And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first was born red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that was born his brother, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Now when you read these chapters and follow through these stories, you will find that the Bible is as up to date and as modern and as pertinent to our life as this morning’s newspaper. These people in their lives, their troubles, their rebellions, their contact with God, they are just as we are: people just like us.
Jacob spent most of his life an exile, away from home, a stranger in a strange land. Yet he was possessed with an inalienable affection for the land of his fathers. And when he died, he asked to be taken back to be buried in the land promised to Abraham and to Isaac.
Jacob speaks to us in the failures of his life. He is so all together human with flaws in his character, with weaknesses in his soul, with all kinds of derelictions and faults and failures in his life.
Now what does that mean, when God elects Jacob and God does not elect and choose Esau? To what was Jacob elected, and what is this great purpose of God in election? He was elected to disciplinary love; he was elected to the rod and the chastening of Almighty God.
When his brother Jacob, family and nation, were groaning in slavery in Egypt, Esau’s family, the Edomites, were in the glory of their wealth and their power. Esau is the very sign of power, of success, of affluence. All the days of his life he spent in wealth and in power and in prestige. He was one of the great chieftains, one of the great sheiks of all time.
Had you been looking at heaven’s favorite, you would have selected Esau, a man who walked in the glory of this world, and in the power of this life.
His brother Jacob spent his young days in exile. He spent his maturity as the hireling of a kinsman. He spent his old days a stranger in a strange land. And he came down to the grave in sorrow and in tears. Yet God loved Jacob, and God loved Israel, and God elected Jacob, and God blessed Israel.
God has chosen us to bear His spiritual responsibilities, support the church, and to pray for the lost.
He hath chosen us to be dedicated in our lives.
The disciplines and the fires through which Jacob passed are the disciplinary fires that burn the dross out of our lives, and make us strong and great, as we walk before the Lord. Edom dies with the dying world; but Jacob, Israel, is in God’s house forever, is blessed and made a blessing. The election of God. He hath called us.