Jacob Have I Loved, Esau Have I Hated (I’d Rather Be Loved!)
Our world throws around two very powerful words like they mean little. If you don’t affirm me, you must do one, and if you affirm all of my choices you must do the other. I’m talking about Hate and Love, in case you were wondering. Yet as I read Scripture, and, indeed, raise my children, I am about as confused as Inigo Montoya looking at Fezzini after a recent use of the word “inconceivable;” (For those of you who have NOT watched the Princess Bride, he responds with “you keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means”). I have preached about this, but I will repeat it here. I once heard Paul Washer describe how God hated Esau and Loved Jacob. And it’s not in the way we would see “hate” and “love.”
So let’s take a look at how Esau was “hated.” Easau was the favored of his father, Isaac, a man of the field, hunter, and a strong one, to boot. He sold his birthright for a bowl of soup, and was cheated out of his Father’s final blessing. And yet. He got to marry whom he wished, became a leader of men, wealthy, powerful, the founder of a Kingdom. In spite of the set backs he might have faced, he did quite well for himself. He got nearly everything he ever wanted. And Jacob, favored of his mother, Rebecca, stayed among the tents. He was run out of his home. He had to marry from his mother’s kin. He had to work for 14 years as a slave to earn one wife he didn’t love, and the other whom he did love. He was nearly cheated out of the flock he was promised, and had to deal with 12 unruly sons. He didn’t get to walk back home to the Promised land, but limped for his whole life after an encounter with God.
The moral of all of this? God let Esau do whatever he wanted. Jacob had been disciplined every day of his life. The Bible is clear, the Lord disciplines the ones he loves. And so in hating Esau, he despised him, giving him over to his passions, but he loved Jacob by disciplining and shaping Him. All the great men and women of faith in Scripture seem to have a similar experience with God and His Love. And it’s the kind of love I want. I want God to discipline me when I deserve it. I don’t want Him to give me over to a debased mind. I want to be in His will and His presence, and if it means I must take my licks, then so be it. I know that when God disciplines me, He does it as a Father who loves His Son, and He knows what I need to get back on course. So I will love God, even as He disciplines me, knowing it is for my own good.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Chapter 2- Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.