6 Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! 7 Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. 8 This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. 9 For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. 11 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; 12 he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” 13 In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”
14 Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! 15 For God said to Moses,
“I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”
16 So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.
Romans 9:6-16 (NLT)
Not all born into Israel are truly members of God’s people.
Ishmael was born to Abraham. But we know that Ishmael is not of the Nation Israel. Esau was born to Isaac and was Abraham’s grandson but he is not considered God’s people. Why not? His twin was Jacob – born of the same parents. Why is Jacob a child and Esau is not? FAITH. Spiritually, Esau did not have faith. Jacob, even though he deceived people, had faith in God. We know this because He wrestled with God and would not let God go until God gave him a blessing. Someone without faith would not care about God’s blessing.
In verse 8, we see the promise of Christ. In the KJV, we see it
That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Romans 9:8 (KJV)
This verse in the King James Version helped me understand a little more. Not all of Abraham’s descendants are spiritual, some are of the flesh (earthly). When it refers to “of the flesh” it means that they are not children of God because they are not spiritual. The last part of this verse shows that the promise is only “counted for the seed” which means Jesus. Anytime in the Word we see ‘the seed’ it refers to the lineage of Jesus Christ. Let’s look at one more verse in the King James Version for further clarification:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Galatians 3:16 (KJV)
Ishamel was born in response to the flesh.
Sarah doubted God’s promise and persuaded Abraham to have a baby with her maid, Haggar. Together they had Ishmael. He was not the promise from God. Isaac was that promised child – the spiritual child. This is a perfect picture of law and grace. Salvation could be accomplished through the law – through the efforts of the flesh. It could only be accomplished through the efforts of the Spirit through grace.
Esau was not in the lineage of Christ either. Christ came from Jacob’s line.
The Sovereign God.
There are some things in Scripture which are very difficult to understand with our finite minds. The next few verses are among those that are difficult. We need to keep in mind that God is Sovereign over all. He sees beginning and end and all that falls in between. We are so extremely limited in our thinking. We need to remember this as we read the next verses.
In God’s Sovereignty, He knew which of Isaac and Rebecca’s twins would be absent of faith. God knew that Esau would one day sell his birthright for a bowl of stew. He sold his birthright for a fleshly desire – hunger. This is why God told Rebecca that her older son would serve her younger son. God loved Jacob and rejected Esau. Paul goes on to answer the same question that is in all of our heads! Is God unfair? And he gives us his emphatic answer – “Of course not!” (verse 14).
It is God’s right to deal with people how He sees fit.
As noted in verse 15 above, God told Moses that He will show mercy to anyone He chooses and compassion to anyone He chooses. It is His right. He is Sovereign God of the entire Universe. He created everything out of nothing. Who are we to say that He is being unfair? We can only see a teeny tiny limited view.
Through the prophet Malachi, God sheds a little more light on Jacob and Esau:
“I have always loved you,” says the Lord.
But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”
And the Lord replies, “This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob, 3 but I rejected his brother, Esau, and devastated his hill country. I turned Esau’s inheritance into a desert for jackals.”
God loved Jacob to show Israel His love.
He chose faith over flesh. Grace over law. Christ over Adam.
Stay in the Light and the Love Always,