31 December 2014


Every follower of Christ, at some point in his journey, will encounter God's puzzling declaration

in Romans chapter nine, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." What! But doesn't God

love everyone? Like Jacob, I find myself wrestling with questions of time and eternity, questions

of God's will and my own. If God hardened Pharaoh's heart, who's to say he won't harden

mine? If my life is predetermined then what point is there to this tiresome daily fight with evil?

So what if I fail? "Why does he still find fault, for who has resisted his will?" Paul asked, as if

just for me, in that very same chapter. One's nose could get "put out of joint" over all of this, to

say nothing of Jacob's hip!

For a fortunate few, the problems resolve easily in the truth that God exists outside of our

space-time continuum and is in no way bound by it. Here's the idea in a nutshell: Because God

is omniscient, he knows the end from the beginning of every person, so he already knows

exactly whom he will sovereignly elect for his purposes. Simple right? Not so fast!

Take the case of the patriarch Jacob. If he were this godly, upright man of good character who

always made the right decisions, I could more easily understand the phrase "Jacob I have loved

. . ." (Rom 9:13) That is, I could agree with the simple idea above that God chooses right every

time because he knows all things. However, from the moment of his birth, when he emerged

holding his older brother Esau's heel, Jacob was known as the deceiver, the manipulative cheat

who always connived to achieve his own ends. His whole life dramatized the meaning of his

name: supplanter! Likewise, who needs to look hard within his own heart to find something that

he knows God hates? So the real mystery is not, "Why did God hate Esau?", but rather, "Why

did God love Jacob?"!

Notwithstanding all his misdeeds and character flaws, there came a time when Jacob wrestled

all night with the Angel of the Lord. When morning came, one touch of the Angel's finger

dislocated his hip, leaving him limping for life. But something else happened in Jacob's spirit. In

a moment he was humbled, he was broken, and his heart was changed. Jacob's spirit, hitherto

bound by time and flesh, was somehow touched by God's unseen, eternal hand. Along with

many prominent Bible scholars, I believe the Angel of the Lord was none other than the pre-

incarnate Messiah -- Jesus, the Son of the Living God!

Could this have been the one defining moment in time, whereby God would now eternally say,

"Jacob I have loved?" The Bible did not record such a moment for Esau. Many years earlier,

their grandfather had just such a moment, memorialized by the famous words, "Abraham

believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (Romans 4:3, Genesis 15:6) The

Apostle Paul's moment also came one day in a blinding flash . . . on a road to Damascus. 

The question that leaves me troubled, or should at the least deeply concern me, is who am I to

God? Am I Jacob? Or am I Esau? What will heaven's epitaph declare for my life? For me, the

deciding issue cannot be one of character or even good works, as important as those things are. 

Far more defining and of eternal consequence must be the question of whether I have wrestled

with Eternity. That is, with the Eternal One. Has my defining moment come? Have I heard

heaven's knock and opened the door? If the heavens declare the glory of God, how can I say I

have not heard? Like Jacob, am I in the number of those whom God loves?

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and

they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:27, 28)

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at

the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine

with him, and he with Me." -- Jesus Christ (Revelation 3:19,20)

Photo:  Jeff Franks, Striped Butterfly

1 comment:

  1. You asked, "What will heaven's epitaph declare for my life?" I personally believe it will be, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"


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