Romans 9:1 - 33
ESV - 1 I am speaking the truth in Christ - I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit - 2 That I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
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Romans 9:8: That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. Rebecca was foretold that the elder son would serve the younger by the Lord, for the Lord knew that Esau would do all things in his flesh. When the boys grew Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field (Gen 25:27). His father, Isaac, knew the smell of his son was the smell of a field, and so Jacob was able to wear Esau’s clothing to smell like him, and Isaac gave him the blessing meant for Esau. (Gen 27:27) Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents, and he pleased God in all his ways, though he claimed to be Esau to receive the blessings from his father. (Gen 27:24) After the flood, God wiped out most of the wickedness from the earth, yet mankind inherited the seed of sin through Noah’s descendants. (Gen 6:5) Nimrod, who was a mighty hunter before the Lord, (Gen 10:9) as I understand from the scriptures, was in opposition to God along with his people, for they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens.” (Gen 11:4) Esau was also a cunning hunter, a man of the field, who would come home feeling faint. And then a day came when he came home and was at a point to die. (Gen 25:29) As it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Rom 9:13) For the Lord had seen all things Esau did that were not pleasing unto Him. Similar to Nimrod, he was a mighty hunter before the Lord and had the smell of a field; it was the smell of uncleanness, and the cry of this smell of the mud was also the smell of the blood that clung to them from their hunt, as the blood of Abel cried out from the field of the ground when he was killed by his brother, Cain. The children of the promises who are counted for the seed acknowledge their sinful nature and repent and cry out to the Lord, and they are the ones who are blessed (Gen 32: 26). And this grain (seed), when it is buried, sprouts and reproduces many times (John 12:24). Jacob was blessed in this way, and was counted for the seed as the children of the promise: the twelve tribes of Israel.
Good question. In the latter part of verse 2 and the first part of verse 3, God says, “Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated.” But, John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). How can a God of love hate any one person? Romans 9:13 is a reference to Malachi 1:2-3 and refers to nations (Israel and Edom) and not individual sinners. God does not hate sinners. John 3:16 makes it clear that He loves sinners. God has the Apostle John writing there, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.” The statement here in Romans 9:13 has to do with national election, not individual. Those who are troubled by Malachi 1:2-3 (“I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau,” KJV) must see “love” and “hate” as relative terms (as in Gen. 29:31–33, Deut. 21:15-17; Luke 14:26). Neither Jacob nor Esau deserved God’s grace any more than we today deserve it (Eph. 2:8-9). That God chose scheming Jacob is as much a mystery as that He chose murderous Saul of Tarsus. Someone said to Dr. Arno C. Gaebelein, the gifted Hebrew Christian leader of a generation ago, “I have a serious problem with Malachi 1:3, where God says, ‘Esau I have hated.’” Dr. Gaebelein replied, “I have a greater problem with Malachi 1:2, where God says, ‘Jacob, I have loved.’” We certainly can’t explain the love and grace of God, nor do we have to, but we can experience God’s grace and love as we trust Christ and walk with Him. The Lord is even willing to be “the God of Jacob.” (Wiersbe) God's wrath did not burn against Esau. Rather the word, "hated" should be taken as the Hebrew idiom it is--a word that means "to love less" (cf. Genesis 29:30-33). (What Does the Bible Say About...? Ron Rhodes.) Then why did God love Esau less than He loved his twin brother, Jacob? Knowing the end from the beginning, God knew that Esau would turn out bad. Descendants of Esau refused Israel passage through Edom on their journey to the Promised Land. Haman and Hitler too were descendants of Esau. (Rhodes)
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