Persistant Flesh

Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™  I AM Ministries

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Normal I AM

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Persistent Flesh

A pastor I knew emphasized frequently that the flesh is public enemy number one. It is our own fleshly desires that persist in luring us into sin. Even the Apostle Paul, an amazingly obedient servant of God, lamented his struggles with the flesh (Romans 7:14-25). A pastor I know now reminds us that we often give Satan too much credit for our sins – our own fleshly desires are sufficient to cause us to stumble.

In Genesis 36, the genealogy of Esau is recorded. Esau was a man of the flesh, having sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Why, then, did Moses take the time to record a small bit of Esau’s genealogy? Perhaps it is to demonstrate how persistent fallen flesh can be, and typically not in a Godly way. Esau’s posterity bears out this assessment.

When Esau sold his birthright, he fell in the eyes of God (Malachi 1:2-3), lost his blessing, and was cursed (Genesis 27). He was not loved of God as Jacob was. Yet for being the son of God’s beloved Isaac, Esau was honored with a short record of his descendants. Moreover, because his progeny were neighbors to Israel, this record can illuminate the battles between them. Further, this record shows the execution of God’s promise to Abraham, that he would be the “father of many Nations”, along with the answer which Rachel received from God when she consulted Him (Genesis 25:22-23).

Esau moved with his wives and possessions from the land of Canaan because it could not support both his livestock and that of his brother Jacob. He settled in the hill country of Seir, which was the country God had given to him as a possession. He did not have a right by promise, as did Jacob with Canaan, but seemed to receive the right to live in Seir by God’s providence. During Isaac’s life, Esau probably persisted in having occasional interactions in Canaan, but wholly withdrew upon the death of his father.

Regarding his descendants, only the names of Esau’s sons and grandsons are recorded. Moses recorded many lineages in the church of God, but cut short the lineages of those outside God’s church. Esau’s genealogy persists no further than the third and fourth generations; the names of those coming afterwards are lost to oblivion. It is only the pedigree of the Israelites, the heirs of Canaan, from whom were to come the promised seed, that is recorded at any length. Those who treacherously desert God’s church are justly numbered as those who were never in it.

Despite a lack of records, the family of Esau persists and flourishes. His nation increases and is enriched earlier in time than his brother Jacob’s clan. Esau’s bloodline spawned kings long before Jacob’s did. These kings reigned in Edom before any king reigned over Israel. These kings were in place before Moses’ time. God’s promise to Jacob began to work much later in history, but the effect for God’s Kingdom remained longer and had its complete accomplishment in the establishment of Israel. The triumphing of the wicked may be quick, but it is short and soon rotten. The products of promise are slow, but sure and lasting. Nevertheless, it must have been a great trial to Israel to hear of Edom’s pomp and power while they were in bondage in Egypt.

Esau’s descendants persisted in controlling the Promised Land for centuries. Even after Joshua conquered the Promised Land and even after David established his kingdom, the children had to constantly stand guard and do battle against Esau’s descendants. In fact, today David’s descendants continue to do battle against Esau’s clan. Much of the Arab world today is composed of the direct descendants of Esau. Among these included Ayatollah Khomeini, Muammar Qadaffi, and others currently in terrorist organizations. The children of Israel must still stand guard and defend themselves from the constant attacks of Esau’s progeny.

It is normal to be wary of the flesh and to recognize its persistence. Our sin nature is firmly engrained and persists from generation to generation. Nations that God ordains also persist, often for millennia, persisting in the same warring sins as their fathers did. But as Paul reminds us (Romans 7:14-25), the most important war is spiritual, the war between our spiritual nature and our flesh or sin nature. How will you do battle against the sin nature controlling you?

In His love and service,

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ


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