Invasion by Relation

Genesis 36:20-30

20These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region:

Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs.

22The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister.

23The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.

24The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon.

25The children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah.

26The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.

27The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan.

28The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.

29These were the Horite chiefs: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir.

Mayor

A town mayor had established a good image and served his municipality until he retired at a good old age. He was born and grew up in another town. After he married the daughter of a mayor from another town, he lived, worked in the town of his wife, joined the politics, elected as mayor, and retired at old age.

He exemplified that birth place may not necessarily be the one can excel.

Of course, a few may excel where they were born. God has prepared a place where one may excel and where He may show much of His grace to believers.

We can easily find biblical characters excelled in a foreign land: Abraham in Canaan, Jacob in Paddan Aram, Joseph in Egypt, Esther and Mordecai in Persia, Daniel in Babylon. God blesses anyone He chooses to bless.

The Lord said in Jeremiah 29:7, 7Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

Do you believe that God has a great design for you here? Can you believe that God wants you to be successful where you work or live? Some people may become successful in their birthplace. Immigrants find success in foreign lands. To explore better options for your career is commendable, if it’s God’s will.

It says in James 4:13-17, 13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

If you’ve been praying for the betterment of your life and God gives an opportunity to explore His plan for you, pray that God will also give you the right attitude and firm decision so that you may discern His leading. To have doubts in a decision you make cannot help you find God’s will for you.

In James 1:6, 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Expect that there will be challenges at every turn of events but when God gives firm decision, you’ll know that you’re in the right path in spite of different opinions from other people. When God leads you, Christ performs His lordship in you, and you sense the fruit of His Spirit, joy and peace. Doubt brings confusion and worries but God’s peace and joy will certainly stabilize your mind and heart.

You might be interested about the inclusion of a brief account of the Horite. When Esau decided to move away from his brother Jacob, he discovered his destiny of success in the land of Seir. Did God design that his descendants would invade the land of Seir? Esau did not invade Seir by military power. He married women whose parents were prominent among their people. 

1. Parent

20These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs. 22The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister.

Before Esau’s descendants became powerful, the Horites occupied the land of Seir. The descendants of Seir multiplied and progressed. His sons and grandsons ruled the land as chiefs of their tribes. Did Seir have more than one wife? Timna was identified as Lotan’s sister but not identified as daughter of Seir.

Esau had a son with his Hittite wife Adah named Eliphaz. Esau’s son Eliphaz had a concubine named Timna. Is it possible that the concubine of Eliphaz and the sister of Lotan are the same woman named Timna? Timna gave birth to Amalek. Did the Amalekites descended from Esau’s grandson Amalek.

If the Amalekites descended from Amalek, why was it the Amalekites were mentioned even before Esau had a grandson named Amalek?

Actually, it was mentioned in Genesis 14:5-7, 5Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaitesin Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim 6and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. 7Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.

The Horites lived in the hill country of Seir. Seir was a Horite. Was this the same Seir the great grandfather of Oholibamah wife of Esau? Did Seir live long life, or was he another man named Seir? Additionally, Kedorlaomer and his allies conquer an Amalekite territory in the time of Abraham. How could they attack the Amalekites when their ancestor Amalek was a great grandson of Abraham?

Take note that Moses wrote Genesis. At the time he wrote Genesis, the Amalekites may have become prominent in their territory which was the same territory that Kedorlaomer and his allies had conquered in the time of Abraham, but they were not necessarily the same Amalekite people in the time of Moses.

There are unexplained things God decided not to explicitly reveal to us. The Lord knows that they are not very crucial to our faith in Him.

It teaches us in Deuteronomy 29:29, 29The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

The Philippines

What was the previous name of the Philippines when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered it in 1521? “No name!” The group of islands or  archipelago that Magellan discovered was named “Las Islas Filipinas” 22 years later in 1543 by a Spanish explorer “Ruy Lopez de Villalobos.” So technically, Magellan discovered an archipelago with no name.

Someone may say, “When Magellan discovered the Philippines, the Filipinos resisted.” Such statement presents the response of people against Magellan but those people were not called “Filipinos” at that time. They term Filipinos was known many years later after the country was name Philippines.

That can be very similar when Moses wrote about the Amalekites that the Kedorlaomer conquered in the time of Abraham. Obviously, Moses did not know the people who occupied the territory where the Amalekites lived. He just knew that Kedorlaomer conquered that same territory in the time of Abraham.

Did that explain the account about the Amalekites and the Horites in Seir?

King David wrote in Psalm 71:18, 18Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.

The account of Seir implies God’s concern for all His creation. God wants the next generations to know what previous generations had done or contributed in history. So, when you came to this church, have you wonder what the previous members contributed for this church to continue in its ministry? How about us? Are you concerned about next generation? What legacy should we leave behind?

23The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam. 24The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon. 25The children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah.

Oholibamah was daughter of Anah. Anah was son of Zibeon. Zibeon was son of Seir. Therefore, Oholibamah was great granddaughter of Seir. Seir’s sons were chiefs. Anah was grandson of Seir, and Dishon was great grandson of Seir. Both Anah and Dishon were called sons of Seir. Why? How could that be? Was it because they became chiefs of their division? Was it a practice in those times?

This is similar to Jacob’s sons who became tribal leaders. Jacob told Joseph in Genesis 48:5, 5Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.

Ephraim and Manasseh were sons of Joseph. The name of Joseph who was Israel’s favorite son was not included in the 12 tribes of Israel because his sons Ephraim and Manasseh were reckoned as sons of Israel or Jacob.

Anyway, when Anah the grandson of Seir discovered the hot springs in the desert, nobody disputed it. It implies that Anah had the authority to claim it.

Did Esau consider Anah’s authority and prominence when he married Oholibamah the daughter of Anah? To settle in a foreign land at that time, it is beneficial to have strong connection with prominent people. Esau knew it.

Is it advisable for Christians to marry someone who belongs to a prominent family despite of spiritual background? It says in 2 Corinthians 6:14, 14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Although the context of this passage is not necessarily about marriage but more of Christian lifestyle in general to be spiritually pure, many conservative believers would advise to avoid marrying non-believers, if that is possible. Instead, choose someone with a royal background. That’s something we can learn from Esau: to marry somebody with royal blood. Really?

Don’t you know that as believers, you belong to a royal ancestry? Yeah!

It says in 1 Peter 2:9, 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

All believers belong to a royal priesthood. If you marry a believer, logically speaking, you married someone with a royal background. And what do you call a believer—a child of the King of kings, a child of the Lord of lords?

Esau was smart. He invaded the land of Seir, not by might and strength but by marrying a child of a prominent person. His in-laws were chiefs of their divisions, and his descendants patterned their governance to the Horite chiefs.

2. Pattern

26The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran. 27The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan. 28The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. 29These were the Horite chiefs: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir.

Previous verses show that Esau’s sons with Oholibama were also chiefs. Obviously, they were relatives of Horite chiefs. Perhaps, they also shared their prominence with them. Should we interpret that Esau’s descendants patterned to the Horite chiefs their governance as chiefs of their clans, the Edomites?

That should explained why the sons of Esau with his other wives Adah and Basemath did not become chiefs but his grandsons with them became chiefs of their people, the Edomites. We can easily interpret that Esau’s descendants have patterned their community governance to the relatives of Oholibamah so that they recognized the chiefs of their respective clans.

Subsequently, Edomite territory expanded and established their presence in Seir. Later, when they became very powerful, they named Seir after Esau who was also called Edom, their ancestor. They were called the Edomites. In short Esau invaded the country of Seir. An account of Seir’s descendants was added because they were instrumental to the formation of their relatives, the Edomites.

What lesson can we learn from the descendants of Esau, the Edomites?

It was not mentioned how the Edomites rose to prominence but for sure they may have struggled much before they have established their identity.

We can identify with their struggle as foreigners in another country. Nonetheless, there will always be struggles we may encounter, whether we live in our own country or in foreign land. There are challenges anywhere we go.

The Edomites were foreigners in the land of Seir but they took over and established their identity in the territory of Seir the Horite.

Mayor Cont…

Earlier I told you about a man from another town who married the daughter of a mayor from another town, and that man became the town’s mayor until he retired from politics. His story may have challenged the residents of that town so that they elected their current mayor who was born and raised in their town.

Other residents were also challenged to present themselves as candidates for different offices. Today in this city, we have a mayor who has mix foreign and native blood. More and more natives of this city are establishing their identity.

By His grace, we can find success wherever the Lord relocates us.

We just need to be prayerful to discern when the Lord opens opportunities.

In the previous years, most leaders of this church were transferees. Our current BOT leaders are raised and grew up in this church. Pray that more church members who grew up in this church physically and spiritually will eventually join the leadership ministry.

May the Lord raise new generation leaders in the ministry from this church!

In this world we are just transients and we struggle with unending series of challenges in this life. Our final destination is heaven, and we should set our focus on that reality. May the letter of Paul to the Romans encourage us!

He said in Romans 8:31-39, 31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We may rise to prominence or not yet, it is but favorable for us to keep in mind that God is always with us, He cares much for us, no matter what situation we may encounter, good or not so good, He will surely bring us to His heaven.

Of course, we can only trust His promises by faith.

Keep praying that we may grow stronger in our faith in Christ.

To God be the glory!

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