Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 24
ROMANS 9:6-9 AND GENESIS 32:27-28
Now let’s get right back to where we left off in our last lesson and that will be again in Romans Chapter 9. I hope we can finish this chapter in the next two lessons. Remember the only reason we’re here is to teach the Word as I feel The Lord has opened it up to me, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and you don’t have to. But if you do disagree with me hopefully you’ll search the Scriptures and see if I’m wrong or not. In our last lesson we left off in verse 12, so let’s read that again, and go on into verse 13.
“It was said unto her, (Rebecca up in verse 10) The elder (Esau) shall serve the younger.” (Jacob)
Now God said that before the boys were ever born. Now verse 13, and I know this throws a curve at people.
“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Now I always have to qualify the definition of the word “hated.” It is not hate as we think of hating someone enough to practically do them harm. It’s a comparative term. Now, even when Jesus used the term in Luke 14:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Now Jesus never expected any human being to hate their parents, but it was a comparative term. That unless we can have such a love for the Lord Jesus that by comparison our love for the family is almost like a hatred. Now it’s the same way here with Esau, it wasn’t that God just had an intrinsic hatred for him, but His love for Jacob was so great, and almost beyond comprehension in comparison it almost seems as if Esau was hated. Now some time ago I was reading something by Charles Spurgeon, that great English preacher in London in the 1800’s. And a lady, after one of his services, came up to him and said, “Mr. Spurgeon, I cannot understand how God could hate Esau.” And Mr. Spurgeon said, “Lady, that’s not my problem. My problem is how in the world did He love Jacob?” And isn’t that it? It’s no problem to understand how He hated Esau because Esau was totally destitute of faith, and didn’t think anything of what God said, but how could He love Jacob? Now we’re not going to stop with Jacob. How could He love me?.
You know I have to stop and think back when I was a skinny little kid, and that dear preacher’s wife I’m sure, wept bitter tears over me, but she never gave up, and then one day that dear lady led me to The Lord. And some day, whatever I’ve been able to reap will be part of her harvest because she was faithful, and so it is with all of us. Why did God love you? Have you ever asked yourself that? Why should He? No more than why He loved Jacob. Now we’re going to see where Paul picks this up in the Book of Malachi Chapter 1.
“The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, `Wherein hast thou loved us?’ `Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ saith the LORD: `yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.'”
Now again you have to go back into ancient history, and the offspring of Esau of course were the Edomites, and they were mountain dwellers. Remember when you have someone that lives in the mountains they must be in good physical shape, because when you climb those mountains everyday for whatever purpose, you’re building up your physical stamina, and so the Edomites had become a physically strong people. And they had built their homes up in the cliffs, and had gotten proud and arrogant, and thought that nobody could destroy them. Well you can read on down through these verses and you can see what God said. He said, “I’ll destroy you, I won’t let you prosper because coming out of Esau they were anti-God, they had no time for God, and He says in verse 4:
“Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return (In other words God had already thrown down their houses once.) and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, `The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.'”
What God is saying, is that even these Edomites and all their pride, and physical stamina, and so forth, they were nothing under a Sovereign God. But little old weak Israel, God could make them what ever He wanted. Now back to Romans. This is where Paul quotes from them when he says:
“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Now remember what I said in the last lesson. We’re going to come into these verses that are really tough. I had rather just skip the rest of Chapter 9 and go to Chapter 10 because it would be a lot easier, but we can’t do that, we have to take it as it comes. And for us as believers this is not a problem because you can now look back and see that you were chosen from before the foundation of the world. For a lost person listening to me, you’re still on the other side of the door, you’re still looking at, “Whosoever will may come.”
I was reading, I think William R. Newell awhile back, and he ran into a gentlemen in Michigan during his ministry, and that gentlemen made the rash statement, “Well if I’m in the elect, I have nothing to worry about, and if I’m not then there is nothing you or anybody else can do about it, because I’ll go to hell anyway.” And this writer said, “Mister, wake up, you don’t have to worry about being elected, what you have to worry about is what are you going to do with the Gospel. Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4. Are you going to believe it and then be one of the elect, or are you going to reject the Gospel, and go to your doom.”
And that’s exactly where I have to leave it, but now we’re going to see in these verses, from verse 14 to almost the end of the chapter, the Sovereignty of God. He can do whatever He wants to do, but being the Righteous Holy God that He is He will never do anything that is unfair. And this what we have to constantly keep in front of us. God will never be unrighteous, He will never treat somebody unfairly.
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Let’s go back again into Israel’s history, and we find that God has raised up the deliverer Moses to go down into Egypt, and confront Pharaoh. But in the end result He brings Israel out of Egypt, down to Mount Sinai. He’s already giving them the Manna, and He’s going to provide all their physical needs, and He’s getting ready to give them the Ten Commandments, and set up the whole system of the Law. But while Moses is up in the mountain, what takes place down at the base? While Moses was up in the mountain the Children of Israel asked Aaron, “Make us a God.” And you know what happened. Aaron said that he threw some gold into the fire and out came this calf. Isn’t it amazing what grown men can think of, but nevertheless here they begin this worship of that golden calf. And when Moses and Joshua came down off the mountainside, Joshua said, “Moses do I hear music? Do I hear laughter?” And Moses soon caught on, and said to Joshua, “More than that, they’re dancing.” They weren’t just dancing, they were in lewd lascivious dancing, they were naked in pagan worship around that golden calf.
Now then, what did God have every right in His righteousness to do with Israel? He had every right in His righteousness to wipe them off the face of the earth. Was God ready to do that? Yes He was. He was Hot in His anger The Word says. And He says in so many words that He would start over with Moses again. But what does Moses do? Oh, he falls on his face before God, and I think for almost thirty days he pleads with Jehovah God to spare these people. Don’t let the Egyptians be able to crow, “Well look what happened to those people that got away from us. Their God destroyed them in the wilderness.” So Moses pleaded, and he pleaded for them. Now on what basis did God spare Israel? His Mercy. That was the only thing that God could fall back on.
I think John Darby who used the term, “Here in all of His Holiness and Righteousness, He had every right to destroy the nation of Israel, but He withdrew into His Sovereignty.“ And in His Sovereignty He poured out mercy. Isn’t that fabulous? All through Israel’s history when they would fail God in His promises, and would go into idolatry, where would God have to go each time? Back into His Sovereignty, and in His Sovereignty He would pour out mercy.
Now let’s come all the way up to the Cross of Calvary. Here Israel has demanded His death, and Rome is pounding the spikes into His hands. What could God had done? He could have cleansed the earth of the whole human race, but again what did He do? He withdrew into His Sovereignty. And as the Sovereign God of the universe that could do whatever He wanted to do. And as Christ hung on that Cross, what did God pour out? Mercy. Mercy not just for the Nation of Israel, but for the whole human race, and only because He is Sovereign. In any other circumstance He would have had to destroy the human race, He would have had to destroy Israel, He would have had to destroy you and I. And even today, why does God continue to offer Salvation to the human race? My when you listen to the news and read your newspaper, when you see what’s going on in all echelons of our society, what keeps God from just totally doing what He was going to do to Israel? His Sovereign Grace. And that’s where we are, He is Sovereign, and in Grace He poured out His mercy there at the Cross of Calvary.
Remember I mentioned in one of our lessons some time ago about a gentlemen from Tennessee who called one Sunday afternoon, and said, “Les, is the sinner’s prayer appropriate today?” Well that’s kind of a loaded question, but I caught it quick enough to say “No, that’s not appropriate.” Because what’s the sinner’s prayer? “God be merciful to me a sinner.”That’s not appropriate today, Why? God has already poured out His mercy. He did that at the Cross, and for us, for Him to pour out His mercy is a double take. And it’s the same as saying, “God, You had better do it again.” No He doesn’t have to do it again, He’s already poured out all the mercy of a Sovereign God, and so now what do we do? We appropriate that mercy by faith, and we say, “Yes, Lord, I know that your mercy was poured out, and now I believe it, I appropriate it, it’s mine.” And that makes all the difference in the world if we don’t understand what God has already accomplished at the Cross on our behalf. Now let’s come on back to Romans Chapter 9, so this is what Paul is referring to, that when Moses was flat on his face after the episode of the golden calf, and that’s when God told Moses:
“…I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (Because God is Sovereign. He is the final authority. Now verse 16.) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Now turn with me to John’s Gospel for a moment to Chapter 1. Here He’s speaking of them who had become believers, and He says:
“Which were born, (Into the family of God) not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, (But how were they born?) but of God.
Now as Jesus was dealing here in John’s Gospel, He’s still with the Nation of Israel in His earthly ministry isn’t He? What was the great opposition to Jesus of Nazareth during His earthly ministry. Turn on over to Chapter 8. I’ll tell you what the problem was, these Jews of Jesus’ day, especially the Pharisees with whom He had most to do, were proud of their lineage. They were proud of their genealogy, they weren’t the children of Esau, they weren’t the children of Ishmael. They were children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and you see it over and over. And so when Jesus came and confronted them with their sins, why couldn’t they see their sins? They were relying on their genealogy. Hey, we’re the the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we don’t have a sin problem. Oh no? Look what Jesus says now in Chapter 8 of John’s Gospel.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”
Quite an accusation isn’t it? My, as the sons of Abraham who thought they were righteous, they should have been able to embrace Jesus, and realize Who He was. Why couldn’t they? Because they were blind. Now reading on:
“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.”
Wow! What’s He doing? He’s slapping them in the face that they didn’t know the same Father that He did. But they take it and throw it back at Jesus with a horrible answer.
“They answered and said unto him, `Abraham is our father.’ Jesus saith unto them, `If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. (You would be people of faith.)But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.'”
In other words when God spoke to Abraham, Abraham didn’t respond in self righteousness and say, “Hey, away with you, we’re going to kill you.” No. Abraham the man of faith recognized Who God was when He came into his life. Now verse 41, and Jesus said:
“Ye do the deeds of your father, (watch this) Then said they to him, `We be not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God.'”
Do you realize what their throwing at Jesus? See they didn’t believe in His virgin birth, What was the story going through Nazareth? That Mary and Joseph, even if he was the father, had conceived out of wedlock. And I imagine the story was going around that Joseph wasn’t even the father, and so they’re throwing this whole thing that Jesus of Nazareth was a result of fornication, an immoral act. I tell you what, you have no idea how low these people were. Now verse 42:
“Jesus said unto them, `If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? (or what I’m saying, and then Jesus answered His own question) even because ye cannot hear my words. (It never registered with them, and remember this is strong language He is using.) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. (your father) He was a murderer from the beginning, and (your father) abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
And then look at the next verse. Do you think Jesus knew what He was talking about? Boy you had better believe it.
“Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, `Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?’ (or demon. That’s unbelievable isn’t it.) Jesus answered, `I have not a devil:(demon) but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.'”
We won’t take time to finish that chapter, but go ahead and read it, but what I want you to see is, what were these Jews relying on? Their genealogy. They were the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but even though they had that unique opportunity, they had the Scriptures, they had the Word of God, and the priesthood, but what were they? Wrapped in unbelief, and they could not comprehend. Now let’s come back to Romans, and verse 16 again.
“So then it is not of him that willeth,…”
In other words a person can’t just say, “Oh well, since I am of a particular genealogy, or nationality, or race, I’m going to be a child of God.” But you see it doesn’t work that way, and that’s what Jesus was speaking about that we just looked at.
“…nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Well the purpose of running is to get from one place to another, and so the whole concept here is, it isn’t up to a man to make up his mind, well I’m going to do this for God, and I’m going to go from here to there for God. No it doesn’t work that way. It’s absolutely contrary to the workings of a Sovereign God. Now verse 17.
“For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, (The Pharaoh of Egypt) `Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.'”
Now what’s that verse referring to? Well, after the plagues that had stricken Egypt, even though it was the ancient world and they didn’t have communication as speedy as ours, did the word get across the then-known world what had happened in Egypt? Absolutely. Even the Canaanites clear up there in present day Palestine, by the time the Jews got there they knew what had happened down in Egypt. And they knew that God of the Israelites had destroyed Egypt. The pagan Canaanites up there years later still talked about how the God of Israel had dealt with Pharaoh. And when you go back and read ancient history, Egypt was in shambles so others just came in and took it over really. But God did all this with Pharaoh in order to accomplish His Sovereignty.