I LOVED JACOB AND I HATED ESAU (Malachi 1:2, 3)

28 01 2008

What a shock! How could God display such a prejudice? “God is love” (I John 4:8), how can He hate? This passage sends many Bible believers running for cover. I site a lack of understanding and not a contradiction.
Even within the context of Malachi 1, we could see that God is not referring to Esau as a person, but to his descendants as a nation. His love for Jacob (In like manner) refers to his descendants.
About 150 years before the Book of Malachi was penned, as Israel (descendants of Jacob) was king pummeled by Babylon and taken into captivity, the Edomites (descendants of Esau) rejoiced. Much like the Palestinians did on 9/11. The Babylonians kept moving south into Edom and they too suffered the same fate. Their land was overtaken with jackals (“dragons” of v. 3) when human occupation decreased. The ones who remained said, “We will come back”. God said, “Oh no you won’t” (v. 4). The “hate” in v. 3 is the “indignation” God had for the pride, idolatry, and wickedness of the Edomites. To this day, Edom does not exist; Israel does.
Why was Jacob (Israel) loved? Why did God chose his descendants to carry His Word and bring our Savior into the world? In a similar passage in Romans 9:13-15, the apostle plainly declares that Jacob was chosen by God’s mercy through no merit of his own. God specializes in choosing the weak, unlikely, and insignificant, so that they have no claim to boast but the God who called them. Deuteronomy 7:7-8 declares such criteria for Israel. He still chooses to work with the foolish to mystify the wise, the weak to baffle the might, and the base and despised to serve notice to the proud and dignified. (I Corinthians 1:27-28). Why? “That no flesh glory in His presence (v.29) and, “Let him that glorieth glory in the Lord” (v.31).
From the beginning, Esau was favored over his twin brother Jacob by their father, Isaac. Actually, I like Esau. He would be my choice! Jacob lacked character, manliness, and honesty. He not only bribed his brother but he maliciously deceived his father. He cowered before Esau after 20 years. Esau had the opportunity to kill his brother, but he forgave and required no restitution. In my humble opinion, Jacob was a wuss and a mama’s boy. He would not be a likely candidate for Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year”.
Even so, Jacob eventually became a prince before God (the meaning of the name “Israel”) when he surrendered to God in an all night wrestling match. So the descendants of Jacob followed Jehovah while the descendants of Esau followed their pride (see Obadiah 3). Of the 7 detestable sins that God hates, pride is at the top (Prov. 6:16:19). Pride is what caused Lucifer to be cast out of Heave. Pride was the root cause of the fall of Adam in the garden.
God loved Jacob by grace and hated the pride that Esau’s descendants would have as their signature characteristic.

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