Yesterday, I had to be behind the wheel for almost the entire day. But I didn’t waste any of my time. I listened to wonderful sermons by Charles Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit – who the Holy Spirit is and His role in a Christian life.
If you guys are interested in listening to these sermons, check out the YouTube channel “Christian Sermons and Audio Books”. You can find tons and tons of sermons, most of them preached in the 1800’s. There are no fairy tale or prosperity kind of sermons, I promise! The word of God is plainly preached in the Holy Spirit; that means, your soul sings with the message.
Anyways, while I was listening to those sermons about the Holy Spirit, my mind was also meditating on this passage:
“Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans 9:13-18
Don’t you love Paul’s rhetorical questions? I certainly do, because they always answer my questions.
“What then shall we say?” –
About what? About God choosing to love Jacob and hate Esau!
Some right away will ask: “Are you saying that God chooses some and rejects others? If so, is this really a loving God? Doesn’t this make God partial?”
You see, more often than not, we approach the truth of God carrying our own preconceived notions and views of “who God is” or “who God must be.” So when we read the Bible, we don’t really read and hear the word. Rather, we hear ourselves.
Paul continues asking: “Is God unjust?” – unjust for choosing Jacob and hating, or not-choosing, Esau?
Isn’t that a familiar question? It is! Many people ask this same question whenever somebody talks about election. They actually fight with all their might, not for themselves, but for God. They think that somebody is bad-mouthing or defaming God, and they want to straighten up that person. They want to “protect” God’s “good name.”
The thing is, God is beyond our knowledge. “Who God said He is” is completely and radically different from our default, natural concept of God. That is why it is always best to read/study the word of God and LISTEN to what it says.
“Is God unjust” for choosing Jacob and rejecting or “hating” Esau?
I mean, just think about it: God is the Creator of everything that is seen and unseen. If this Creator does whatever He wants with His creation, who is there to ask Him why?
The beautiful thing about God is, He wants us, humans, to know Him. He reveals who He is in His Word: Jesus Christ.
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:18
Did you see that? Jesus Christ, the word of God has made God known. The problem is we don’t want to read/study the word. We often choose to sit and listen to our favorite preacher who makes us laugh and feel good about ourselves; the one who always says, “Your problems will suddenly disappear! Your sickness will evaporate! Your deliverance from your brokenness will happen soon. Just continue coming to me.” Then we make his picture our social media account profile picture and we think that we are followers of Christ.
We are not! We are followers of man, not God!
When we follow men, we don’t really appreciate the God of the Bible because His true personality is against the preaching and teaching we love to hear. His nature is just different from the “god” we love to have, a god who has mercy on everyone, who always smiles and finds a way to send everyone to heaven, and who always gives and gives until we explode in euphoria.
Is God unjust for choosing Jacob and rejecting Esau?
“Not at all! For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”” Romans 9:14b, 15
God pretty much said to Moses, “I save some and I don’t save others; I show my compassion to one, and My judgment to the other.”
Did you see that?
Paul then draws a conclusion from what God said to Moses:
“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16
Paul then wraps up his points by saying this:
“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans 9:18
Paul is brilliant, isn’t he? He knows what the readers of his letter will ask when they read verse 18. So before they send him their questions, he addresses their question right there:
“One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”” Romans 9:19
If God chooses one to show His mercy on and welcomes him to heaven, but rejects the other and sends him to hell to show His judgment, why does He blame anyone? That’s a very logical and rational question, don’t you think so?
If God “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” (Ephesians 1:11b), why does He blame us? Who among us can resist God’s will?
The answer is, “None of us!”
The word of God doesn’t shy away from our so called “tough and challenging” questions.
If our questions continue, the biblical answer to us will be:
“Shut your mouth! Don’t you know that you are but a lump of clay, and the One you’re questioning the Potter?” – this is my way of describing Romans 9:20-21
Amazing! So, while I was thinking about this passage of the Bible, I began rejoicing over the mercy and grace of God that God chose to pour into my life.
Why did He choose to do that? I don’t know. How can Jacob know why God loved him? He can’t, and neither can I.
This song of David says it all for me:
“Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1-2
What then is left for me to say except agreeing with Paul and saying, “by the grace of God I am what I am”.
1 Corinthians 15:10a
What am I saying to you?
If you know Christ and worship Him as your Lord and Savior, it is because God chose you to know Christ. He brought you to Christ and opened your eyes, mind, and heart so that you can know, love, worship, and praise Christ, because He said:
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. . . No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:37, 44
If you are that person, singing and rejoicing is your lot for the rest of your life! ///