Friday, February 6, 2009

Thought on Romans 9:10-13 (click here for Net Bible)

"Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Most of us struggle with this statement because God "hated" Esau. Of course, we must interpret this in the context of all of Scripture. We know from other passages, like John 3:16, that God clearly loves all people unconditionally. So, the word "hate" here means that because of God's choice of Jacob over Esau it seems as though God hated him. It is not used absolutely but relative to a higher choice.

However, my struggle is not that God "hated" Esau. My struggle is how God could love Jacob. Jacob was a sinner just like Esau and me. Jacob deserved eternal damnation just like Esau and me. Yet God choose the Messiah to come through Jacob’s descendants. God chose me to be His adopted child. I don’t deserve it. It is by His grace. Why Jacob? Why me? Why you?

"How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord for considering me trustworthy and appointing me to serve him, even though I used to scoff at the name of Christ. I hunted down his people, harming them in every way I could. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord was! He filled me completely with faith and the love of Christ Jesus. This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I was the worst of them all. But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. Glory and honor to God forever and ever. He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen."
(1 Timothy 1:12-17 NLT)


Mark Forstrom said...

Hey Bob, great thoughts. I especially like how you are able to take such a heady topic and bring it down to the personal level. "Why would God love someone like me?" That is the point, isn't it!

Also liked the passage at the end in the NLT. Adds new insight.

Anonymous said...

As I mentioned on Mark's blog, Bob, thanks to both of you for your commitment to do this during this part of the Romans' series! And daily is no small feat. I agree with Mark that it is helpful on a personal level. But it is also helpful in praying for the Middle East. Psalm 122:6-Pray for the peace in Jerusalem.
Thanks...Diane T.

Anonymous said...


I struggle with the comment about Esau. I understand your comments about putting the word hate in context, but the word hate is used. It's easier for me to accept that God would choose Jacob rather than Esau for His perfect purposes, but to say that He hated Esau seems excessively and mysteriously harsh (I'm trying to view the comments if I'm Esau). I understand God's hatred of sin because of its painful consequences on mankind, but to say you hate the person/sinner seems opposed to God's character.

The Jacob/Esau example relates to God's election of those He has chosen to save. Why does He choose only some for salvation? God says that He wants none to perish, but for all to have eternal life. Perplexing and mysterious to me, indeed. Kyle H.