Here we are, Romans 9. The most-often skipped chapter of the bible, as far as I have seen. Why is that? Because it answers the most important question of the bible. Why did God make things this way? Why is there evil? Why is there good? Interestingly enough, it doesn’t answer that question directly but poses instead a question back to the reader. As we discussed yesterday, anything short of answering these questions forces us to make up our own answers, and our own answers always lead to apostasy. So, here we go!
The first thirteen verses set the stage. It was well-regarded among the Israelites that they themselves were the chosen people of God. Indeed, the nation was selected among all the others to be set apart; however, that does not mean that individual Israelites were. Furthermore, it was God alone who chose those individuals.
Romans 9:9-13 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad – in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call – she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
I have heard some scholars say that the better word would be “selected” or “chooses” rather than “hated.” In any case, it all has to do with this very curious business of “election.”
Let’s stop for a moment and think about this. We know that Israel was, and is, the “chosen” nation, right? Out of all the nations, God had compassion and “chose” to treat Israel special. In fact, the entire world would be blessed through them! They must have been very godly people to earn such an honor, right? God indeed booted lots of other nations out in order that Israel might have the best of the best, the land of “milk and honey.” Right? But were they such good people? Judge for yourselves:
Deuteronomy 9:4-6 “Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you. Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he might confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.
In fact, God himself threw Israel out because of their wickedness yet all the while still maintaining his promise to the fathers. The land is still a separate land for the nation of Israel, even today though nearly all have refused Jesus as Messiah. So, these people are no different than any other people. They are as rotten to the core as any of them. None follow God, no, not one. Remember that verse?
Yet, we see that God loved (selected) Jacob over Esau. Certainly, Jacob was a scoundrel. No getting around that. Was he better than Esau? I don’t really know how one could make that case. Even so, God selected Jacob over Esau and indeed did love him. Jacob was a child of the promise, both in land and in eternal life. Two miserable, wicked people. One God chooses, the other he doesn’t. Whether nation or individual, God is the one who chooses.
Let’s stop there for today.
Father keep it coming! Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers