Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are His descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ 8 In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: ‘At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.’ 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad— in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by Him who calls— she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ 13 Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’”
Was it right for God to choose Jacob, the younger, to be over Esau? I have to admit that it is hard for me to read this question. There seems to be an emotional response that comes up inside, or at least it does in me. There is a tendency to want to think this isn’t fair. There is a sense of injustice, but this is not the case…God is Just. This passage should not be understood as if God acted in an emotional way. God acts in this way, not for the good of Jacob nor to injure Esau, but in order to carry out His plans. It does not mean that Jacob is automatically saved and Esau rejected. As Tim Keller points out:
“There is a Hebrew idiom behind this. Jesus told His disciples that they had to ‘hate’ their families to follow Him (Luke 14:26). That does not mean literally to hate our parents, but to prefer Jesus over them. Nevertheless, Paul is saying that God chose to put Jacob above Esau, but not because of anything about Jacob that was morally superior to Esau. The only reason Jacob received the promise was because of God’s gracious choice.”
In Malachi 1:2-3, the statement “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” refers to the nations of Israel and Edom rather than to the individual brothers. God chose Jacob to continue the family line of the faithful, but He did not exclude Esau from knowing and loving Him. Keep in mind the kind of God we worship: He is sovereign; He is not arbitrary; in all things, He works for our good; He is trustworthy; He will save all who believe in Him. When we understand these qualities of God, we know that His choices are good even if we don’t understand all His reasons.
For me, the takeaway is this: The only reason we received the promise of salvation as followers of Christ is because of God’s gracious choice. Those who freely come to God are those whom God has freely chosen.
How does knowing that your salvation is entirely the result of God’s election move you to greater gratitude?
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest; Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.