Friday, March 1, 2013

I Hated Esau

Each morning when I open my Bible I am naturally drawn to the verses that encourage me.  Ones that bring hope, comfort and insight into my day.  Those promises from God consistently carry me through many of life's little twists and turns.
But this morning I found my reading a bit disturbing.  
Rom. 9:13 “I loved Jacob; I hated Esau.”
Rom. 9:20-24 “Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God?  Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question?  Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, ‘Why did you shape me like this?’  Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?  If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right?”
I began checking other translations.  Did God actually say “I hated Esau.”?  Ouch!  Paul is actually quoting Malachi 1:2-3 where He is speaking to Israel.  “‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD.  ‘But you ask, “How have you loved us?”‘ ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ the LORD says.  ‘Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.’”
God chose Abraham, He chose Isaac and He chose Jacob.  This was decided before the boys were born.  Esau could do nothing to change the line of Israel God had chosen.  But what Esau was in charge of was how he lived his life despite the circumstances of being second in line.  
Thinking back on Esau’s life, despite the fact that he was his father’s favorite son, I don’t really see great decisions.  We have the classic example of his hasty trade with his brother Jacob of his birthright for some food.  Come on, he was back home from hunting.  He could have gotten food another way - his family would not have let him starve to death - but he traded his inheritance as first born child because he really didn’t care.  He also made some pretty crappy choices in the women he married giving his parents “great grief”.  
We can’t all be the beautiful vase displayed for all to see and admire.  We all have been created uniquely by God with a specific task in mind.  It’s not fair.  But I think that if Esau had followed God and made different choices, God would have blessed him and his descendants.  In Romans God' original plan was that Esau would be second, but after Esau lived his life in second place making bad decisions, God actually hated him.   God will bless us if we follow Him and are faithful.  We can’t change what God has predetermined, our physical circumstances, our intelligence or our passions.  But we can choose how to use these things for God’s glory.  
Are you stuck in a spot of frustration with how you are created?  Do you dare take a look beyond yourself to use your gifts for God, no matter how trivial they may seem?


  1. this is a really hard passage - i don't like it when what i read in my Bible about God doesn't match up with the idol God i've created in my mind... the one i can understand and relate to on my level.

    i'm also glad to see i'm not the only one wrestling with hard questions. i'm glad you found an answer and some sense at the end... what do you do when you don't???

    1. I talk - a lot! I bring it up to my Bible Study, I call friends who have been wrestling through issues with my on this journey, I talk to Chad and now my kids are old enough to get their input as well. My latest struggle has been working through all the temples I visited and idols I saw in Bangkok. (No pun on your comment intended!) I didn't feel any darkness, should I? Why didn't I? So I've talked with a few friend who have lived in that setting. Relationships here on earth really help me work through my struggles with God.
      BTW, I'm really hoping to catch-up with you this summer. I'll only be in Midland one Sunday, but I hope to see you!

    2. we won't be up to midland until sometime in July, probably... do you know when you'll be there?