Turn to Genesis Chapter 35 tonight and we have in view, just so you know, Chapters 35 and 36. Because Chapter 36 is a list of names that we're going to blow through since it suggests a genealogy and I'll tell you why it's there and why we blow through it and why we do it. But then this way we can begin next time with Joseph's life in Chapter 37. So we want to finish 35 and 36, Lord willing. You know we may not be able to do it that's happened before. The Lord might come in the middle of the study, that it'll be fine.
If we don't finish it out, but at least tonight we're in Genesis chapter 35 and 46. Now once upon a time, there was scorpion and a turtle, scorpions as you know don't swim, turtles do. But one morning the scorpion got up and wanted to make his way across the pond, so he found an suspecting turtle and said, "Excuse me but could I hop a ride on top of you and get to the other side?" The turtle looked at the scorpion said, "You got to be kidding. I know what will happen, I'll be out in the middle of the pond, you on my back half way across, you'll sting me and then I'll drown." The scorpion said, "Well, that's illogical because if I stung you and you drown, I also would go down with you, so that flies against logic."
The turtle said, "Oh, you got a point there, hop on." So they made it across the lake halfway and wouldn't you know it, about halfway across the lake, that scorpion aimed its stinger right at the neck of the turtle and gave it everything it could and stung it. As the turtle started to sink, he turned his head back and said to the scorpion, "Do you mind if I ask something? You said that it would be illogical for you to sting me just a moment ago, so why did you do it?" The scorpion said, "It has nothing to do with logic, it's my nature." And as you can tell, both the scorpion and the turtle did not live happily ever after.
All of us have a sin nature and that nature has a sting to it because we have been stung by sin, its poison within our system. Everyone born has that nature. The sting of death, as Paul said, death has spread to all men, all have sinned. Now Jacob as we saw was a rascal. Jacob was a scorpion. Seem whomever he got around, he'd sting them, he stung his brother Esau, reaping off his blessing. He stung his dad, deceiving him, he stung his uncle Laben. And last week we saw that because he was so passive with what happened to Daina his daughter, he stung his daughter. We serve a God of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances, and fifth chances, and 268th chances. And tonight we see the second chance with Jacob the stinger, the scorpion, he'll catch her. By God bring him back to Bethel and him getting a whole new do-over with the Lord. Now just remember back last week in our study.
We noted that Chapter 34 was a Godless chapter. Godless because the name of God wasn't even mentioned one time in the entire chapter. It was filled with deceit, lust, murder, shame. God was absent from the chapter in name and in principle. Well, if that was a Godless chapter, then Chapter 35 is just the opposite, it's a God-filled Chapter. In fact, the name 'God' appears 11 times in Chapter 35 of Genesis, and another 11 times in names like 'Bethel' House of God. 'El Shaddai', God the Mighty.
So a total of 22 times, a radical departure from a Godless chapter this is a God-filled chapter. And I believe that Chapter 35 is the first revival in the bible and it's a personal revival. It begins within the heart of one individual, that's Jacob, and that revival spreads from the head of the household to the rest of the household. Now the word 'Revive' means to bring back form the dead, or bring back to life, or bring back to consciousness.
Spiritually speaking, Jacob really, really needed a revival. He had not obeyed God, he had not gone back to Bethel as I'll show you tonight. He was lingering far away from God until this Chapter. And here God brings him back.
Charles Finney who was a revivalist and a preacher of revival, century and a half ago said, "All that is necessary for revival, all that revival really boils down to is a new beginning of obedience to God." A new beginning of obedience to God, "I'm going to obey God." I'm awakened to the fact of my sin, the need for repentance, and the desire to obey God. And that happens here in this chapter.
It didn't happen until there was a crisis. And if you noticed that sometimes it takes a crisis. A crisis at home, to awaken us of our real need for God and get us back on track, and ask God for help. So Chapter 35 Verse 1, we read, "then God said to Jacob, Arise. Go to Bethel and dwell there, live there. Stay there, that's your home and make an altar there to God who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau, your brother."
Think back a few chapters. Right after Jacob deceived his dad and stole his brother's blessing and he was running away from home, and he's out in the middle of nowhere, what he thought was a God forsaken place. In the middle of the night he had that vision of a ladder stretched up to heaven and the angels of God descending and ascending. He woke up the next day and said, "Man, this is awesome." Well he didn't quite say it that way, he said, "Truly this is an awesome place. The Lord is in this place." And I knew it not.
That's the first time he recognized God was doing something in his life and so he named that place where he was spending the night, which was in older days, in Abraham's time named Luz, he renamed it Bethel, the House of God. But he made a vow to the Lord. You remember he said, after the Lord spoke to him and he made an altar, he said, "Now if the Lord will be with me, and if the Lord will bring me back to this place, then Yahweh the Lord will be my God."
But he never went back. He's got some unfinished business with God. Now God orders him back. Do you have any unfinished business with God? Is there something between you and God that isn't made right? Then this is a great chapter to study because we see this man going back to Bethel and getting things right with God. And here's the first principle of revival. I'll give you just a few tonight. Number 1, revival came after a period of wickedness.
And I've discovered in studying some of the revivals of the past that that is true. It seems like the nation, the world, the country, the city has experienced an enormous season of wickedness. And then revival comes. After the period of the judges when every man did what was right in his own eyes, remember that phrase from the bible, "There was no King in Israel" the writer says. And every person, every man did what was right in his own mind, his own thinking, his own eyes. It was a very desperate and dark period of time during the judges. Even in the priesthood, even at the tabernacle, there was corruption. Eli the priest, had a couple of sons, they were not righteous. Dad, Eli was passive like Jacob and his two sons were doing wicked things in the tabernacle and he knew about it, but he just didn't say anything about it.
And then Samuel was born. Right after that dark time or right in the middle of that dark time and God used him to bring a revival to that nation. After a season of wickedness, you know they say that the darkest period of the night is the time just before the dawn. Just before the sun comes up, it's the darkest. And so as the world and as our country, if you look around, it seems to get darker and more desperate. It's time to rejoice, it's time to get on our knees and pray, "Lord maybe you'll bring a revival. Revive us again," as the prophet prayed, "Oh Lord".
Second principle of revival, God always initiates the revival. Man doesn't, God does. It was God who ordered Jacob back to Bethel. It wasn't like Jacob woke up and said, "Okay, I'm really convicted, I'm going back to Bethel." He should have, but he didn't. God initiated it. Now why is that important? Because you can pray for revival, but you can't program revival. I remember driving by when I was first a Christian, a church and I saw a sign that just struck me be as being odd, it said, "Revival, this Friday night 7 o'clock." They had scheduled that in their bulletin, they had put it on the books, they announced it to the community that revival would begin at 7 o'clock, Friday. I guess that meant they could live anyway they wanted up until then, they could continue to be dead if they were dead, or unrevived if they were unrevived. But the revival begins at 7, and last until Sunday night at 10.
But why would you want to end something that glorious, first of all. Also, it's not something you conjure up or program or strategize, it's began by God. Begins as God speaks to the heart and does something within the heart, so he orders him back to Bethel.
Verse 2; and Jacob said to his household, and to all who are with him. "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves and change your garments." Well that's quite a thing to say to your family that maybe up to this point you thought was a Godly family. Not that I think he did, but he has to order them, "Put away the idols that you have." It seems, does it not, that a lot of wickedness had been tolerated in this family for a long time. Now it's time to do something about it. And even as God tells him to get back to Bethel, he tells his family, "Now get rid of the idols."
Do you remember some of those idols a few chapters back, once again when Jacob and Rachel and the whole gang decided to leave Paddan Aram and go back to Canaan. And the bible says that Rachel, the wife of Jacob stole her father's idols and hid them. And it really bummed Laban out so much that he have chased them all the way down to the border of Canaan and said, "You stole my gods!" And I've always thought well you've got worthless gods if they can be stolen.
I want my Gods back! Jacob said, "If you can find them, you can kill the one who has them." Well he never did find them because she was sitting on top of them, on top of the saddle in the tent and she said, "You know it's that time of the month dad, pardon me I can't get up and greet you like I normally would." And she just bowled them over with a lie and deceit, but she had stolen the idols.
They've been in the house for some time. Jacob knew about it, again he was passive, he tolerated it and now he says it's time to end that. When you think of idolatry, you probably think of Old Testament, most of us do. We think of bowing before an image, or like this, carrying little images around with you and ascribing, some kind of value or worth to that image as if it is representation of God or a god, or some person and that's idolatry.
But you may remember that John, when he ended his letter First John, he said, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Now that's a New Testament book. So it's not just something Old Testament, nor our idols simply statues that you ascribe some worth or value to. But anything that is a replacement for God or takes up the worship of God could be considered an idol. Keep yourselves from idols. It's a good word for us, are we tolerating anything that's taking the place of devotion to God, only you know and can answer that question.
But many people are, many people's style of worship and religion is to worship idols six days a week and then worship God one day a week. And then they wonder why their worship on Sunday is so lacking, divided heart. Then Jacob says, "Get rid of them, it's time to go on."
I do want sort of pick up on last week's theme and tie this in to this week. You'll notice that Jacob, for the first time, gets involved actively with his children. Admonishing them to get rid of something that wasn't right, up to this point he just, "Whatever", never really gave it much thought. Again he was very passive, but not here. He admonished them. Parents, you have the right, in fact, you have the calling and responsibility to admonish your children.
Paul said, "Bring them up, bring them up, your children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord." You have the right, you have the responsibility to say, "This is right, this is not right. That's wrong. This is acceptable, this is not acceptable." This can be practiced, that cannot be practiced." Finally, even though his kids are much older, he takes the leadership of the home and says that to them here.
I think that of all the tasks we have, the most important task is that of parenting. Here's why. In our culture, about 16% of your child's time will be spent at their educational facility, at their school. One percent of their time will be at Sunday school or a church school of some kind, mid week or on weekends. 1% of a child's time, 83% of that child's time will be at home with some kind of parental influence. So it's unrealistic to say, "Well, I can't understand what happened to my kids, I took them to Sunday school" 1% of their life. When that parent himself or herself never really followed the Lord passionately or had an example to those children. So that 83% of the time, the message they saw in their parents contradicted the message they heard, 1% of the time.
I remember when my son Nate was born. Right out here on the West Side, I mean not like out on the West Side but at a hospital on the West Side. Yeah, we did it out, just real natural. And I remember holding him, he was an average weight, average size, but I remember holding him and it was the first time I'd held him and I thought, first thought is he's so light. He's so light, I hope I don't drop him, that was my first thought, my first fear. Then as I thought about it, he seemed heavier and heavier, as the weight of responsibility for this life came upon me and I saw "Wow!". The next many years must be devoted to training this child and making sure that what he sees and hears at home are the principles of the scripture.
As somebody once said, "A parent is simply a partner with God in discipling children." God wants to disciple them, wants to nurture them and then he uses us to do it. It doesn't mean we're going to be perfect, no parent is. I've never met a perfect parent, I've met some good ones, I've met some bad ones, never met a perfect one. Here's the trouble. The problem is, when we're really experienced at it, we're unemployed. Just when you get the rhythm, just when you get it down, just when you're just at your prime pace, they're grown-up.
Fortunately, there's a lot of latitude and leeway. Children I have found are very resilient and when we make mistakes, it's sometimes as simple as, "Son, daddy did a stupid thing. It was a mistake, would you forgive him?" And maybe even Jacob said, "You know, your father has been dumb. He's not been going back to Bethel, he hasn't been serving the Lord, he's been allowing idols in the house. Would you please forgive me for being a poor father?" Now get rid of the idols. And they did, as you'll see.
Verse 3 then. "Let us arise and go to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God who answered me in the day of my distress, and has been with me in the way which I have gone." You can see his revived commitment to God. So they gave Jacob all the foreign Gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem. So his kids, in seeing the commitment spiritually of the father, they followed suit, they followed his example. This guy is serious, he's doing it.
Now there's a verse that I have heard more than any other verse and I bet you have too. In fact, I'll ask you, what is the one verse you have heard more than any other verse by parents when it comes to their children as looking for hopes to the future? Train up a child Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way which he should go and when he's old he will not depart from it." But the word 'train' in Hebrew 'Hanak', comes from a word which has to do with putting one's finger in date honey and putting it to the lips of a child. It's a practice in the ancient Middle East where a parent would take some date honey in the little finger and touch the lips of the infant. The sweetness would stimulate the sucking reflex and get the child ready to be fed from its mother.
So the idea of Hanak or train meant to stimulate one's taste. So when it says. "Train up a child" it means far more than just give them information. Here's the information, here's the book, read it, do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that. It's to live in such a way that it stimulates their taste for Godliness and righteousness. They look at a life and it's so sweet to see a life governed by God and they go, "I want that". They have a relationship with God, "I want that." That's what it means to train up a child on the way that the should go.
Actually our 16th president, President Abraham Lincoln had it right. He quoted this verse and he said, "If a parent, wants his child to be trained in the way that he should go, he should walk in that way himself." That's the idea. Finally, Jacob is doing it, his children are following suit.
Verse 5, "And they journeyed." Now get this, this is interesting. "And they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon the cities that we're all around them. And they did not pursue the sons of Jacob." Now why is that? What's that all about, why would the terror of the Lord? Well you remember what happened in the last chapter? Have the sons of Jacob killed all of the Shechemites? As news would get around the community, the rest of the Canaanite tribes would be seeking to avenge what happened in Shachem. And they killed the sons of Jacob.
But God was working behind the scenes, but they didn't know it. In the book of proverbs it says, "When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies be at peace with him." Here's a beautiful example of that. Now God is always working behind the scenes, always. You don't know it, you don't see it, but he's working. John Nelson Darby used to say, "God's ways are behind the scenes but he moves all of the scenes that he has behind."
And here he is moving the scenes, moving people into place, moving their attitude, protecting the children of Jacob as they go. The terror of the Lord was upon them. God was protecting them. Years ago, at the church, I had a little remote control car. I mean here at this church, I had. It was given to me as a birthday present. I know what you're thinking way that skate boards, cars, do you ever grow up? Probably not. But this was like a little remote control, electric car and it was just super cool. It had a great range on it and it allowed me as people were walking across the campus to hide and aim the car at them. So as they walked they'd see this car and they jump out of the way and I sort of chase them. Usually I did it with the staff that I knew, I was behind the scenes directing the car, they didn't know it. They were, "Who's doing that? Where is this person?" God's behind the scenes and powerfully it worked.
I saw this first hand. I've told you the story years ago because it happened years ago. I went to the Philippines for the first time to the island of Mindanao way down South. It was at a time of Civil War unrest, and a group called the NPA, the New People's Army, it was a guerilla armed group trying to struggle against the legal government and take it over and assume control. They were traveling around and threatening people and trying to bring them under their control, and they were going to churches for their money, their funding and try to rob the tithes and offerings of the church. Well, they went to one church that I had visited, or I was visiting at the time. And they told me what had happened in that church a few weeks before I got there. And they were, first of all you got to know when they told me the story, there were such emotion as they told it. They were so stoked and then I discovered why. They said, "A few weeks ago, the NPA and two jeeps pulled up outside of our church. The guys got out with their guns, walked right in the middle of a Sunday service, held their guns up and say, "We'll be back next week. We want all of the offerings of the church. If you don't, we'll kill you all." And now they had killed several people, everybody was afraid of them."
The next week, as the church met, now they're telling me the story. And as they're saying, "Next week as the church met" I'm thinking, I wonder how many people actually came to church and met knowing what might happen. They might just say, "You know honey, I don't feel really that great. I'm just going to stay back and I'll hear it from somebody else." Church was full. They spent the time praying, they're on their knees praying, crying out to God. Minutes ticked by, the hour was completed, hour and a half was completed. Their service were about two hours. After the two hours it was all done, no sign, no show.
They had heard later on that day that those two jeeps were on their way on the windy road toward the church, toward the village, on that island of Mindanao. Something happened, a freak accident that overturned the jeeps and the soldiers were killed. And now this church was thanking God that the fear, the terror of the Lord had fallen upon their enemies. And God had protected them.
Verse 6, I don't if we're going to get to 36 if I ramble on like this. So Jacob came to Luz that is Bethel which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who are with him, and he built an altar there and he called the place 'El Bethel'. Now he had called it Bethel last time, now he calls it 'El Bethel'. Now that doesn't mean 'The Bethel'. This is not Spanish, this is Hebrew.
He called the name of the place, 'El Bethel' because there, God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother. El Bethel means, 'God of the House of God.' Bethel means the House of God. 'El Bethel' means 'God of the House of God'. And before we get to that, Bethel was the place where Jacob began a spiritual walk, right? That was the highest level, "that's where God would bring him back too", he said. And that's what Jacob said he would go back to but for years, he was at, let's see Succot at Shechem about 30 miles away from Bethel.
Until now, finally after lingering and meandering he gets back to where God called him. And here's the principle of restoration. God always seeks to bring us to the highest possible level he can. Sometimes we won't allow him to bring us to Bethel, to the highest level, we settle for a different level. We disobey him and we hang out here, or there. We're not at this place of intimate fellowship. Now God will always do the best for us at the level we allow Him to bring us to, but He always seeks to bring us to the highest possible level. And that's why Jesus said to the Church of Ephesus, "Remember from where you have fallen. Repent and do your first works." He didn't say, remember where you are, you don't really have to remember where you are, you just look around, "this is where I am." But remember where you used to be, where you started out at. And if you want to find out where you have fallen or how far you have fallen from the first lave, just go retrace your steps. And you'll see that distance. So God calls them back.
Now Jacob renames it from the House of God to God of the House of God. You know why? Because now he's not impressed with the place, he's impressed with God. Before he was all impressed with the place, he goes "Man, this is an awesome place." And he called it the House of God. But now he's not as impressed with the place, he's impressed with the God of the place. You know what, sometimes we can get so hung up on the House of God that we forget the God of the House.
When I was a kid I heard this over and over again by the priest in my church and the parents, my parents because after church I would run up to my parents, I'd run and chase my brother, and I heard this, "Don't run in church. It's the house of God." Now I like children running in church, I love my children running and jumping and playing and it should be a happy place, not during a service but afterwards, no problem.
We get so hung up on a place and we forget the God of the place. I mean, what is it like when somebody is just sitting in your seat one Sunday or Wednesday? How dare they, that's the place. "That's the place man, that's my place." That's where God speaks to me.
Well question, if God is so big, couldn't God speak to you in another place? No. We can sometimes do that with people, we can elevate people in a pedestal. And especially when we're younger in the Lord and we get fed or impressed or evangelized by somebody. We place them in such high esteem and they're on that pedestal. But as we grow in the Lord, we understand it's really not about them, it's about the Lord in them. It's not the place, it's the Lord of the Place. It's not the preacher, it's the Lord of the preacher.
So now his priorities are right. It's El Bethel. 'The Bethel'. Just kidding, wanted to see if you're listening. Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse died and she was buried below Bethel under the terebinth tree. So the name of it was called, Allon-bachuth, the oak of weeping. This was sad because that was the link to his early childhood development, that was his mother, Rebekah's nurse and she'd obviously been with him for some time and her death would be a sad event, and there's more to come. Then God appeared to Jacob again when he had come from Paddan Aram and blessed him, and God said to him, "Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be called Jacob anymore but Israel shall be your name." So he called his name, Israel.
Also God said to him, "I am God almighty." El Shaddai, that's the name God spoke to Abraham under and introduced himself, "I am El Shaddai, the mighty God. Be fruitful and multiply a nation and a company of nation shall proceed from you and kings shall come from your body." Now here's what's interesting, we have read this before. When he was wrestling with the angel of the Lord, and he got the name, not Jacob but Israel. Now the Lord appears to him and says what he already knows. No new information, whatsoever. He said, "Your name isn't Jacob anymore, it's Israel" and maybe he was thinking, "I already know that."
I think it's not worthy that he didn't get any new information but a reconfirmation of the old information.
Why am I even mentioning that? Well, because sometimes you meet someone who just has to have a new revelation. New information, a new word from God or a new experience. I believe what we need more than anything else is just a reminder of what God already said. Because I don't know about you, but I've read the bible a long time and I forget an awful lot of it. I don't need anything new, I just need a fresh application of the old. Is that right? Isn't that exactly what Jesus did when he appeared to the two on the road to Emmaus, and it says, "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them all the things in the scriptures that were written of him."
They said, "Did not our hearts burn within us, as he spoke to us?" Oh, why did they have such heart burn? Was it a new revelation? No. Was it new information? No, they were Jewish. They were raised, weaned, taught those scriptures in Synagogue, all their lives. But it was a fresh application of the Old Revelation. Their hearts burned as will ours. You're Jacob, but now you're Israel. Not any new information but the affirmation of the Old.
I heard a great story about William Randolph Hearst, the wealthy billionaire who had his mansion in California, it's still there to these days at the museum. William Randolph Hearst had heard of then seen a picture of a piece of art that fascinated him, drew his attention at. And seeing the photograph he said, "I must have that piece of art." He ordered his purveyors to go throughout the world and all the private collections and find out who had it, so he could see if he could buy it. And so they looked for it, and they looked for it. They came back about a week later and they told him that he already owned it and that it was in one of his storage facilities. Boy, that's pretty wretched when you don't even know what you own.
You know what? No different than us. The bible says, "We're blessed with all blessings, all riches in Christ Jesus, in heavenly places." And here we are going "I need more." No you don't. You just need to read the bank book and find out what you already have. You have it, God has given us 2nd Peter Chapter 1, "All things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue."
Now at Verse 12--oh something I didn't mention. God appears to Jacob, right? God appeared to him. Keep this in mind, because this is the last occasion of such an occurrence. It doesn't happen anymore here. In the book of Genesis, God will stop appearing. Now what you're going to see in the next person that's highlighted Joseph is God doesn't speak through an apparition but through dreams. God decided to do that. A vision is what you see when you're awake, a dream is what you see when you're asleep. God can speak through either/or. So God appeared and now that's done.
Verse 12, "The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, I gave to you and your descendants after you, I give this land." So who's land was it? God's. That's the dispute today. Well who's land is that? Does that belong to Israel or the Palestinians? Who's land is it? Answer, short answer, it's God's land. And because it's God's land, God decides who gets to occupy it. And so he promised it to Abraham. But Abraham had many sons. The two most notable were Ishmael and Isaac. God didn't promise it to Ishmael but he did promise it to Isaac. Now, Isaac got a couple of boys, Esau and Jacob. He didn't give it to Esau, but he did give it to Jacob and the 12 Tribes of Israel.
So this land is pretty important because God will reiterate this covenant to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob as they occupy that land. I won't get too political though, I could wander away. So Verse 13, "Then God went up from him in the place where he talked with him." So Jacob set up a pillar in that place where he talked with him, a pillar of stone and he poured a drink offering on it. And he poured it out, this is the first mentioned in the bible of a drink offering.
And Jacob called the place or the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel. Now later on when we get to Exodus, if we get to Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, the next three books in the Pentateuch, you're going to read about drink offerings, and how they're regulated in the laws of Moses.
But those will be very different. This is a drink offering or a libation offering which is the oldest type of offering that we can find in history. It is as simple as taking a drink of a jar or a cup of fluid like water, or wine or whatever you would have and pouring in out, either on a stone altar like this or on the ground. And it was a symbol of being poured out, or pouring ones life out or into, or over to the Lord. That language appears later on when Paul the apostle writes his last book to Timothy. Second Timothy and he knows he's about to die he says, "I am already being poured out as a drink offering. And the time of my departure is at hand. My life is about to be poured out completely, physically."
It's also a picture of Jesus Christ in a sense, for in Psalm 22 the prediction is that he would be poured out like water. Isaiah 53 predicts Jesus the Messiah being poured out for our sins. So here he is, pouring out his drink offering to the Lord, saying "Lord, everything I have is yours. I'm not holding anything back any longer." Revival, man. Total commitment. Yet in the midst of these blessings and revival you'll notice what happens in the next verse. Jacob's beloved wife, Rachel will die. Then he journey from Bethel, and when there was but a little distance to go to Efrath, Rachel labored in child birth and she had a hard labor.
Now I'm convinced, men don't get this. We read this but we don't get this. Would you say so, ladies? I watched my wife in the labor. I didn't get it. All I know is man, that must really hurt. And this is an extraordinarily hard labor that will take her life. Bill Cosby, years ago used to say, "Men, if you want to get an idea of what childbirth is like, try taking your lower lip and stretching it backwards over your head and you'll get some idea of what it would feel like." Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, "Do not fear. You will have this son also." So it was, as her soul was departing for, she died and she called his name 'Benoni' which means 'son of my sorrow'. Benoni, son of my sorrow. But his father called him 'Benyamin', 'Benjamin', 'son of my right hand'.
She said, this is so painful, so hard, his name is 'son of my sorrow'. Dad was smart, getting over temporarily the emotion of the moment, seeing his wife die, he renamed him 'son of my right hand'. Now this had to be heartbreaking for Jacob because this was the woman he loved. Remember from the very first time he saw her, he lifted up his voice and he wept. It was loved at first sight. And he worked for her for seven years and then another seven years.
And thus, the two boys that are born, Joseph which we'll start seeing next time, I hope. And Benjamin, his younger brother. The two born of Rachel become the favorites to Jacob and that is what creates the problem and the rivalry with the rest of the siblings. So Rachel died and was buried on they way to Efrath that is Bethlehem and Jacob set a pillar on her grave which is the pillar of Rachel's grave to this day.
This is the first mention of Bethlehem in the Bible. And see the word Efrath? That means it's down in Judas, the Southern Bethlehem, there were two. That's why when you read at Micah Chapter 5 Verse 2 it says, "But you Bethlehem Efrathfa though you are small among the clans of Judah yet out of you will come forth to me, the one who is to be ruler in Israel, who's goings forth have been from everlasting etcetera. Prophesy of the Messiah, that's the Bethlehem. Here's the first mention of it. This is the place, where Naomi was from. This is the place where Ruth will glean in the fields of Boas. This is the place where King David will be born. This is the place where Jesus Christ will be born and the angels will be singing.
And here's the first mention of it. By the way if you go to Bethlehem today, they will show you a little area, a little dome there in which they call, the "Tomb of Rachel." Then Israel--noticed first time he's not called Jacob, but Israel. "Then Israel journeyed to pitch his tent beyond the tower of Eder, I don't know where the tower of Eder is, no tour guide ever pointed that out to me. But wherever that is, it's just beyond that. And it happened when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and laid with Bilha, his father's concubine.
Remember he had two wives, actually four that bore him children and Bilha was one of them. So his son, his eldest son, Reuben went and lay with or had sexual relations with Bilha, his father's concubine and Israel heard about it. Now the sons of Jacob were 12. We don't exactly know but it could be that Reuben was trying to usurp the authority of his father or at least get in line to be the one who would be sure to be the patriarch of the family maybe even before his father died. We're not quite sure. But this is what we do know, because he did this, whatever he wanted, he lost. Now the inheritance and the birthright will not go to him as first born. Now this is important, remember how last week I had you turn to Genesis 49, to see what happened to Levi and Simeon, as Jacob was on his death bed and he prophesize all his 12 boys.
So now again, turn to Genesis Chapter 49, and let's see what happens to first on the list, which is Reuben. Genesis 49 Verse 2, "Jacob's on his death bed, gathers his sons together", and Verse 1 Genesis 49, but now look at Verse 2. "Reuben, you are my first born, my might in the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father's bed. Then you defiled it."
And then it's as if Jacob turns to all those around him and says, "He went up to my couch." So Reuben forfeited the place of pre eminence and inheritance, but also number 2 and number 3, Simeon and Levi as we saw last week also forfeited that right, they were cursed for anger, so I now go down to Verse 8. And notice who's next on the list. Third on the list is Judah, that should ring a bell to some of you because Jesus came from the tribe of Judah. He's the lion of the tribe of Judah. And it says in Verse 8 Judah, "You are he whom your brother shall praise"--Judah means praise. "Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies. Your father's children shall bow down before you."
Now Jesus will come from the tribe of Judah and Paul will save Jesus Christ, he is the first born over all creation. The Prototokos in Greek, the preeminent one, and that language is harkening back to this event when number one, two and three forfeited the inheritance and Judah was the upper most. And really the patriarchal mantle falls upon Judah in a spiritual sense with the blessing of the father upon Judah.
Verse 23, "The sons of Lea were Reuben, Jacob's first born Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun, the sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin, the sons of Bilha, Rachel's maid servant were Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Zilpa, Leah's maid servant were Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan Aram. So Reuben did a bad thing, he's scratched off the Christmas list of the inheritance list. He does really nothing except make sandwiches I guess, later on. Reuben's sandwiches--sorry. Forget it.
But here's a thing, here's a thing you don't realize. Every now and then I let out those dumb things, you don't know how much I restrain. That's just what leaks out. Then Jacob came to his father, Isaac at Mamori(ph) or Kirjath Arba that is Hebron where Abraham and Isaac had dwelt. Now the days of Isaac were a 180 years. That's one old dude. So watch this. So Isaac breathes his last and died.
And was gathered to his people. Well what did he die of? Being old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. Okay Isaac died but he was wrong about his death, wasn't he? Chapter 27, remember what he said to his son, Esau? "Go out and get me that savory food and let me bless you before I die." Before I die, he lives another 43 years. Now he may have felt bad and thought he was going to die, but he didn't. You know what, Job said, I'll paraphrase it. He says that man's days are in God's hands and a number of his months are with him. Only God knows. He thought, "This is it, I'm going to die." 43 years later, he's still kicking and he finally dies. So three deaths in this chapter, three deaths in his family, but at the same time great blessing because of the revival.
Now Chapter 36, yes we have time to get through it, we'll do it very quickly. Chapter 36, as you look at it, you're going, "Uh-oh, No. We're not going to like study this chapter are we?" Because you're looking at all those names, right? That's really what it is, it's a list of names, it's a genealogy of Esau and his descendants. Now after this chapter, the genealogical record as far as we're concerned or in the biblical record is concerned is done. The focus will be on the lineage of Jacob, and his 12 sons, the nation of Israel will go on and God will be very selective about this genealogy. So after this, Esau has done, let's at least read to the chapter and pay our last respects.
Verses 1 through 8 is a list of Esau's wives and sons that were born to him in the land of Canaan. Now this is the genealogy of Esau who is Edom, Esau took his wives from the daughter of Canaan, Adah, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite. Aholibamah the daughter of Anna, the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebaioth. If you're looking for biblical names for your children, stay away from this.
Now Adah or Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath for Reuel, Aholibamah, all the rest of these people were born Verse 8, so Esau dwelt in Mt. Seir. Now look, Esau is Edom. Okay, so we know about Esau, right? We know that Esau didn't really care about spiritual things, didn't care about his blessing, his brother did, he did and you can have it. He sold it for a bowl of beans. But God kept his promise to him. God made good on his promise to him. He didn't care about God, but God cared about him. And even as he was in his mother's womb with his twin brother, the Lord said, "Two nations there in your womb." And indeed a nation comes from Esau.
And what nation is that? Edom. Edom is from the Dead Sea, East of the Dead Sea all the way down to the Gulf of Aqaba which is that Western leg of the Red Sea. So all of Southern Jordan is the Land of Edom.
Later on, the Edomites because of war and oppression will migrate to Judah, that is Southern Israel, and the Edomites will seize to be as a nation, as a distinct people group. Some of them will be called, Idumaeans but they are still really from the land, they're Edomites.
There is one notable Edomite, in fact the last Idumaean or Edomite we know about and after that we lose complete track is a guy by the name of Herod, the Great. He was an Edomite. One of the enemies of the Jews became an Idumaean and his father, Antipater called himself the King of the Jews. So when his son who took that name also after his dad died, when he heard that the king of the Jews was born in Bethlehem, he went ballistic. There's a rival. Enough said, we'll get to that. By the time we get to the New Testament.
Verse 9-19 is a list of the grand sons and other powerful men who are with Esau when he's down in Seir or Saudi Arabia. This is the genealogy of Esau, the father of the Edomites in Mt. Seir. There's a whole list of them and I want you to look at Verse 11, "And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz. Now Teman becomes an area in Jordan that is known for wise people.
In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, is one of the so-called friends of Job that shares deep but unscriptural wisdom with his friend Job. Verse 13, this it with the sons of Reuel, and they are listed, and then Verse 20 through 30 are the seven sons of Seir the Horonite or the Horite whose descendants married with Esau's descendants and so it says at Verse 20, "These were the sons of Seir the Horite who inhabited the land" and a whole bunch of names were given. Verse 31, Kings and Chiefs who lived, who died, what their weird names were. Verse 40 to 43, are the 11 chiefs or chieftains or sheiks that came from Esau. These were the names of Esau according to their families and their places by their name's Chief Timna, Chief Alva, Chief Je--Jepheth what's your name Jepheth? I'm sorry.
Chief Aholibamah. Interesting because that was a woman's name, earlier in this chapter and now it's one of the chief's names. Chief Elah, Chief Pinon-not Penion--that would be nuts. Chief Kenaz, Chief Teman, Chief Mibzar. Chief Magdiel, Chief Iram, these were the chiefs of Edom according to their dwelling places in the land of their possessions. Esau, was the father of the Edomites.
So a great nation came in, and the Lord is giving honor to the promise that he made to Edom by saying, "Look how great it was, and look at who these people were." And the chiefs and the amount of children in the land that they occupied and the wisdom, they came from that. However, historically and traditionally, the Edomites as time goes on they become arch enemies of the Israelites. And because of that, God reserves special wrath for the Edomites. Did you know that? Did you know that the entire prophesy of the book of Obadiah is one long diatribe judgment on Edom. That's the theme of the book, the prophet Obadiah outlines what will happen to them.
So there's the legacy of a man who sold his birth right for a bowl of beans. Yes, physically he prospered, spiritually he declined, and we are left in the New Testament. It's only fitting that we end this tribute with the New Testament passages just as Hebrews 12 Verses 15 through 17, let me read it to you. "See to it that no one misses 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. He could bring about no change of mind though he sought the blessing with tears.
As we close, think back to how we started. Think back to the turtle and the scorpion. And both of them in that pond that they died, and one died because he had the power to sting. Because he stung the turtle, they both went down together. Because it was in his nature to sting. Could it be that you're at a place in your life right now where you're drowning because of your own sin nature. There's something that you just haven't gotten victory over. It stung you and it's placed in you and you feel like, "I'm trapped by it, I'm drowning myself and those around me."