by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4 January 21, 2017 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(023)Thesis: God's "Love" for Jacob and "Hatred" for Esau should not be the stumbling block that it is.
Introduction: In Paul's presentation of the reality of God's Larger Plan, he has argued that the accusation that he "hates" Israelites is false, and that the accusation that his "Gospel" is inherently self-contradictory is also false.
However, his argument that the accusation that his "Gospel" is inherently self-contradictory introduces a concept that has become, as strange as it sounds, a major stumbling-block for many. That "stumbling-block" is this: God has a right to make decisions that affect others for good or ill.
This reality raises one of the most crucial issues in anyone's experience. That issue is this: How does any given realization of Reality affect one's "reaction" in regard to "God"? For unbelievers, this is at the heart of whether, or not, they remain unbelievers. For believers, this is at the heart of whether, or not, they continue to progress in sanctification or take their hand off the plough (Luke 9:62). This issue of "reaction" is typically found in one of two situations. First, "reality" consists of being subjected to some experience, whether considered "good" or "bad". And second, "reality" consists of discovering something about God that was previously unknown, whether determined to be "good" or "bad". What happens when God subjects someone to an unexpected experience? What happens when God reveals something about Himself to someone that they did not previously know? The answers are critical because they become the determinative agents of more unexpected experiences and/or more revelation of God that was previously unknown.
In our text for study this evening, we read, "Jacob I have loved, but/and Esau I have hated", and that falls into its place as "proof" (in the "Just as it stands written..." formula) of his claim that Yahweh has an "Israel" within the nation of "Israelites" that are heirs of the promises made to the fathers.
I. Certain Precursors For Understanding.
A. Reality is.
1. Bad theology screeches against "Reality", but the screeching does not change anything except the noise level and the screecher's own downward spiral into the very thing against which he/she is screeching.
2. Good theology faces the facts of "Reality" and seeks a kind of understanding that allows "faith, hope, and love" to continue to grow.
B. The most basic issue -- that God has the right to make decisions that affect others both for good and for ill -- is a right that all rational creatures possess and exercise day in and day out.
C. The declaration of God that He "hated Esau" does not mean that He did not "love Esau".
1. All "love" and "hate" issues are highly "situational" because of the inherent complexity of a multi-particular creation.
2. The "bottom line" in all "love" statements is the fact of a willingness to sacrifice something else that is "loved" for the sake of the "ultimately loved".
3. The "bottom line" in all "hate" statements is the fact of an unwillingness to sacrifice something "loved" for the sake of something "hated".
4. The complexity that exists, exists because, in every particular point-in-time situation, there are multiple "objects" that can either be "loved" or "hated" but not both.
5. The love of God has been made exceedingly clear in that in every situation wherein there is only God and one object, God will sacrifice Himself for the sake of the "beloved", but in no case in the universe does that ever exist.
a. In a conflict-filled universe where there are multiple objects of love, choices have to be made.
b. All of God's creatures of sense make these choices day in and day out, and so does God.
6. In the case of the Jacob/Esau setting, there was only one who could "inherit the mantle of the promises" as the progenitor of The Seed.
7. Thus, when God deliberately chose to exalt the weaker over the stronger, those involved had to "react to the Reality as it was" (none of the "reactors" did well with Reality).
a. Esau was "hated" in terms of God's plan to produce The Seed.
b. But his reactions devolved into antagonism against God for not choosing him, and that antagonism created an ever-deepening "hatred" on God's part for him so that, by the time of Malachi, Esau's doom was written (Malachi 1:4).
1) Thus, Esau's "hatred" for God was entirely selfish and the extreme opposite to the love/hate of God for him.
2) And thus, God's response to Esau was a hardening "hatred" that eventually would write him out of any and every blessing of "love".
II. Paul's Choice of Malachi 3:2-3.
A. The text of Malachi was the final development of over a thousand years of the development of Esau's "hatred" for God.
B. But it proved Paul's ultimate point.
1. The Gospel of the Grace of God is all about God taking the initiative to make promises and maintain His integrity for the sake of those who are "children" of those promises.
2. The rationale for this "Grace" is very clear: that is the only way the promises could be kept (Romans 4:16).
3. And Paul's "point" is that "Israelites" can be, and have been, permitted by God to "react" to their God-undergirded experiences and their God-illumined knowledge of Him so that they are not the result of God's promises.
a. God did, in fact, the very thing that the Israelites were crying against in opposition to Paul's message: He did not compel their submission and, thus, guarantee their "salvation" as the fleshly seed of Abraham.
b. Simultaneously, God also, did, in fact, enforce His integrity regarding His promises and the underwriting of the "births" of the "children of promise".
III. The Overall Point: Grace-Love is not a doctrine of the Legal-Love embraced by those who value their "freedom of choice"; it is a doctrine of divine intervention to the point of submission for those who are "Israel" (as respects "Israelites") and those who are "The Church" (as respects Paul's preaching to the Gentiles).