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Romans 9:12-13: She Was Told, "The Older Will Serve The Younger."


Romans 9:12–13
[12] she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” [13] As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (ESV)

In the Old Testament the natural course of things was that the oldest child was given the birthright. This meant that when the father passed away the oldest child received special privileges. They became the priest of the family. They were given a double portion of any inheritance. As Rebekah had two children in her womb she knew that the first born would have the birthright.

Before her children were born, Rebekah was told that the birthright was going to go to the younger child. As we read the narrative account in Genesis we find that Rebekah took matters into her own hands and helped Jacob to deceive his father and in a sense steal the birthright from Esau. However, we also read that Esau himself despised his birthright and sold it to Jacob for some pork and beans.

From these two men we have two nations. The nation of Israel is, of course, made up of the descendants of Jacob whose name was changed by God to Israel. Esau was the father of the nation of Edom. Just like you can imagine that siblings quarrel and fight, these two nations fought against each other for many years.

Paul quotes the book of Malachi in verse 13. He recounts God saying, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." That is hard for us to read. The reality is that Malachi looks back 1500 years of history and sees that God has never ceased to love the nation of Israel. Esau has persisted in rebellion and division and is under God's judgment.

God's love never fails. Those whom he loves he will never abandon. Those who persist in their rebellion will receive God's judgment. Rejoice in God's never ending love.

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