March 16, 2003
JACOB LOVED, ESAU HATED?
Romans 9:13 is followed by a question, "Is there unrighteousness with God?" Many reading such a statement answer a resounding "YES!" They assume God is speaking about His love expressed in salvation, that for no reason we can discern, one was loved and blessed and the other hated -- for no reason other than God's own decision to which neither party had any input! Were these assumptions correct, we must agree that there would indeed be "unrighteousness with God!"
But salvation is not the issue here and neither does eternal destiny hang in the balance. God's elective choice here determines the seed according to His promise and His election according to grace. Isaiah wrote long ago, "Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us ( Israel ) a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom , and we should have been like unto Gomorrah ," and "The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness" (Isa. 1:9, 10:21-22). In Acts 2, had Peter extended his quotation of Joel, he would have come upon these words, "...it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered ...in the remnant whom the LORD shall call" (Joel 2:32).
Prophecy is plain that at first Israel would reject their Messiah. And the Word is equally plain that God would preserve a seed, a remnant. So even God's threat to Moses of destroying Israel and making a great nation through him would still have kept a remnant intact! But that very episode drew forth from God abundant mercy on idolaters who richly deserved much less. Since mercy is never merited (or it would not be mercy) God was free to rescue that nation whose idolatry greatly paralleled even that of the nations at Babel 's Tower!
To Rebekah whose womb was in turmoil God said in Gen. 25:23, "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." But " Jacob ( Israel ) have I loved, and Esau (the nation Edom ) have I hated" is found centuries later in the last Old Testament book, Malachi 1:2-3!
Ivan L. Burgener