In this final installment of digging into why God hated Esau, we’ll look at not only the story of Jacob and Esau, but at Esau’s descendants – the Edomites. Believe it or not, this was what I had in mind all along, then a reader posted a comment to part one of this series, and I knew I was on the right track.
The comment pointed out that God does not hate because God couldn’t be love (as it says in 1 John 4:8) if he hated anyone. I don’t pretend to understand the infinite mind of God, but can only glean from His word what He reveals to me and share that with my readers. So whether the root word שָׂנֵא (from Malachi 1:3) means ‘hated’, ‘unloved’, or ‘rejected’ I don’t know. What I do know is that God used this word to describe how he views Esau. So whatever this word (in its deepest form) means, it describes a situation in which God is definitely not happy. And the whole reason to delve into the story of Esau is to find out why God is not happy, then to do my best to avoid being like that. Why? Because as a child of God, I want to be closer to my Father, not cause a rift in our relationship. So when it comes to Esau, I want to learn what makes God so angry that He said He hated Esau.
Wait a minute! God gets angry and reacts with hatred? That sounds petty, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like the God of love, the God of mercy, the God of forgiveness. And it’s not, if we leave it with these emotions on the table. But when we realize that God IS love, mercy and forgiveness, then we have to dig deeper to find out why He is angry and hates.
The key to all this is an unrepentant heart.
First, let’s look at the post where we saw that Esau was sexually immoral. He married two Canaanite women and didn’t notice how unhappy his parents were; at least not until they sent his brother back to their homeland to get a wife.
What was Esau’s reaction when confronted with this truth? Did he do as his grandfather Abraham did with Hagar? When Abraham saw there was no way around Sarah and Hagar getting along in peace, he repented of his marriage to Hagar and, as much as it grieved him, he sent her and Ishmael away. He changed direction.
But what did Esau do?
When Esau saw that his parents weren’t pleased, he didn’t come to them and repent, asking what he could do to make things right. He didn’t send his wives back to their families, which might have pleased his mother and father. No, he once more took matters into his own hands and married Ismael’s daughter, a third wife. It seems to me that he added insult to injury. But again, he probably didn’t realize this either. And he wasn’t repenting, merely trying to win favor.
Next, let’s look at the previous post where we saw that Esau was a dishonest deceiver. He sold his right to the blessing, but then was ready to steal it back.
Now, it might appear that when he realized the blessing for the firstborn went to its rightful owner, he repented. But did he do so because he realized he’d done something wrong by selling it? That it had infinitely more value than a bowl of stew? Or did he cry out because he finally realized he lost something of value that he was unable to get back?
I think his plan to kill his brother after his father’s death speaks volumes. Could it be that he planned to do that all along? Maybe his father’s offer to bless him was an unexpected windfall. Maybe he figured it saved him the trouble of killing his brother to get the inheritance back. After all, his brother was not married yet so had no heirs. This means if his brother died, the entire inheritance returned to him.
Repentance certainly didn’t seem to be a part of Esau’s character.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on Esau but I’m trying to learn what not to do, what not to be, and so I am taking it to the nth degree.
But am I? It seems to me as I read Malachi that this unrepentant spirit passed on to Esau’s descendants.
‘Esav was Ya‘akov’s brother.
Yet I loved Ya‘akov but hated ‘Esav.
I made his mountains desolate
and gave his territory to desert jackals.”
Edom says, “We are beaten down now,
but we will come back and rebuild the ruins.”
Adonai-Tzva’ot answers, “They can build,
but I will demolish.
They will be called the Land of Wickedness,
the people with whom Adonai is permanently angry. (Malachi 1:2-4)
God said they will be called the people with whom He is permanently angry. Wow. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God permanently angry with me.
So as my reader pointed out, our God is a loving God. He wants the best for all His creation and He doesn’t want any to perish. But we are the ones who make bad choices and bad decisions. And when we compound the problem by doing what Esau did – making more bad choices rather than turning around and doing things God’s way – we cause a rift in our relationship with Him that cannot be repaired unless and until we repent.
And that is one very important final lesson from diving in to find out why God hated Esau.
Be sure to leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you think about all this.