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.
I think this series was really well throught through and provides a really interesting insight. Thanks.
Thank you Antony. Glad you stopped by.
The quote in Romans about Esau and Jacob is sometimes used to teach absolute, unconditional election of individuals. Those that interpret it so may fail to deal with the context from Malachi. “Esau” in Mal 1:2, 3 represents the nation of Edom, not Esau individually! Israel and Edom had problems including open war (David fought Edom). When Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon, Edom cheered! (Ps 137:7). That Psalm has brought tears to my eyes. Edom cheered when the “city of the great King” was destroyed! God did not deal arbitrarily with the individual Esau nor with the nation of Edom. They both had their shortcomings.
We know from Romans 9-11 that many of the Jews in Paul’s day fell “because of unbelief.” Both Jacob (the nation of Israel) and Esau (the nation of Edom) fell! They were both physical descendants of Abraham. Some people sadly conclude that, because they had a godly grandmother, they are glory bound. Relationships do matter! Our relationship with Christ matters, even if our grandmothers were not godly. Those that fell in Paul’s day did so despite all the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. Their physical descent from Abraham did not save them. “For by grace are ye saved, through faith.” Romans 9-11 explains why the nation of Israel, at large, fell and only a remnant was saved.
Our response to the call of the gospel in the present dispensation has consequences. That is what Paul’s quote from Malachi signifies.
Thanks for stopping by. I agree that God deals with nations, and I fear for the US. Having lived through Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, I know first hand that what happens to an area (or nation) causes fall out even for believers.
One of my favorite songs from Godspell when I was a teen, was “On the Willows”. Anyone who comes against God’s Chosen people, is facing recompense by the Creator. And it is because of His faithfulness that, though His people (the Jews) were unfaithful, that does not remove them from His favor – as Paul verifies in Romans 2.
Many, through faith in God’s promises, are waiting for Messiah. It is those who, when He comes, will weep. And on that day He will wipe every tear from their eyes, as the angels (and believers) rejoice in their homecoming. Much as we rejoice now in their physical homecoming to the land of Israel.
Aren’t you glad that God is faithful even when we are faithless? I know I am. Whenever I doubt that God will accept me, when I repent, I look to Israel’s time in the wilderness. Before Moses had even come down from the mountain, Israel broke covenant. But God renewed His covenant with them, because of His love and devotion, because of His mercy and faithfulness.
Yes, Lance, our response to the good news is important. We are called to ‘repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’
I, for one, am grateful to the Jewish people. As Paul says, they have guarded the oracles of God. If not for His chosen people, we would not know what, exactly, we had to repent from.
I don’t believe Rebekkah was trying to give her son time to repent. I think, she, just like her two sons were tricksters.
Jacob had no right to take his brothers birthright for a bowl of stew. That was like taking candy from a baby and he knew it. No. He was a deceiver and a schemer, just like his mom. She’s the one who taught him to be manipulative.
I do believe Essau was planning something heinous to get his birthright back. He never planned for Jacob to keep it. That’s why he was so furious when his father bestowed it on Jacob. He wanted to kill him immediately. That’s why Jacob had to run for his life. But in the end Jacob met his match. His Uncle Laban (Rebekkah’s brother) was a master manipulator. Jacob got his comeuppance with him. But he did outsmart the old bugger, in the end. That was a brilliant move on Jacob’s part and he totally relied on God to help him. But God wasn’t finished with him quite yet. He still had to change his character, before Esau found him. Thank God He did. Then Jacob’s old man died. He became regenerated. All things became new. Easy saw that, immediately, and forgave him.
Thanks for stopping by. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That’s the beauty of God’s word, that we can wrestle with it, much like Jacob wrestled with God.
Have you read the follow up post to this series where I discovered what God had to say about Jacob? http://www.journeytomessiah.com/jacob-and-esau/who-do-we-believe-god-or-esau/
Hi, Ro, This was well thought through and gave me greater insight into the history of Jacob and Esau. Concerning how a loving God could hate Esau, I believe the Word of God uses the Hebrew idiom of permission. God does not hate; you are right in making that statement. When we make bad choices, we walk away from the umbrella of God’s blessing. Our bad decisions put us in the adversary’s realm where we reap the results. If we make decisions according to God’s Word, we are under His umbrella where we reap His blessings.