Genesis 36: How God Uses Facebook and what breaks my heart

I have a Facebook group that is going through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This post is the discussion and comments from the day we looked at Genesis, chapter 36.

My commentary:

“First, let’s go back to the end of chapter 35. We see Esau back on the scene, as he and Jacob bury their father. I buried my own father [in 2018], and as happened when I buried my mother, wounds of the past rose to the surface. Things that had long been buried in my soul came up as I mourned the deaths of such pivotal people in my life. Thankfully, I knew where to go with my wounds, and God brought healing through my grieving.

I can’t help but wonder what came up for both Jacob and Esau as they buried Isaac.

Now, on to chapter 36, where Esau and his descendants are in the spotlight.These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. Let’s look at the Edomites. Below are notes I found in my study:

  • The Edomites worshiped a variety of gods
  • In Numbers 20 the Israelites requested permission to pass through Edom during its 40-year wilderness journey. This request was denied.
  • King Saul attacked the Edomites and King David made them servants 40 years later.
  • Between the Old and New Testament times, the Edomites were once again controlled by the Jews and forced to embrace Judaism.
  • The Edomites became known as the Idumaeans
  • King Herod was an Idumaean and ruled at the time of the birth of Jesus; he also commanded the deaths of all males two years old and under in Bethlehem in order to kill the threat of a Jewish king.

So, today I discovered this: From Jacob, the Messiah came. From Esau, came the king who would try to kill Him before His time.

Comments/Discussion:

  • “Wow, so interesting…Edom {a/k/a Esau} really ended up going in the opposite direction of his father and Jacob/Israel. It amazes me that the offer to pay Edom and not drink even their water, only wanting to walk through on foot was denied or they would be attacked! Unfortunately, this is no different than what goes on in families today. You can raise your children all the same but they choose their own path. Parents that don’t walk in faith can have children who choose to walk in faith.
  • “Genealogies! One father, two brothers. It is interesting to consider the legacy of Esau, the man who chose his immediate needs over his future birthright. He also chose ungodly women to bear his children. Esau sowed ungodly seed and bore ungodly fruit in his children and their generations. It’s been years since I read it, but I immediately thought of the multigenerational comparison of Jonathan Edwards and Max Jukes. (You can Google it.) Edwards was a Puritan preacher in the 1700s who had a godly wife and 11 children. He spent an hour each day conversing with his family and then praying a blessing over each child. In his family line, he had 13 college presidents, 65 college professors, 75 military officers, 80 public servants, 60 authors, 60 doctors, 30 judges, 100 pastors, 100 lawyers, 3 US senators, and a Vice-President. Max Jukes was a prison inmate whose family line was researched in 1877. His descendants included 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 190 prostitutes, 150 other convicts, 310 paupers, and 440 others who were wrecked by addiction to alcohol. Of the 1,200 studied, 300 died prematurely. The Five-Generation Rule: “How a parent raises their child—the love they give, the values they teach, the emotional environment they offer, the education they provide—influences not only their children but the four generations to follow, either for good or evil.” 
  • “soooooooooo are the children’s teeth set on edge because the parents have eaten sour grapes?”
  • “Are you asking if the father’s sins bring punishment on the children today? I wanted to jump in and just give my thoughts on that: I do not believe that children are punished by God because of the sins of their parents. I DO, however, believe that children absolutely live in the effect of their parents’ sins. I think [the previous] comment went toward the fact that how we parent our kids affects the generations beyond them. Not because God is bringing punishment, but because there is a cause and effect principle that runs through generations.”
  • “Family and legacy- so important. But it requires diligent, intentional effort on the part is us, the parents, and grandparents to pass that legacy on.”
  • “So often people say “I can do anything I want. I’m not hurting anyone else.” Five Generations of people are affected by our decisions. That is major responsibility.”
  • “I made a decision early on that I would break the cycle of abuse that I experienced in my family so that my children would not see that ugly head arise. When they were old enough to understand I told them my story and we grew closer as a family because of it. God began healing everything around me as I grew even closer to Him. Only God can break cycles of abuse or whatever is keeping you from Him! This chapter again makes me want to grab a big poster board and make a family tree. I’ve always wondered why God felt it necessary to have chapters with so much genealogy. I’m still working on understanding.”

Why did I decide to share this in a blog post? So that I could share these thoughts with you:
  1. If we use it right, Facebook can be an asset and not just a warzone or a place to show off our pets or what we ate that day. Facebook can help build up the Body of Christ.
  2. There are currently 50 members in the group, with only a small handful commenting. But, there are many who come to the table every other day when I post a commentary, and they listen to the virtual conversation and receive encouragement and teaching.
  3. Most importantly, women are taking in the Word of God on a regular basis, when they otherwise may not.
  4. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to lead a bible study. I almost always incorporate The Torah Lesson on each chapter we’ve studied so far. You can check that out HERE. Why? Because I’m not a bible scholar, but I found someone who is, and we glean from him. But the primary purpose of “coming to the table” each time, is to share what God is speaking to each of us through His Word. Bringing our thoughts, our questions, and our encouragement from the time we’ve spent reading that day’s chapter.

In a recent sermon at my church, the pastor asked the question, “what breaks your heart?”. What is it that makes something rise up in you to say “this cannot continue”? I went home and for a couple of days, I pondered that question with God until I knew the answer.

What breaks my heart is Christians who do not know the truth of God’s Word. People who profess Christ, but continue to live lives that are based on lies, because they haven’t learned the truth, and they haven’t learned the truth because they do not open the Bible for themselves. They rely on sermons and podcasts and daily devotions to be their food, but we were not meant to live on regurgitated messages. We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Sermons and other messages are good, and helpful for our edification and encouragement, and even our teaching. But there is no substitute for the living, active, sharp Word of God going into your mind and into your heart. None.

I find it heartbreaking that so many of God’s children are content to nibble on crumbs, when they’ve been invited to a feast.

After I understood what breaks my heart, I was undone by the fact that God knew it and gave me a way to do something about it, even though I didn’t realize that’s what was happening when I started the Facebook group those years ago.

By the way, there are tons of Facebook bible studies out there and many of them are open to the public. I’m just sharing my experience, with my perspective, because, well, my blog.


Q & A:

  • Why is your Facebook group a closed group?

Because the purpose is to minister to those in the Church. If the group becomes public, then I will find myself attempting to manage trolls, and even sincere people who are not believers. I know my limits, and I know the people I am called to in this particular season and environment.

  • How do I start this kind of group?

I sent an invitation to everyone on my friends list that I knew was a believer. Those who wanted to join, joined. And then a few of those people invited their friends, with the understanding that inviting others was fine, as long as they were believers, for the reason stated above. BUT…maybe YOUR heart breaks for those who are seekers, for those you do not yet know Him but want to explore the scriptures. If that’s the case, then form a group around that!


What breaks your heart? What do you see as you look around that causes something in your to say “this cannot continue like this”? Bring the question to God and He will begin to reveal it. Maybe the action you are to take won’t have anything to do with a social media platform. But then again…maybe it will.

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