We omit some of the minor details of the history as contained in Genesis, and pass on to the birth of Isaac’s twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Let us see how the New Testament explains the Old. We shall read
In this chapter the apostle illustrates the doctrine of election by the history of the households of Abraham and Isaac, in which the will of the Lord made differences irrespective of merit. Here he brings us into a great deep; but if we only wish to know what God reveals and no more, we may safely follow where Scripture leads. Election is not a fit subject for idle curiosity, neither is it to be passed over in neglect, for whatever is taught us in the Word is profitable for some gracious purpose.
Paul did not write as he did because he hated the nation to which he belonged. Far from it. He would have sacrificed everything for their good; and he felt almost ready to be cast away himself, if by such a fate he could have rescued the Jewish people. Passionate love speaks a language which must not be weighed in the balances of cold reasoning. View the words as the outburst of a loving heart, and they are clear enough. O that all Christians had a like love for perishing sinners.
Romans 9:4, 5
Paul pauses to adore the Lord whom he loved. Let us bow our heads and worship also.
Romans 9:6, 7
Here was a difference made according to the divine will. God has a right to dispense his favours as he pleases, and it is not for us either to censure his actions or ask an account of them.
God passed by Esau, and gave Jacob the covenant blessing. This is a fact to be believed, and not to be made a matter for human judgment. Who are we that we should summon Jehovah to our bar? God is righteous in all his ways. We find that Esau despised his birthright, and sold it for a mess of pottage, and so by his actions abundantly justified, as well as fulfilled, the purpose of God.
How it ought to humble us when we remember that we have no claims upon God. If he should leave us to go on in sin and perish, we have no right to complain, for we deserve it. How earnestly and humbly should we implore him to look upon us in mercy, and save us with his great salvation. “Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out,” is the voice of Jesus, and whether we see it or not, it is quite consistent with the predestination taught in this chapter. The Lord has a chosen people, and yet his gospel is to be preached to every creature. Believe, but do not cavil. When we believe on the Lord Jesus, we are in the way to make our calling and election sure. Only by faith can we be assured that the Lord has called and chosen us.
‘Tis not that I did choose thee,
For, Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse thee,
But thou hast chosen me:
Thou from the sin that stain’d me
Wash’d me and set me free,
And to this end ordain’d me,
That I should live to thee.