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Sermon #105 — Romans Series`
Title: “Esau have I Hated.”
Text: Romans 9:13
Subject: God’s Hatred of Esau
Date: Sunday Morning — December 11, 2016
Reading: Romans 9:1-33
We worship God on his throne. “The God of all grace” sits upon the throne of absolute sovereignty; and it is “the Throne of Grace” (Hebrews 4:16). He gives grace to whom he will and withholds it from whom he will, as it pleases him. He has mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will he hardens. If you would find grace, you must find it there, at the “the Throne of Grace,” bowing before the august majesty of the sovereign, eternal God. And that grace comes to sinners through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. — If we find grace, if we obtain God’s salvation, we will do so only at the Throne of Grace, trusting the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
While you are turning to Romans 9:13, let me tell you a story, a true story, about a remarkable event that took place back in 1951, early in the ministry of Evangelist Rolfe Barnard. At the time, Bro. Barnard was living in my home town, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and was the Professor of Theology at Piedmont Bible College.
Olney, Illinois — 1951
Back in 1951, Bro. Barnard held a meeting with a Baptist church in Olney, Illinois. He was preaching in a church that had never heard the message of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ. And Barnard was preaching it. Barnard said, he “felt, in the power of God’s Spirit” as he preached. But trouble was brewing. Barnard was staying in the pastor’s home and both the pastor and his wife were rebelling against the message. She wouldn’t speak to him. She put his meals down on the table and walk away. — You can imagine how icy cold that house must have been!
The third night of the meeting, the pastor announced that he wanted to meet privately with the church deacons, and they went downstairs, gathered in one of the rooms, and shut the door. The pastor paced back and forth before his deacons a few times, and then said, “This man is going to ruin our church. He is going to tear up our church.” “We’ve got to get rid of him, and I don’t know what to do.”
One of the men spoke up and he said, “Well,” this was back in 1951. He said, “I’ll give you three hundred dollars, and you can pay him off and send him home.” — And the pastor said, “Well, how does that meet with the rest of you men?” They all agreed that that was the thing to do, all except one white-haired old man.
That old deacon said nothing. So the pastor asked him, “What do you think?” So he stood up and to the pastor and the other deacons, “That man is preaching the gospel and you, pastor, have never heard it and your wife has never heard it, and you deacons have never heard it. But I’ve heard the gospel in my day. And,” he said, “that’s the gospel. And,” he said, “I warn every one of you, you had better not touch that man. You had better not lay your hand on him. God said something about ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm.’ I warn you, ‘Touch not my anointed.’ That’s all I’ve got to say.” And he sat down. They sat there in silence for a while and the preacher was scared. After a while, he said, “Well, let’s go on with the meeting.”
Bro. Barnard said they went on with the meeting and two nights later a man got up and sang “Why should he love me so?” Pastor’s wife was accompanying him on the organ. Evidently, the Holy Spirit used the message Barnard had been preaching and the words of that song, “Why should my Savior to Calvary go? Why should he love me so?” Suddenly, the organ stopped playing and the pastor’s wife put her head down on the key board and just sat there sobbing. And the man stopped singing and nobody moved. And after a while here she came, fell on her face down here at the front and her husband joined her and seven of those deacons joined them. And God brought that pastor and his wife, and seven deacons that night, and a whole lot of other folks to a knowledge of the gospel and saved them by his almighty grace, giving them life and faith in Christ.
Have you found my text — Romans 9:13? As we read the Book of God, we must read it, bowing before our God, bowing before his sovereign throne, bowing to his Word. — Are you prepared to do that? Are you prepared to bow to God and bow to his Word? Let’s read Romans 9:13 together, and we’ll see. Here, the Lord God speaks, and speaks plainly about his absolute sovereignty in the exercise of his grace.
(Romans 9:13) “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
If you are one of God’s elect, you will fight that for just so long. God is going to win. He is going to win. He is going to conquer the proud heart. He is going to break the wild asses’ colt. He is going to ride you, until he rides you down and breaks you. The sovereign Christ is going to put his yoke on you. He will conquer you, either in grace or in judgment, but he’s going to conquer you. God is going to have the victory. You will bow to God. You will bow before his throne. The Triune Jehovah is going to magnify and exalt his himself. Christ will be triumphant over you and over me. One way or the other, in grace or in judgment, you will bow at his feet. — “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
“Esau have I hated.” — That’s the title of my message. Last Sunday morning, I preached to you on the easy, delightful part of my text. — “Jacob have I loved.” Today, we are going to look at the more difficult part. — “Esau have I hated.” That’s my subject. — “Esau have I hated.” — The Lord God declares, “Esau have I hated.”
(Romans 9:13) “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
I do not care how many times you read the text, it will not change. God says, “Esau have I hated.” It doesn’t matter whether you read it in English, Greek, German, Spanish, or Russian, it still reads, “Esau have I hated.”
Twice in one chapter the Apostle John tells us, “God is love” But here God says, “Esau have I hated.” Does God have the capacity to hate? What can these words mean? — “Esau have I hated.”
Proposition: The difference between Jacob and Esau was a difference made by God.
Divisions: I do not pretend to understand the great wonders of election, reprobation, and predestination. I don’t. But I do rejoice in all God’s glorious character as God, bow to his Word, and worship him. So let me tell you five things about God’s hatred of Esau that are clearly revealed in this blessed Book. When I am done, there will be plenty more to say; but these five things I know. It is my prayer that God will be honored and your souls everlastingly benefitted in the knowledge of Christ. God’s hatred of Esau was…
1. A Sovereign Hatred.
2. A Negative Hatred.
3. A Deserved Hatred.
4. A Positive Hatred.
5. An Everlasting Hatred.
1st — God’s hatred was a sovereign hatred. That is obviously the message of our text. When the Lord God says, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” he is using those twin brothers as an illustration of his great and glorious sovereignty in the salvation of sinners (Romans 9:10-26).
(Romans 9:10-26) “When Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (11) (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? (20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (22) What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (25) As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (26) And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”
In verse 13, the Spirit of God, using Jacob to represent God’s elect and Esau to represent all who perish at last under the wrath of God, teaches us and teaches us plainly, as he does throughout the Word of God, that the difference between God’s elect whom he saves by his almighty grace in Christ and the reprobate who never shall be saved is a difference of God’s making, and God’s making alone (1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter 2:7-10; Matthew 11:25-30).
(1 Corinthians 4:7) “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
(1 Peter 2:7-10) “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. “
(Matthew 11:25-30) “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (27) All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Any honest interpretation of Romans 9 must recognize that in verse 13 Paul is using Jacob as a representative of all God’s elect, and Esau as the representative of all who are not among the elect, the reprobate of the world.
There are but two groups of people in this world. The whole human race is divided into just these two groups. In the Book of God these two groups are called…
Š God’s Elect and the Reprobate
Š Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy
Š Those Appointed to Salvation and Those Appointed to Condemnation
Š The Woman’s Seed and the Serpent’s Seed
Š Shem and Japheth — and Ham
Š Sheep and Goats
Š Wheat and Tares
Š Israel and Edom
Š Jerusalem and Babylon
Š Jacob and Esau.
Between these two groups “there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from” one to the other cannot do so (Luke 16:26).
A Negative Hatred
2nd — God’s hatred of Esau was a negative hatred. The word “hated” in Romans 9:13 does not imply a positive hatred, which involves contempt, anger, and wrath. Rather, it is, as John Gill rightly observed, a “negative hatred, which is God’s will not to give eternal life to some persons, a neglect of them, taking no notice of them, passing them by when he chose others. So the word ‘hate’ is used for neglect, taking no notice.”
This is the way our Lord used the word in Luke 14:26. — “If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” We are not commanded to treat our families and our own lives contemptuously, with anger and wrath. But we must, as we seek to follow Christ, give no consideration to our earthly relationships. We must pass by them and choose Christ. That is what the word “hated” means in our text.
God’s sovereign, eternal hatred of Esau was a negation of benevolence, a resolution and determination not to have mercy on him, not to give him grace and life eternal in Christ, a determination to leave him alone. — All it takes for you to go to hell is for God to leave you alone! Well might we cry…
“Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by!”
God passed by Esau, giving him no consideration. His only consideration was for Jacob. God loved Jacob. He considered Jacob. He chose Jacob. The only cause was in himself. The cause was the sovereignty and freedom of God’s eternal will. But…
A Deserved Hatred
3rd — I hasten to tell you that God’s hatred of Esau was a deserved hatred, a just and righteous hatred. Do not imagine that Esau or any other sinner is damned and goes to hell because of Divine predestination. Nobody goes to hell because God predestinated that they go to hell. Reprobate sinners go to hell because they have earned the wages of sin which must and shall be paid — death, everlasting death in hell!
Yes, without question, God predestined the everlasting damnation of the wicked, just as he predestined the everlasting salvation of the righteous (1 Peter 2:8; Jude 4). But he predestined the damnation of the wicked by their wickedness, just as he predestined the salvation of the righteous by righteousness. God predestined the means as well as the end, both of grace and of judgement.
The elect, Jacob, described as “vessels of mercy” (v. 23), obtain the riches of the glory of God in Christ, being “afore prepared unto glory” by him. God’s elect are prepared unto glory and made fit for heaven…
Š Through the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ (2 Peter 1:2).
Š Through the sanctification (regeneration) of the Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Š Through belief of the truth, by faith in Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Š Through the preaching of the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
God’s elect, Jacob, are made fit for heaven in Christ by God’s mighty operations of grace for us and in us (Colossians 1:12-14).
(Colossians 1:12-14) “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
The reprobate, Esau, described as “vessels of wrath” (v. 22), are “fitted for destruction,” made fit for hell by their willful rejection of the light God gives them, by their sin, by their unbelief, despising the goodness of God and the Son of God (John 3:36; Proverbs 29:1; Proverbs 1:23-35).
(John 3:36) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
(Proverbs 29:1) “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”
(Proverbs 1:23-33) “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. (24) Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. (28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: (29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: (30) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. (31) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. (32) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. (33) But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”
If you go to hell, you will go to hell fighting and scratching and clawing, doing everything you can to push God out of your way. If you go to hell, it will be your own fault alone; and God’s everlasting hatred of you will be a hatred that is fully deserved.
Š God hated Esau because Esau despised Christ, represented in the birthright he sold to Jacob for a bowl of pinto beans.
Š Esau went to hell because he chose to pursue the lust of his flesh and despised the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Positive Hatred
4th — The Scriptures also teach us that God’s hared of Esau, God’s hatred of any sinner, is a positive hatred. It is his positive will to justly punish and destroy sinners who despise his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalms 5:5; 7:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; Malachi 1:1-5). If you refuse to trust God’s Son, if you refuse to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God may deal with you as he did with Esau. — He may fix it so that you cannot believe.
Illustration: God shut the door of the ark before the rain fell from heaven.
(Psalm 5:5) “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
(Psalm 7:11) “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. “
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12) “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
(Malachi 1:1-5) “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. (2) I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, (3) And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. (4) Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation forever. (5) And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.”
An Everlasting Hatred
5th — God’s hatred of Esau is an everlasting hatred. It is a mutual hatred; and it is an everlasting hatred. Esau hated God and still hates him; and God hates Esau forever. Against the reprobate, against Esau, “the Lord hath indignation forever” (Malachi 1:4).
Š Hell is forever!
Š The anger and hatred of the Almighty shall fall upon the wicked forever!
Š If you go to hell, you will go to hell because you fully deserve it. And in hell you will forever acknowledge that you deserve it, that God is just; but your hatred of God will only intensify, and Esau shall be hated still.
Will you go on hating Christ and go to hell; or will you now come to Christ and be saved by him? As God’s ambassador, I call you to come. God the Holy Spirit says, come. All the saints of God, every sinner saved by his matchless, free grace in Christ, says, come. God calls you to come, and promises salvation full and free to all who come (Isaiah 55:1-11).
(Isaiah 55:1-11) “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (2) Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (3) Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (4) Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. (5) Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. (6) Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: (11) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
There is only one way to be reconciled to God. We must be reconciled to God by Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
(2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”
(1 Peter 2:7-10) “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
(Romans 9:13) “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Our sov’reign God maintains
His universal throne;
In heav’n, and earth, and hell He reigns,
and makes His wonders known!
His counsels and decrees,
firmer than mountains stand;
He will perform whate’er He please;
and none can stay his hand!
All things His will controls;
and His all-wise decree
Has fixed the destinies of all
in matchless sov’reignty. —
Jacob by grace He saved,
and gives no reason why;
But Esau’s heart He left depraved. —
And who shall dare reply?
What if the Potter takes
part of a lump of clay,
And for Himself a vessel makes
and casts the rest away?
Who shall resist His will,
or say, “What doest Thou?”
Jehovah is the Sov’reign still;
and all to Him must bow!
My soul, bow and adore
the Lord in all His ways;
His sov’reignty none can explore;
but I will trust His grace!
“For of Him and through Him
and to Him are all things:
To Whom be glory evermore!
Amen! Amen! Amen!”