I was reading through the passage, which is a pretty tough read, unless you’re into family history, and praying about what to blog about. With a passage like this, nothing seems to jump out.
Fortunately, something did jump out.
Verses 6-8 seem to be the only verses that actually tell us anything about what is going on with the people.
6 Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the people who lived with him, his herds and other animals, and all the belongings he had gotten in Canaan, and he went to a land away from his brother Jacob. 7 Esau and Jacob’s belongings were becoming too many for them to live in the same land. The land where they had lived could not support both of them, because they had too many herds. 8 So Esau lived in the mountains of Edom. (Esau is also named Edom.)
Esau and Jacob end up becoming rich and powerful men. To the point were they have so much stuff, they literally can’t live with each other any more. So Esau packs up and moves to the mountains, which seems a little strange, because it was Esau who had stayed there, looked after the land while his father was old and sick. It was Esau who had raised his children there.
Yet, it is Jacob who stays. On one level this makes sense, this is the land that God promised to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. So of course Jacob gets to keep it. In simple terms it makes sense. God says this is what happens, and so, it happens.
That right there “God says this is what happens, and so it happens.” It seems SO simple, you can say it without stopping to breathe. Yet living it is the hardest thing you can imagine.
There is a letter in the New Testament, written by a guy called James, and it’s my favourite book in the whole Bible.
James don’t dance around sensitive issues like the church does today. He’s blunt, to the point of brutality, and is writing because he has a passion that the people of God aren’t just a kind of “yes men” who sit in church and nod along, but a people who LIVE in the spirit and through their LIFE they show others what it’s all about.
He says this
New Century Version (NCV)15 A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food.16 If you say to that person, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing. 17 In the same way, faith by itself—that does nothing—is dead.18 Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do.19 You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too, and they tremble with fear.20 You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing?
What he has to say is plain, clear and just so core to the heart of truly following Christ. Is there anything in life more annoying than a hypocrite? (In saying that, I fully accept that each and everyone of us is hypocritical, myself included.)
James reminds us of the hardest truth of all. Not that there is a God. Not that there is a heaven, and a hell. He reminds us that just believing is not enough. He reminds us that when we believe, we are just accepting the truth. The hard bit is deciding what to do about it, and then going out and doing it.
The message of the Bible is NOT “Do what you want Jesus forgives” The message of the Bible is that “God loves you and He wants you to live with him forever.”
It’s important to balance the two extremes, having faith and doing nothing with it, against living a good honest, loving life but having no faith.
Jesus, our guide to life had the perfect balance. He had a rock solid faith – how could the son of God be in any doubt as to if He existed? His life was dedicated to helping the poor, crippled and socially outcast.
If you’re struggling to understand what it is like to live motivated by trust in God, then read the gospels. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
Find the answer to life’s big questions. Find, that life is no mystery. Life is living through Christ. Life is loving.