Updated: Sep 30, 2020
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Can a loving God hate?
For all Christians, the widely known attribute of God is the phrase God is love. The understanding of the phrase God is love, is understood somewhat differently between the seasonal believer and those that are young in the faith, with a moderate understanding.
The seasonal believer will explain how it was love that created man. Therefore, man must be redeemed through love. I.e., John 3:16. For those with a moderate understanding of the Word, they ascertain God is the representation of Good. Therefore, God is love. The assertion of both points of view is true.
Then there are those scriptures, without a better understanding by the believer, it causes uncertainty.
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but hated.
Here arises the question. Can a loving God hate? To answer the question is to further understand the passage mentioned above, which is found in the book of Romans, chapter 9 verse 13. Herein the Apostle Paul relates to another book, the book of Malachi. The content here is, God is giving an account of the brothers, Esau and Jacob.
Jacob, He loved, but Esau He hated. These are strong words of the God of love. However, the reference of hate here is not a disesteem directed to Esau as an individual. Rather, what Esau has willingly become. When wrong doing is accepted as the norm, the unrepentant ways of a man will soon become who he is. In the case of Esau and Jacob, twins of the same parents and raised together. Both imperfect like we all are, but Jacob in his imperfection desires the better. Whereas Esau, he display the opposite. Forsaking his responsibilities, Esau sought his establishment through the carnality of the world, with multiple marriages. Clarke said; It is very likely that the wives taken by Esau were daughters of chiefs among the Hittites (warrior race), and by this union he sought to increase and strengthen his secular power and influence.
Not only did Esau grieved his parents through his marriages. In his wrong doing, he disregarded the spiritual advantages connected with his rights of primogeniture. Meaning as the oldest, and would be heir of his family, he disowned his responsibility for the whole, to delight his temporal needs. By the means of the selling of his birthright for one meal, he was deemed a profane person. One who treats sacred things with abuse and irreverence.
The focus is not to count the many sins of Esau. God is a righteous God; therefore, sin and God cannot coexist, but He made a way for the sinful man to approach Him through the remission and forgiveness of sin. Nevertheless, if a man chose to dwell in his sin willingly, he becomes one with the sin. If God hates the act of sin, so shall He hate the condition of sin which is one with the sinner. In this case, Esau.
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