A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Friday, January 25, 2013

Jacob and Esau

"Jacob Have I Loved; Esau Have I Hated" There's a Showstopper!
Repost from a year of so ago.

This note is in support of the orthodox Christian doctrine that God does not change. One of the 
incommunicable attributes of God is immutability. Anytime you change the essential attributes of anything, it 
ceases to be what it was. If something has four legs, a tail, two eyes, chases rabbits, barks at squirrels, wags 
its tail when friendly, and is filled with is not a dog. You can wiggle anyway you want to, but such 
a creature may not exist at all, but if it exists it is not a dog, no matter how much you want it to be. It might 
have been a dog at one time, but it is a dog no longer.

Several things need to be said about Jacob and Esau. They are mentioned first in Genesis 25. Isaac's 
beloved wife Rebekah had no children for many years after they were married. Isaac prayed earnestly to the 
Lord and God heard his prayer and Rebekah conceived. [This was not a change is God's plans, for He had 
promised Abraham a blessed seed through Isaac--so cool your jets, you with changeable gods. The 
promises of God and His immediate providence often seem to contradict. It is a test of faith.].

God told Isaac that there were two nations in Rebekah's womb, two very different people, one stronger than 
the other, and the elder should serve the younger. When the twins were born Esau was born first [the elder] 
and Jacob was born second [the younger]. Jacob took hold of Esau's heel. Isaac was sixty years old when 
they were born. This means that he and Rebekah waited for twenty years after they were married to have 
children. God is very often not in a hurry, nor does He feel it necessary for us to know everything. We are to 
walk by faith. Abraham waited for 100 years before Isaac was born; it was ok for Isaac to wait until he was 
sixty. There are several considerations about Jacob and Esau. There are others, but these are major and to 
the topic before us.

First Consideration. Both had exactly the same parents, descended from Isaac and Abraham, the same 
mother and father, the same grandfather and grandmother. God said before they were born that the elder 
would serve the younger.

But Isaac loved Esau, who was a man's man, a hunter, one who made Isaac's heart glad. Jacob was a "plain" 
man, and quiet, ordinary sort of a person, but the word can also mean upright and honest, and even 
"perfect." Hebrews says that Esau was profane, but that doesn't seem to appear in the Biblical narrative.
Esau delighted the heart of Isaac.

When Isaac was old, he determined to give Abraham's blessing to Esau. Why not? He loved Esau, and 
surely God could see the advantages that Esau had over Jacob. Every Sunday School child knows the story-
-at least they did when I was a kid. Now, maybe they know more about giant pickles and carrots.

Isaac tried to change the decree of God. He knew what God had said concerning the elder serving the 
younger, but surely God need Isaac's input into this decision. So he called Esau and told him to go make him 
some savory meat and he would bless him.

But Rebekah heard her husband, she called Jacob, and they deceived the old blind man and Isaac gave 
Jacob the blessing. There is no way to justify this deception, it was wrong and contrary to the duty of wife 
and son to so deceive their father. But that is not the lesson. The lesson at least is this:

1. Isaac has no authority to even seek to change the decree of God. Isaac recognizes this, and after he saw 
that he had been deceived, he could not change the blessing. It is interesting that people think that God can 
change His decrees, but Isaac can't change his. The Bible says that Gen. 27: 33 And Isaac trembled very 
exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all 
before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed."

2. There is nothing more humbling or more productive of the fear of God than the realization that after you 
have done all you could to NOT do the will of God, you have done it anyway. Esau did not value the 
birthright because he was a profane man and earthly minded.

Isaac was a man of faith, but his sin could not be the cause of Esau's losing the brithright; Rebekah and 
Jacob's perfidy could not be the cause of the giving of the birthright and the blessing. This whole sordid and 
sorry mess has nothing in it anywhere that God could look down and see, "Well, that changes my mind." Nor 
did any of the mess stir Him to change His mind about blessing the children of Abraham. That was fixed in 
His immutability.

The Calvinist doctrine of immutability ought to be embraced by every hopeful son of Abraham, for there is 
no great foundation of the hope of Israel than the immutability of God. God is the Rock. As David said: 2Sa 
22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, 
and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence.

3. Even the Psalmist understood this idea: Our evil and our goodness cannot reach to God. He is 
transcendent, and above all things, although He is never absent from anything. He cannot be stained with our 
sins, nor can He be enriched with our goodness. In Psalm 50, the Lord has a controversy with the saints 
because they thought the blood of bulls and goats were something that He needed, when the cattle on a 
thousand hills were His. He said they should be thankful, call upon Him in the time of trouble, and keep their 
obligations to each other.

He was angry with the wicked because they took His covenant in their mouths and thought that He was just 
like them: 21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an 
one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. 22 Now consider this, ye that 
forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

Esau was not hated of God because he did evil; he did evil because he was hated of God. The doing of 
righteousness and faith are wonderful gifts of God; not the purchase price of God's gifts. We will draw this 
out in further posts.
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