The God of Grace


God cares for all people.

Genesis(102) (Part of the Origins(100) series)
by Stuart Johns(233) on February 5, 2023 (Sunday Morning(346))

Equally Yoked(1), Move(1)


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