone. It is what we do and how we live with those blessings that count. If we are living without the spiritual blessing of the salvation of Jesus Christ and outside the family of God, it doesn’t matter what worldly blessings we have, because once our tombstone has been erected, all that is dust. Which brings us to our big idea this morning which is “if we succeed by worldly standards but fail by God’s standards, we fail where it really matters.” We will see that Esau had worldly wealth in lots of children and grandchildren and that his descendants became powerful chiefs of clans and tribes. They also ruled in a land of their own. But Esau and his descendants failed by Godly standards and in doing so failed where it really mattered.

Let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we stand in awe of you and we praise you for your Word and the opportunities we have to open it and study it together. I pray that your Holy Spirit would speak to each heart and mind that hears your Word this morning and that a transformation would take place in their lives. And we give you all the glory and honor. Amen.

Our first point this morning is Lineage found in Genesis 36:9-14. Follow along as I read. This is what God’s Word says, “This is the account of the family line of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz, the son of Esau’s wife Adah, and Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Bosemath. The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz. Esau’s son Eliphaz also had a concubine named Timna, who bore him Amalek. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Adah. The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Bosemath. The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon, whom she bore to Esau: Yeush, Yalam and Korach.”

This morning we will walk through Esau’s family cemetery and see his family stories and the important truths that we can learn from them. The first thing we notice is that this section starting with verse 9, starts the same way as the last section did in verse 1. The author repeats “this is the account of Esau” but adds that he is now the father of the Edomites. This repetition is very unusual in the biblical tolodots. It is possible that once the family moved to Seir and either settled or conquered the land, a new record was kept with a new starting point, even though it continued the family history of Esau. The fact that he is now the father of a group of people called the Edomites, compares with Jacob who is also known as Israel and was going to be the father of a group of people called the Israelites. If you remember, in Genesis 25, we saw that Rebekah was pregnant with the twins, Esau and Jacob, and they were warring inside of her, she inquired of the Lord and he told her that there were two nations in her womb. This chapter shows that the expectation of an Edomite nation has been met. ​​ 

The Edomites are now fully entrenched in the hill country of Seir. Last week we saw Esau start his family and then move out of the Promised Land, where his father and mother were living, into the hill country of Seir. That Esau dwelt securely in Seir implied that the Lord would establish his descendants in the land. This move outside the Promised Land is important as we walk Esau’s past through the gravestones of his family. The second thing you might notice is that we saw a lot of the same names last week. We have already been introduced to Esau’s three wives – Adah, Bosemath, and Oholibamah. We also saw what their names meant: Adah means “the adorned one” or “ornament”, Bosemath means “the perfumed one” or “spice” and Oholibamah means “tent of the high place” which gives the connotation of “tall” and “stately.” From their names we can learn that Esau had a very beautiful family by worldly standards. Remember back then names weren’t just given because they sounded nice; they were given because they meant something (think Jacob which means, “heel-grabber” and “deceiver”). We can notice that each of their names focuses on some outward feature of beauty or sensuality because that is what they found valuable to them.

We have also already been introduced to Esau’s sons born to him by these three wives. Adah bore one son, called Eliphaz and Bosemath bore one son, Reuel. And Oholibamah bore Esau three sons, Yeush, Yalam, and Korach. Eliphaz means “pure gold”, Reuel means “friend of God”, Yeush means “the Lord helps”, Yalam means “to conceal” and Korach means “bald.” As we look at this list there is one name that you may or may not recognize. That is Eliphaz and it is believed that he is the same Eliphaz who was one of the friends of Job. Later when we talk about his sons, one of them is called Teman and he becomes a duke or chief. In the book of Job, Eliphaz is identified as a Temanite. Also, if you didn’t know, scholars believe that Job was written during the times of the Patriarchs and they believe it is actually the first book of the Bible written chronologically. So it is possible that Job is living in or near the land of Seir with the Edomites and that is where his book takes place. As we go back to the names of Esau’s sons we again see that they aren’t focused on the spiritual but the worldly. Now there are 2 names out of the 81 names in this chapter that possibly show a belief in the one true God, Reuel “friend of God” and Yeush “the Lord helps.” But it is also possible that they were connected to idolatry and worship of false gods.

What we can learn by walking through Esau’s family cemetery and from the names of his sons is that there is no mention of barrenness. If you remember, the wives of the Patriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, all struggled with being barren. They had to rely on God to open their wombs so they could have children. And God opened their wombs in his timing and according to his plan and purpose. The patriarchs were all promised that they would have offspring like the “stars in the sky” and the “sand on the seashore” but it wasn’t going to happen in the normal human way; it was going to happen in a miraculous spiritual way. Esau and his wives did not have the same problem. Esau was wealthy in sons and for all intents and purposes he was able to have children all on his own without any help from God.

Next we continue to see Esau’s worldly wealth increase but no spiritual wealth mentioned as God blesses Esau with grandchildren. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman which means “south” who I’ve already talked about in relation to Job, Omar which means “eloquent”, Zepho which means “clean/pure”, Gatam which means “thin” and the meaning of Kenaz is unknown. Then we come to the second specific name I want to mention. In verse 12 we see that Eliphaz had a concubine named Timna and she bore him a son called Amalek. Now, Amalek would have been a name that would have made the first hearers perk up as he was the ancestor of the Amalekites who were bitter enemies of the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 25:17-19, we see these words, “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!” God commanded the Israelites to “blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven” because they had “no fear of the Lord.” It is important to have a righteous, reverent fear or awe of the Lord so he doesn’t “blot us out.” We only need to look at ourselves and look around us to see what he has done and is doing in the world, in our church and in our lives. This prompts me to ask a question: Do you have a righteous, reverent fear or awe of the Lord in your life? If not, this first next step is for you: My next step is to cultivate a righteous, reverent fear of the Lord in my life. Next, we see the sons of Reuel. Nahath which means “clear/pure”, Zerah which means "dawning, shining”, Shammah which means "to hear” and Mizzah which is unknown. Lastly, we notice that the sons of Esau and Oholibamah are mentioned, which we already talked about, but there are no grandsons mentioned. It is possible they didn’t have any offspring but they are still be important as we move to the next point.

The second point this morning is Legacy found in Genesis 36:15-19. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “These were the chiefs among Esau’s descendants: The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, Korach, Gatam and Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah. The sons of Esau’s son Reuel: Chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the chiefs descended from Reuel in Edom; they were grandsons of Esau’s wife Bosemath. The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: Chiefs Yeush, Yalam and Korach. These were the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah. These were the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these were their chiefs.”

As we continue walking through Esau’s family cemetery the family stories again come alive. As I read these verses you may have seen redundancy and it is true but don’t let that give you the idea that there is nothing to learn from this section. First, let me point out the progression of the lists we see in each section. In section one, verses 1-8, we saw Esau who is Edom and his wives and children. In section two, verses 9-14, we saw Esau, the ancestor of the Edomites with his wives, children and grandchildren. The significance is that Esau’s rich family history is growing. This third section, verses 15-19, again shows a progression from a family to the beginnings of a nation and Esau’s descendants as the rulers of that fledgling nation. This is important because it continues to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham to make him the “father of many nations” which we saw in Genesis 17:4. By including Esau’s descendants and their ascendancy as rulers implies that Edom’s rise was the consequence of God’s blessing and that his blessing reached outside the line of Jacob. And the proliferation of Edomite tribes fulfills God’s intention to “bless all the peoples of the earth” as we saw in Genesis 12:3 which would happen by bringing salvation to the nations.

We notice that the children and grandchildren of Esau are now “chiefs” or some translations say “dukes.” The word for duke comes from a Latin word meaning captain or leader. The Hebrew word has the same significance and is the term for a thousand. The dukes or chiefs were probably leaders or captains over a company of one thousand men. It is important that we see these names as chiefs and clans and not just sons and grandsons. Again, we see the same names are mentioned but there are a few differences in the list from verses 9-14 and the list here in verses 15-19. First, the order in which grandsons, Gatam and Kenaz are mentioned changes. This reason for this change is seemingly unknown or didn’t matter. In verse 16 we see an addition of a name, Korach, which is represented as a son of Eliphaz. Korach is also the name of one of the sons of Oholibamah. Again, what is important here is that Korach is the name of a clan and not just a son and or grandson. The commentators say that it could mean that there was a portion of the clan of Korach that split; one portion stayed affiliated with Oholibamah and the other portion affiliated themselves with the clans connected to Eliphaz. These were first and foremost political alliances. These weren’t spiritually minded peoples; these were secular and political entities looking for prestige, power and position. (Big Idea)

The next thing that we can glean as important from this list of clans and political alliances is that there are twelve tribes. They are represented by the nine grandsons and three sons of Esau born to him by Oholibamah. This number is reached by counting the split clan of Korach as one and omitting Amalek who is disqualified because he is the son of a concubine. This means that Ishmael, Esau and Jacob all became the father of twelve tribes. Twelve being the number of completeness again shows us that God’s promises to the patriarchs are being completely fulfilled. God doesn’t forget his promises ever even when it includes non-covenant peoples.

The last thing we can learn from this section of walking through Esau’s family cemetery is that in contrast to the expanding, powerful Esau, Jacob was dwelling in the land of the sojournings of his father. At this time, he had no clans, no full tribes and no lands to govern. Esau was an ever-growing family with chiefs and a land that his clans are ruling. Jacob like his father and grandfather before him was a sojourner, an alien in an alien land. It would be another 400+ years until the tribes and nation of Israel would come into their Promised Land and finally see the promises of God fulfilled in their family. Delitzsch notes poignantly that “secular greatness in general grows up far more rapidly than spiritual greatness.” The promised spiritual blessings demands patience in faith, and emphasizes that waiting while others prosper is a test of faithfulness and perseverance. God will give the promised blessings to Jacob’s seed but only after a long refining and proving of the faith. That prompts me to ask and for us to think about a couple of questions. Do you find yourself at this moment waiting for God’s blessings as others around you have seemingly received theirs already? Do you feel like you are going through God’s refining fire at this very moment? As you ponder these questions, maybe these next steps are for you: My next step is to ask God to give me patience and faithfulness as I wait on his timing and perfect plan to receive his blessings. My next step is to ask God for perseverance as he refines me in his fire, proving my faith.

My conclusion comes from a series on Genesis on written by Steven J. Cole: On the Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland, a man spent five years and a lifetime of savings building a 62‑foot steel yacht that weighed 126 tons. On the day of its launching, he invited a local band to play and the whole town turned out to help him celebrate. He planned a voyage around the world as soon as the boat was launched. The band played, the bottle of champagne was smashed across the bow, and the ship was lowered into the water. But it sank to the bottom of the harbor! What good is a beautiful boat that doesn’t float? That man wasted five years and a lot of money building a useless thing‑‑a boat that didn’t float. What good is a successful life that ends, whether in 25 or 85 years, if the person is not ready for eternity? “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” Today’s tour through Esau’s cemetery is over and I hope it’s made you think about your life and what you are living for. While we still live, we all have a choice: To join Jacob and his descendants in waiting patiently for God to fulfill His covenant promises to us, as we labor for His coming kingdom. Or, to look over at Esau, prospering in the world, and join him in the pursuit of secular success. If we succeed by worldly standards, but fail with God, we have failed where it really matters. Whether we fail or succeed by worldly standards, if we succeed with God, we will have true and lasting success.

As the ushers prepare to collect the tithes and offering and as Gene and Roxey come to lead us in a final song, let’s close our study of God’s Word in prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, as we contemplate you and the mighty deeds you have done in your Word and are still doing today, I pray that we would stand in awe of you and that we would cultivate a righteous, reverent fear of you. You are the Lord God Almighty!!! Help us to be patient and faithful as we wait on your blessings in our lives according to your perfect plan for each one of us. And daily give us perseverance as you continue to refine us in your fire, proving our faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.














The God of Grace

(Genesis 36:1-8)



“If you're familiar with Genesis 36, you know that it's nothing but a list of the descendants of Esau—their names, their wives, their children, their flocks, their herds. There were so many of them that they had to leave Canaan, cross the Jordan, and go to their own country called Edom (which is another name for Esau). In the ancient Near East, a man's wealth was measured in three ways: by the number of his children, his flocks and herds, and the land he possessed. Esau had all three of those things in spades. By any standard, Genesis 36 tells us that he was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived. He even had his own country! But remember what God says next about Esau: ‘Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated.’


Isn't that interesting? What does that tell us in Genesis 36? Why did God, through the Holy Spirit, go to the trouble of including this list of Esau's descendants that also boasts their wealth?


I think two great truths emerge from Genesis 36: (1) If this is how God treats those he really hates, he truly is a good and gracious God, and (2) you had best not mistake material blessing for spiritual blessing.


Source: Hershael York, in the sermon "The Dark Side of Grace,"





  • ME

    • Moving on

        • When I served with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), God moved me two times

          • I started as Local Director for Hardin & Hancock Counties in Ohio

            • God provided a young man to take my place as Local Director when I stepped up to become State Director

            • God has used him to take the local ministry far beyond what I had imagined

            • It went from being the Hardin & Hancock Counties Chapter to the Greater Findlay Chapter

            • It is now the West Central Chapter in Ohio, serving multiple counties

          • After serving as State Director for 2 years, they asked me to come serve as the Associate Director of Finance & Administration for the USA Ministries Department at the world headquarters

            • God once again provided an incredible State Director to replace me in Ohio

            • He has taken the ministry in Ohio far beyond what I had envisioned

        • I truly believe that God moved me for two purposes

          • First, to use my gifts and abilities in the State Office of CEF of Ohio and the USA Ministries Department at the world headquarters

          • Second, to accomplish His plan and purpose for the local chapter and state office in Ohio


  • WE

    • Moving on

        • There are probably people here today who have experienced the same kind of movement

        • Perhaps it was movement within the same company

        • Other times it is movement to a different company

        • It can be movement within the same community or state and at other times it can be movement to another community or state

        • Some of us have experienced movement from one church to another, so we can use our gifts and abilities for His glory and so He can accomplish His plan and purpose in the previous church


Sometimes the movement can seem painful at the time, but with time, we realize what God was trying to accomplish. ​​ God cares about us and wants what is best for us. ​​ He is a gracious God that blesses even those who choose not to follow Him. ​​ What we will see from this passage today is that . . .


BIG IDEA – God cares for all people.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 36:1-8)

    • Background (v. 1)

        • We see the ninth toledot (the history of/the generations of/the account of/the origins of) statement

        • It is the account of Esau (that is, Edom)

        • This is the next to last toledot statement

        • It is only one chapter long

        • Repeated structure

          • Esau’s genealogy comes directly after Isaac’s death, just like Ishmael’s genealogy came directly after Abraham’s death (Gen. 25:8)

          • As the non-covenant carrier, Esau’s genealogy comes before Jacob’s, just like Ishmael’s came before Isaac’s (Gen. 25:12-18)

          • God blessed Ishmael and Esau, even though they were not the covenant carriers

        • While God certainly blessed Esau, we will see that he married worldly wives and moved to a another land

    • Worldly Wives (vv. 2-5)

        • Esau married Canaanite women

          • Adah (aw-daw’) daughter of Elon (ay-lone’) the Hittite

            • Adah means “ornament”

            • In Genesis 26:34 Elon’s daughter is named Basemath (bos-math’/bose-math’)

            • As we see in this genealogy Basemath is said to be Ishmael’s daughter

          • Oholibamah (o”-hol-ee-baw-maw’/ah-holy-vaw-maw’) daughter of Anah (an-aw’) and granddaughter of Zibeon (tsib-one’/seize-own) the Hivite

            • Oholibamah means “tent of the high place”

            • Some scholars believe that her name also identified her occupation as a shrine prostitute, but that is not clear

          • Basemath (bos-math’/bose-math’) daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth (neb-aw-yoth’/nev-eye-yoth’)

            • Basemath means “spice”

            • In Genesis 28:9 Esau married Mahalath (makh-al-ath’/mach-ha-lath’), Ishmael’s daughter and Nabaioth’s sister

          • What do we make of the different names given in this genealogy for Esau’s wives?

            • “And what the different accounts have in common may be especially significant: ​​ ‘the nationalities of Esau’s wives are more important than their names.’ ​​ Marrying Canaanite women is by implication an inferior move compared with marrying within the clan of Terah, as Isaac and Jacob do.” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 563]

            • While the names are not the same in the two lists of Esau’s wives, the order of their nationalities remain the same – Hittite, Hivite, and Ishmaelite

            • Canaanite women would have been considered worldly in our modern culture

          • Application

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s desire is for us to be equally yoked.

            • In Deuteronomy 7 we see Moses giving the Israelites instructions about driving out the nations from the Promised Land

              • When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations – the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you – and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. ​​ Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. ​​ Do not intermarry with them. ​​ Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you (Deuteronomy 7:1-4)

              • The Lord, through Moses, made it clear that the inhabitants of the Promised Land were worldly – they were worshiping other gods

              • The Israelites were not to marry them, but rather to totally destroy them

            • Paul tells the Corinthian believers not to form binding relationships with unbelievers

              • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. ​​ For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? ​​ Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? ​​ What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? ​​ What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? ​​ What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? ​​ For we are the temple of the living God. ​​ As God has said: ​​ “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

              • Paul is not telling us to never associate with unbelievers, because how can we share the Gospel with them

              • Paul even tells Christians to stay with their unbelieving spouses (1 Cor. 7:12-13) [NIV Application Bible, footnote on 2 Cor. 6:14-18]

              • Paul is cautioning us to not lock ourselves into personal or business relationships that could compromise our witness or faith [NIV Application Bible, footnote on 2 Cor. 6:14-18]

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Evaluate my personal and business relationships to make sure I am not compromising my witness or faith.

          • Esau had compromised his faith by turning his back on what his father and mother had modeled for him and pursued worldly women for his wives

          • Even though Esau compromised his faith, God still blessed him with children, because God is gracious

          • God cares for all people.

        • Sons of Esau

          • These sons were born in Canaan (perhaps he had other sons born in Seir)

          • The order of the wives changed when the sons were announced – it is now Adah (aw-daw’), Basemath (bos-math’/bose-math’), and Oholibamah (o”-hol-ee-baw-maw’/ah-holy-vaw-maw’)

          • Sons

            • Eliphaz (el-ee-faz’) born to Adah – means “my God is (fine) gold”

            • Reuel (reh-oo-ale’) born to Oholibamah – means “friend of God”

            • Jeush (yeh-eesh’/yeah-oosh’) born to Basemath – means “assembler”

            • Jalam (yah-lawm’/yeah-lawm’) born to Basemath – means “concealed”

            • Korah (ko-rakh’/core-rack’) born to Basemath – means “bald”

        • What we see next in the narrative is the migration of Esau to Seir

    • Family Flight/Household Hustle (vv. 6-8)

        • Esau’s household

          • Wives – Adah, (aw-daw’) Oholibamah (o”-hol-ee-baw-maw’/ah-holy-vaw-maw’), and Basemath (bos-math’/bose-math’)

          • Sons – Eliphaz (el-ee-faz’), Reuel (reh-oo-ale’), Jeush (yeh-eesh’/yeah-oosh’), Jalam (yah-lawm’/yeah-lawm’), and Korah (ko-rakh’/core-rack’)

          • Daughters (no names are given, no number is given)

          • Members of his household (probably included hired hands, slaves, etc.)

        • Esau’s possessions

          • Livestock

          • All other animals

          • All the goods he had acquired in Canaan

        • Reason for the move

          • Esau and Jacob’s possessions were too great

          • The land could not support the livestock from both brothers

          • “Although Esau is outside the covenant promise, God’s blessing extends to him in two ways: ​​ children (vv. 4-5) and prosperity (vv. 6-7).” [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 393]

          • God cares for all people.

        • Final destination

          • Hill country of Seir [show map]

          • “It lies southeast of the Dead Sea, south of Moab, an area which today represents the southern part of the kingdom of Jordan.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 296]

          • “Esau was already living there in Gen. 32-33, which implies that his relocation took place during Jacob’s twenty-plus years in Harran.” ​​ [Goldingay, 564]

          • The eastern part of Seir was close to the desert

            • Show Seir picture #1

            • Show Seir picture #2

          • Isaac’s blessing of Esau was really an anti-blessing, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above. ​​ You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. ​​ But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.” ​​ (Genesis 27:39-40)

        • Application

          • God had to move Esau from the Promised Land, so that Jacob could possess the land as the covenant carrier

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Sometimes God moves people to accomplish His plan and purpose.

            • “With the migration of Esau from the Promised Land, the stage is now set for God to fulfill his promises to Israel.” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 484]

            • As I mentioned at the beginning of the message, I know that God moved me for two reasons – to use my gifts and abilities in a different location and to accomplish His plan and purpose in the previous location

            • Perhaps you have experienced that in your own life

            • Maybe God is prompting you now to consider a move

              • It may be a move within the same company you are working in

              • It may be a move to another town

              • The move could be to a different state

              • Perhaps God is calling you to move to a different company

              • Maybe God is calling you to move into ministry or missions

            • Those moves are not always for negative reasons, but because God wants to accomplish His plan and purpose

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Determine if God is calling me to make a move, and then be obedient to that calling.


  • YOU

    • Do you need to evaluate your personal and business relationships to make sure they are not compromising your witness and faith?

    • Is God calling you to make a move?


  • WE

    • As a church we also need to make sure that our personal and business relationships are not compromising our witness and faith

    • What move is God calling us to make, so that His plan and purpose can be accomplished?



It would be easy for us to connect with Esau, because it seems like God blessed him and that his life was not as difficult as Jacob’s was. ​​ We may not know the whole story of Esau from Scripture.


In distinction to Esau, there's Jacob, God's favored one. What did Jacob get? He got a tent. He lived his entire life in a tent with his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. He never had a house. They lived nomadic lives, always wandering around. Yet we live in an age of Christianity where we value Esau more than Jacob. We interpret the goodness of God more by the blessing of Esau than by the favor God bestowed on Jacob. If Esau lived today, we would put him on TV. He would sit there on the couch, and we would ask him, ‘Tell us how God has blessed you and how we can have it as well.’ Jacob wouldn't be invited to go anywhere. Nobody would want to hear his story. Can you imagine him stopping by a television studio?”


Source: Hershael York, in the sermon "The Dark Side of Grace,"




We will see in the coming weeks that Jacob’s life was filled with heartache as we follow his line through Joseph



The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

One of my favorite movies is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It is a 1966 spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as "the Good", Lee Van Cleef as "the Bad", and Eli Wallach as "the Ugly". The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find a fortune in buried Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of the American Civil War. Clint Eastwood, plays Blondie, who is a good, but nowhere near perfect, humane bounty hunter. Lee Van Cleef, plays “Angel Eyes”, who is a ruthless, borderline-sadistic mercenary, who takes pleasure in killing and always finishes a job for which he is paid. Eli Wallach plays Tuco or the “Rat”, who is a fast-talking, cunning, cagey, resilient, and resourceful Mexican bandit, who is wanted by the authorities for a long list of crimes. Throughout the movie, Blondie and Tuco, run a scam on the sheriffs in the country. Blondie turns Tuco in, collects the bounty, and then saves him right before he is about to be hanged. After a number of these rescues, Tuco complains about being the one sticking his neck out and Blondie leaves him for dead in the desert. Tuco survives and captures Blondie and force-marches him across the desert until he is near death with dehydration.

A chance encounter with a civil war soldier who has buried the confederate gold leaves Tuco with the name of the cemetery and Blondie with the name of the grave where the gold is buried. Tuco needing Blondie’s help, nurses him back to life. They then find themselves in a Union prison camp where Angel Eyes is also trying to discover the location of the cemetery the gold is buried in. All three embark on the quest to find the gold, and in the final scene, there is a three way duel to decide who gets the gold. In the end, Blondie wins the duel with Angel Eyes and gets the gold and splits it with Tuco, but not before making him dig up the gold and sparing his life once again. Blondie’s character is considered the “good” one but he has many flaws and doesn’t always do the right thing. He also goes through many ups and downs throughout the movie but in the end he gets the reward.

This story of a “good” but flawed and nowhere near perfect person, going through many ups and downs, but getting the reward in the end, reminds me of the story of Jacob. He is the “good” one in that he will be the next covenant carrier of God’s chosen people. He has been a liar and deceiver and has been deceived himself. His life has been full of good, bad and ugly, some of which is his own doing, but he has been rewarded with a new name and later his descendants will possess the Promised Land and he will have children like the dust of the earth. In our passage this morning Jacob’s good, bad and ugly will continue. Jacob gets a new son, but loses a favored wife. He also has a new sorrow because of the actions of his firstborn and another death in the family. But in the end Jacob is given a new standing as he takes over the patriarchal role from his father. God’s blessing continues to be poured out and God’s plan continues to move forward no matter what happens, be it birth or death or heinous crime. Which brings us to our big idea this morning that the good, the bad and the ugly of life can’t stop God’s promises, blessing, and plan for his people. According to God’s will, His promises, blessing, and plan can’t be stopped in the world, in the church or in our lives because of what we do or because of what happens to us. ​​ 

Let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you this morning humbly asking for your Holy Spirit to speak to us as we open your Word. May we be attentive to your Spirit as we open our hearts and minds to what you want us to know and learn today. Thank you for this opportunity to be gathered together in your house with your people for this purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

There are three points this morning. The first is A New Son and is found in Genesis 35:16-20. This is what God’s Word says, “Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.”

After God meets Jacob at Bethel and reaffirms the promises to him, Jacob and his family leave Bethel, going in the direction of Ephrath. While they were still some distance away, Rachel goes into labor. We are told that she is having great difficulty in giving birth. Rachel must have been really pregnant when they left Bethel and we may wonder why they didn’t just stay there if she was ready to give birth. It doesn’t say God commanded them to leave Bethel like he did to leave Shechem. In fact, back in verse 1, God told Jacob to settle in Bethel. We are not told why they moved on from Bethel but it may have had something to do with returning home to reunite with his father, Isaac. This would have been in keeping with his vow in Genesis 28:21 that if God would protect Jacob so he would “return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God.”

In the middle of her difficult childbirth, her midwife tells her not to despair because she is having a son. This seems to be a weird thing to say to Rachel knowing that she is dying. But in that day and age it would have been a most comforting thought for a woman who knew she was going to die giving birth. We know that the birthing of a boy was very important as it meant that the lineage and family name would be carried on. So the midwife, knowing Rachel was going to die, comforted her with the fact that she was having a baby boy. Rachel knowing she was dying named her son, Ben-Oni which means, “son of my trouble or sorrow.” It seems that Rachel refused the comfort that her midwife tried to give her. Interestingly, this is the only child born to Jacob that the author of Genesis does not give the meaning of their name.

Then we see something happen that is rare in the Bible. Jacob changes his newborn son’s name to Benjamin, which means, “son of my right hand.” The right hand was the side of honor, power and favor and brought to mind skill and wisdom. Psalm 110:1 says, “The Lord says to my lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” And Ecclesiastes 10:2 says, “The heart of the wise inclines to the right but the heart of the fool to the left.” Saul, the first king of Israel and Paul the Apostle both came from the tribe of Benjamin. Why did Jacob change his name? A lot of times children whose mothers died in childbirth were blamed and Jacob didn’t want his son to be saddled with guilt every time his name was used. He probably also wanted the memory of his beloved wife to be a pleasant one whenever he called his son’s name. Because he was the son of the favored wife, Jacob gave Benjamin a special place, at his right hand.

This episode would have reminded the first hearers of a couple of things. First, Rachel named her firstborn son, Joseph which means “may God add.” Rachel’s prayer to the Lord, when she had Joseph, was that he would give her another son. This birth was the fulfillment of that prayer. Second, it would have also reminded them of Rachel’s words to Jacob in Genesis 30:1, “give me children or I will die.” Ironically, having this child would cause Rachel’s death. Third, they would have been reminded of Jacob’s judgment of death on the one who stole Laban’s household gods. It may be significant that her death comes after Jacob orders his family to get rid of their false gods. But we shouldn’t believe that Rachel’s death was a judgment from God. Weirsbe says, “Life is full of good and bad, joys and sorrows and the same baby that brought joy also brought tears.” This reminds us of our big idea: the good, the bad and the ugly of life can’t stop God’s promises, blessing, and plan for his people.

Finally, we are told that Rachel dies and she’s buried on the way to Ephrath probably on or near the site that Benjamin was born. Jacob honored his beloved wife’s memory by putting a pillar over her burial tomb and the author tells us the pillar was still there when Genesis was written. This is the third time he has erected a pillar to commemorate some event or person. In Genesis 28:18 he commemorates God meeting him at Bethel the first time. In Genesis 35:14 he commemorates God meeting him at Bethel a second time and here he commemorates Rachel’s death. Mathews says, “The location of Benjamin’s birth and Rachel’s tomb are important to the narrative providing a reference point for future generations, indicating that the last son was born in the Promised Land. Even Rachel’s burial demonstrated God’s word was truthful. Although she lived outside Canaan her final resting place was permanently in the land of promise as the matriarch of Israel’s tribes, Ephraim & Manasseh (Joseph’s sons) and Benjamin.”

Our second point is A New Sorrow found in chapter 35 verses 21-22a. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.”

Jacob or Israel and his family move again. And again, we may believe he is wanting to return to his father’s house but we see him “pitching his tent” beyond Migdal Eder. Jacob just doesn’t pass through on his way to his father, he “pitches his tent” there meaning he settles down there. We don’t know why he does this but knowing his history we can surmise nothing good will come from it. In Genesis 33:18-19, we see Jacob arriving and camping within the sight of Shechem. Jacob buys a plot of land from the father of Shechem and “pitches his tent” there. We know what happens next in chapter 34 to Dinah and to all the males living in Shechem. So we don’t know why he settled there but it sets the stage for Jacob’s next sorrow. We are told that Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, sleeps with his father’s concubine, Bilhah. Notice that Bilhah who has always been mentioned in relation to Rachel is now identified in relation to Jacob making this a crime against his father.

We may wonder what is going on here but if we think about who Bilhah is it may shed some light on it. She was the maidservant given by Laban to Rachel upon marrying Jacob. She had two sons to Jacob, Dan and Naphtali. Now that Rachel was dead it is possible that Bilhah would take over the favored place that Rachel held with Jacob and in his household. Also, we remember that Reuben was Leah’s firstborn son so this may have been a way to disgrace Bilhah so his mother could take over the favored place. Also, Reuben as the firstborn would have received his father’s concubines, servants, etc. upon Jacob’s death, but he was not yet dead. This is the equivalent to the Prodigal Son wanting his inheritance before his father had actually died. This just wasn’t how it was done in that culture.

All the commentators pretty much agree that Reuben wanted to steal Jacob’s authority within the family. For a son to sleep with his father’s wife was a declaration that he was now the head of the family. Did Reuben think he could run the family better than his father? Is Jacob losing control of his family? In the last chapter his daughter, Dinah, is defiled and he hears about it but what does he do? He waits till her brothers get home instead of taking care of it himself as the father and head of the household. What does he do here when Reuben sleeps with Bilhah? It says he heard about it but our scripture doesn’t say he does anything about it. His authority seems to be eroding more and more with each episode. Wenham says, “Posing these questions before the Joseph story begins gives us a sense of tension between Jacob and his sons descended from Leah and between the sons of Bilhah and Rachel on the one hand and the sons of Leah on the other.” This short isolated episode gives us the indication that the good, the bad and the ugly in the next generation will again concern birthright, inheritance and favoritism.

What Reuben did would have been considered a heinous crime and the penalty would have been death and God’s curse. The name “Israel” is mentioned three times in verses 21-22 which emphasizes the tribal implications of Reuben’s crime against his father. This coming on the heels of God’s blessing of Jacob and reminding him of his new name, Israel, shows that this crime was committed against not only Jacob but God. By trying to take Jacob’s place within the family he is also trying to take Jacob’s place as the next covenant carrier that God had bestowed on him. We will have to wait another fourteen chapters to see how Jacob finally handles this situation but for now this episode is gone as quickly as it came which speaks to the author’s horror at what transpired. In Genesis so far we have seen that scripture doesn’t gloss over sin and wickedness but it doesn’t sensationalize it either.

Our third point this morning is A New Standing found in chapter 35 verses 22a-29. This is what God’s Word says, “Jacob had twelve sons: The sons of Leah: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram. Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”

What we see first is this list of the twelve sons of Jacob. With the birth of Benjamin, the family of Jacob is complete and these sons will be the ancestors of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. The list starts with Leah and her children with Reuben specifically mentioned as the firstborn. Next, comes Rachel and her two sons. These are followed by the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah. This listing of the sons by their mothers focuses us on the rivalry between the brothers that we will see in the Joseph story. This list also emphasizes the faithfulness of God in keeping his promise that Jacob would have offspring like the dust of the earth. And the fact that they reside in Canaan fulfills the promise of land to Jacob.

The list of names is followed by the caveat that these sons of Jacob were born to him in Paddan Aram. But, we know that Benjamin was born in Canaan, in the Promised Land, so what is the author trying to tell us? There are times when the Bible is more interested in making a point than being factual. The point is that just like the first hearers, eleven of Jacob’s sons, who would be the ancestors of the twelve tribes, were also born outside the Land of Promise. They had to make a pilgrimage to the Promised Land just like the first hearers are going to have to do later on. The first hearers are better able to relate to the twelve sons of Jacob who would become their ancestors. The fact that Benjamin was born in the Promised Land would impact the nation of Israel as well later on. Being born in the land meant that he had clear title to it. And later on the place where he was born and where Rachel was buried will be part of the land that the tribe of Benjamin occupied when they came out of slavery and entered into Promised Land. This list of Jacob’s sons is a witness to God’s blessing that these sons were only the beginning of the chosen nation to come. This list is also evidence that God’s promises, blessing and plan will continue in spite of sin and death. Big Idea

Lastly, we see the reuniting of Isaac and Jacob and the obituary of Isaac as his toledot comes to a close. We notice the lack of emotion in their meeting unlike the emotion that we saw when Jacob and Esau reunited. It is significant that Isaac is now living in Mamre or Hebron. The last we saw he was living in Beersheba. It may be that Isaac moved to Mamre when Rebekah died so she could be buried in the Cave of Macpelah. We know from Genesis 49:31 that she was buried in the family tomb that Abraham had purchased from Ephron in Genesis 23:17. This move also makes sense in that Isaac would be buried in the same tomb when he passed away. The identification of Hebron associates Jacob with his ancestors, Abraham and Isaac.

Next, we see Isaac’s obituary. He lived one hundred and eighty years which was eighty years after he thought he was dying when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. Chronologically, this means that he lived to see the day that Joseph was sold into slavery. It says Isaac breathed his last and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. “Gathered to his people” meant he was part of an ongoing family beyond the grave. He was also “old and full of years” meaning he lived to a ripe old age and was satisfied with the good long life he had. He was ready to be reunited with his family who had gone before. This parallels the obituary of Abraham which connects Isaac and subsequently Jacob to the chosen patriarchs. Isaac was admittedly the least talked about of the patriarchs but he lived longer than his father and his son. ​​ He was a most important bridge between Abraham and Jacob even though less is recorded about his life than about his father, sons and grandson, Joseph. Isaac was essential to the survival of the chosen family and the perpetuation of the promises of God. Genesis 21:12b says, “Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”

Finally, we see that his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. The death of Isaac brought his sons together just as the death of Abraham brought together Ishmael and Isaac. The mention of Esau sets us up for his genealogy seen in the next chapter. Wenham says, “Isaac is buried in the only real estate acquired by Abraham in Canaan, at Mamre, a place where the promises had been fully revealed. So the death and burial of Isaac in ripe old age in Mamre is a pledge of Israel’s ultimate possession of the land.” Isaac’s death changed Jacob’s standing. He was now the head of the covenant family and heir to the family blessings and promises. He not only acquired Isaac’s great wealth but also inherited all that was involved in the Abrahamic covenant. His God would now be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

As I conclude today, I want to talk about two things we can notice in chapter 35. The first is spiritual renewal. Last week, Pastor Stuart talked about Jacob needing to be spiritually renewed. Why? First, because human memory is faulty. Jacob needed to be reminded of the things he promised the Lord. Second, because human commitment is fickle. Think about why he had to order his family to get rid of their foreign gods? It’s because they had foreign gods. He knew all along that his family had these gods but chose not to do anything about it until confronted by God. Third, because human fortunes change. Jacob made these promises before he had a family and was responsible for anything other than himself. Fourth, because human life is fleeting. Deborah, Rachel and Isaac all die in this chapter. Our lives become so full of work, family, play, etc. that our spiritual life gets left behind and when death happens our sense of being gets turned upside down. We need to be spiritually renewed to meet life’s tragedies in proper, godly way.

So, how is spiritual renewal experienced? First, Jacob needed to get back to basics. The Lord called him back to Bethel where he reminded him of his new name and the earlier promises to him. And Jacob responded by setting up a pillar and pouring a drink offering on it. Second, Jacob needed to get rid of barriers. He needed to rid himself of the foreign gods he had accumulated. He needed to get rid of those things that were producing conflict in his spiritual walk with the Lord. Without doing this there would be no lasting spiritual renewal. Which leads us to our first next step. What are the things in our lives that are producing conflict in our spiritual walk with the Lord? Think about that for a second. Maybe this first next step is for you: to search my life and get rid of the foreign gods that are producing conflict in my spiritual walk with the Lord.

The next step in our spiritual renewal after getting rid of the foreign gods in our lives is daily devotion to our God. This means daily being in God’s Word and hiding God’s Word in our hearts. This means regular participation in public worship and consistent fellowship with God’s people where sharing and caring for one another happens frequently. One of the things we have at Idaville Church to help with our spiritual renewal is the Spiritual Life Journal. The 2023 SLJ with our theme for the year, “More Like Jesus”, just came out and is on the slat wall in the foyer. Inside, are questions that you can ask yourself about your relationship with God. The memory verses that we are learning as a congregation are in there. The Daily Bible Reading Plan is in there. The Spiritual Life Journal can be a guide to help you be spiritually renewed in 2023. That brings us to our second next step which is to use the Spiritual Life Journal as a guide for my spiritual renewal this year.

Now the second thing we can notice in chapter 35 is that despite his spiritual renewal Jacob’s troubles were not over. Spiritual renewal doesn’t exempt the people of God from the ups and downs of life. There are still consequences of our own actions and the actions of those around us. But spiritual renewal does equip God’s people to be strong enough to handle anything that comes their way in a world where sin, death and heinous crime abounds. Wiersbe says, “It means walking with God by faith, knowing that he is with us and trusting him to help us for our good and his glory no matter what difficulties he permits to come our way.

As the ushers prepare to take up the tithes and offerings and the praise team comes forward to lead us, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, as we leave this place this morning, speak to our hearts and minds about our own personal spiritual renewal. Help us to search ourselves and get rid of the foreign gods in our lives that keep us away from a productive personal relationship with you. Guide us through times of ups and downs and never let us forget that they can’t stop your promises, blessing and plan from being fulfilled. In Jesus’s name. Amen.


Idol Dump

(Genesis 35:1-15)



“Responding to a previous calamity, Colorado governor Jared Polis decided upon a practical, utilitarian solution. When a rockslide caused a giant boulder the size of a house to tumble down and gouge a huge chunk from highway 145 near the southwestern town of Dolores, Polis decided to simply leave it there. State officials say that taxpayers will be better served by allowing the boulder to remain as a memorial of the freak accident and rebuilding the highway next to it.


The total cost of rebuilding the section of highway, which includes a new section of guardrail next to the boulder, is estimated at $1.3 million, according to budget estimates. Taxpayers are expected to save around $200,000, which is what it would’ve cost had they decided to blast the 8.5-million-pound boulder into smaller rock fragments. The boulder has been dubbed ‘Memorial Rock,’ because the rockslide happened on Memorial Day weekend.”


Potential Preaching Angle: Whether from unforeseen calamity or serendipitous blessing, it is important to use momentous occasions as memory markers. These help us remember what we've gone through and how God was faithful throughout.


Associated Press, “Colorado Will Leave House-Sized Boulder Along Highway” (6-5-19).





  • ME

    • God’s almighty power

        • When we moved from Missouri to California there were two items that we had to leave in the capable hands of friends

        • I left my Saturn vehicle in the hands of another missionary that attended our church

          • He promised to repair it and sell it for me

          • It was stalling at red lights for no apparent reason

          • He repaired it fairly quickly and was able to sell it quickly

          • He sent me the total amount of money from the sale

          • He didn’t take out any money for parts or labor

          • I experienced the grace of God and His mighty power through that brother

        • We also had to leave the sale of our home in the hands of an incredible husband and wife team

          • We thought we had a buyer, but it fell through on the day we were supposed to close

          • This couple did an awesome job of finding another buyer and then helping us to complete all of the paperwork halfway across the country

          • We saw the power of God through that whole process


  • WE

    • God’s power and grace

        • Every one of us can probably think of a time when we have experienced God’s grace and/or power in our lives

        • Take a moment to reflect on one of the times


A couple of weeks ago we learned about the rape of Dinah and the murders that Simeon and Levi committed as retaliation for her rape. ​​ Genesis 34 was a dark chapter. ​​ However, Genesis 35:1-15 highlights a time of purification and worship following the sins of chapter 34. ​​ Just as God was calling the household of Jacob to purity and worship, He calls us to purity and worship. ​​ That is the big idea this morning.


BIG IDEA – God calls us to purity and worship.


Let’s pray