Feb 27

Part 68: The Patient Faithfulness of God

Todd Pruitt |Series: Genesis |Genesis 35:16-29 (chapter 36)

Chapter 35 of Genesis concludes by drawing the curtain on the account of Jacob’s life. Though he will not die for years to come, the narrative focus now shifts toward his descendants, especially Joseph. This section of chapter 35 consists mainly of three events: The birth of Benjamin and death of Rachel (vv. 16-21), Reuben’s outrageous sin at Eder (vv. 21-22a), and the death of Isaac at Hebron (vv. 27-29).

Some saints fly, as it were, into glory. Others walk. Still others limp into the kingdom. It is safe to say that Jacob limped in his final years. His struggle with the LORD had left him with a physical limp, of course. But that same impulse to struggle made his life an uneven testimony at best. There are moments when Jacob is an example to follow. And yet how often have we witnessed Jacob soar only to see him come crashing down to the ground spectacularly? Jacob proves the point that the hope of believers is bound up, not in their uneven obedience but in the patient covenant faithfulness of God.

Even chapter 36 – the record of Esau’s descendants – testifies to the faithfulness of God. The Bible does not include idle details. Nor does it tend to record the descendants of unbelievers such as Esau. But I think at the most basic level, chapter 36 is there to give early proof that God would keep the promise he had made to Abraham and passed down to Jacob. God truly was going to make for himself a holy nation of men and woman from among all the nations. Even from the line of unbelieving Esau God would call a people to himself.

How gracious of the Lord to go about saving such a vast company of sinners throughout the ages. But is this not the covenant of grace first ratified with Abraham? The very covenant first spoken to Eve? Yes! This is the everlasting Covenant of Grace fulfilled by the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Even through the long-lasting consequences of grievous sin, God’s grace persists and even triumphs.

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