“Son of Man, set your face against Mount Seir.” Mount Seir was identified with the nation of Edom and the person of Esau, Jacob’s brother. The two sons of Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, once shared the same womb. At one point during her pregnancy, Rebekah experienced so much tumult within her body that she called upon the Lord for some explanation. Genesis 25:23 gives us God’s answer to the woman who carried these twins: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
Old Testament symbolism, with the aid of Amos 9:11-12 as quoted in Acts 15:16-17, helps us to see that “Jacob” also means God’s entire covenant community. Esau, on the other hand, stands definitively in contrast to the elect. He was a representative for all Gentiles during The Old Testament era and for what the New Testament calls the “world” in the period after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Ezekiel 35 the Lord spoke clear words of indictment against the Edomites. They had rejoiced when the Lord disciplined His chosen people, imagining that the Promised Land would be their own property now that the Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem and killed so many descendants of Jacob. Their own day of suffering was very near. “Because you did not hate bloodshed, therefore blood shall pursue you.” God would execute His wrath upon the descendants of Esau. “You magnified yourselves against Me with your mouth, and multiplied your words against Me; I heard it…. I will make you desolate.”
The Lord would come against Edom during the time of Ezekiel and beyond, but what about the various nations and powerful individuals that would persecute the followers of Jesus Christ in future centuries? The world may imagine that it has authority over the church, but the Almighty will one day show forth His power and glory through the destruction of the arrogant. Jesus will silence every proud foe who stands against His kingdom.
Because of the certainty of the coming judgment of God, we must not allow ourselves to be overly impressed with the proud boasts of the wicked. We are called to love our enemies, and can do so with the confidence that the Lord will indeed come again in glory. He will defend us from all who would unjustly seek to destroy us.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, Your love for Your people is perfect. You make a distinction between Jacob and Esau. You will defend Your people. If Esau rejoices over the trials of Your beloved Jacob, it will not go well for Esau. There can be no peace for those who determine to persecute Your church. You will come in power at just the right time. Even when we feel desolate and abandoned, You will rescue us. Show us how to trust in You every day.