“(For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:11-13).
I won’t pretend to understand this passage of Scripture.
However, I do understand enough of Scripture to realize the dangers of building a doctrine on Romans 9 without considering the rest of Scripture.
To teach that God made a decision to favor Jacob over Esau violates another verse of Scripture written by the very same author of Romans 9, who is the Apostle Paul. This verse is found in the very same letter to the Romans. Romans 2:11 says, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” According to Strong’s Concordance, this means there is no partiality with God.
There is another Scripture found in Acts 10:34, which says that God is no respecter of persons. A Strong’s definition of the Greek word translated into “respecter” is one who discriminates. God does not discriminate, but He does judge sin. Man looks [and discriminates] at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).e
If Esau had no choice in the matter because God predetermined him to be that way, then the gay movement that says, “God made me this way” is correct. Far too many of life’s circumstances are attributed as being the will of God when they are actually the very opposite of the will of God. I know of a person who responded to a bad medical diagnosis with, “I am disappointed in God’s will for me.” She had evidently heard too much “sacred cow theology” and believed God wanted her to be sick. How can a person intelligently stand against the enemy if everything that happens in life is God’s sovereign will?
Building a doctrine on the words, “Esau have I hated” would be heresy because we know from 1 John 4:8 that God’s nature is love. We know from John 3:16 that God so loved the [people in the] world that He gave His only begotten son. We are instructed to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44). I am thankful to say that God is a God of love.
I am not claiming to understand why God would say, “Esau have I hated.” I have considered that God hated the profane spirit of Esau who sold his birthright. It is reasonable to believe that His eyes that are like an ultrasound could see this spirit in the womb. After all, according to Hebrews 4:13, no creature [evil spirit] is hidden in His sight, and according to Exodus 20:5, the iniquities of the father are visited on the children even three and four generations later.
Esau despised his birthright (Genesis 25:34). I have noticed that the word despise in the Hebrew can include the definition “to lightly esteem.” Esau lightly esteemed his birthright. I have wondered if this could translate into that since Esau lightly esteemed his birthright, that God lightly esteemed him. God lightly esteeming the person who lightly esteems his birthright could be comparative to Jesus being ashamed of those who are ashamed ofH HHim and His Word. See Luke 9:26. These are my thoughts.
Whatever these verses in Romans 9 mean, I do know from 1 John 4:8 that whoever does not love is not born of God because God is love. It seems God who is love would be denying Himself to hate a person, and according to 2 Timothy 2:13, He cannot deny Himself. hHHHThe average person has a hard enough time in believing in God’s love without meditating on God hating Esau.
Instead of preaching a gospel that binds people to their problems, let us remember that Jesus did not come to condemn mankind and to leave him stuck in his mess, but He cameH to save (John 3:17). His plans for people are for good and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:11). The thief [the devil] is the one who steals, kills, and destroys (John 10:10).
If you are in a tough situation, my friend, the devil is the one who is against you, not God. I would like to encourage you to read “THE SOVEREIGNTY COW” and “THE JOB COW” chapters in my book I’m Killing My Sacred Cows.
There are many Scriptures that speak of God’s love. Don’t let ANYONE use this Scripture in Romans 9 to discourage you! God is a God of hope (Romans 15:13), not a God of fatalism. Since God is love (1 John 4:8), and since love edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1), then His Word should also edify and not leave a person feeling hopeless. The devil has been known to interpret Scripture in his cunning and unedifying ways. See Matthew 4.
Personally, I would believe that God can see the problem of generational sin in the womb with His “divine ultrasound eyes” before I would ever believe that God has predetermined bad for an unborn baby.
I have wondered if Rebecca could have asked God to change the racket that was happening in her womb. Hezekiah had been given a death sentence by God (Isaiah 38:1). That sounds pretty final! However, hHe prayed to God, and fifteen years were added to his life (Isaiah 38:2-5), although he did not necessarily make good use of those added years. Jonah, speaking as a prophet for God, proclaimed judgment on Nineveh (Jonah 3:4). Once again, this sounds like a for sure thing, but judgment never happened because the people repented (Jonah 4:5-11). The Syrophenician woman in Mark 7:27 never took Jesus’ words, “…it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs” as a “sovereign NO answer.” Jesus admired her faith and responded to it. There is a verse that says we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). I am not saying this was the case with Rebecca. I was just wondering.
I realize I don’t have answers to satisfy the many questions regarding Romans 9. I am not a theologian. Maybe that is okay. I simply want to remind the reader that the words, “Whosoever believeth” in John 3:16 are beautiful words that do not discriminate.
Abba Father: Thank You for Your love to me and that You are for me and not against me. Help me to get the sin out of my life.