3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
When Isaac was sixty, and Abraham a hundred and sixty, Esau and Jacob were born. Before their birth, the Lord said to Rebekah,
"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."
Upon this election, the apostle makes the following remarks, saying,
"When Rebekah had conceived by our father Isaac: -- 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; it was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Rom. 9:10-13; Mal. 1:2, 3).
This election had relation to the purpose of God revealed in the promises to Abraham and Isaac. He purposed to make "a mighty nation" of their posterity, out of whom "He should come that shall have dominion" (Numb.24:19). This Purpose could not be accomplished if left to the undirected will of man. Abraham would have made Ishmael his heir, and Isaac would have elected Esau, both of which, as events have shown, would have defeated, rather than have promoted, "the purpose of God."
The wild Arabs of the desert, who have descended from Ishmael; or the Edomites, the posterity of Esau; both of which races illustrate the moral obliquity of their fathers: would have been a sorry election in which the purpose of God might be established. The rejection of Ishmael, and the election of Jacob, prove the wisdom and foresight of him with whom the fathers had to do. He sees the end of all things from the beginning; and perceiving the future characters of the two races, he said by Malachi,
"I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness."
It may be remarked here, that the election of Scripture hath reference to "the purpose of God " in relation to the constitution of the kingdom. He hath elected its territory; He hath elected the nation to inhabit it for ever; He hath elected the king to rule over it; and He hath elected its saints to assist Him in the administration of its affairs. The election in all these cases has been "of him that calleth."
....God elects saints for His kingdom, not by foregone conclusions which are irreversible; but men are "elect through sanctification of spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:2). This reveals to us the means, and design of the election in relation to the present time. "Sanctification of spirit" is the means; "obedience and sprinkling of Christ's blood," the end.
Elpis Israel 2.3.
A wild olive tree. Be not highminded, but fear
...we are not in a scriptural or acceptable attitude before God unless we recognise that we Gentile believers of the gospel have only become conditional fellow-heirs with the approved in Israel, and that apart from a deeply humble and eager observance of the conditions we have no hope at all.
The observance of those conditions is called "continuing in his goodness," because the bestowal of the goodness is predicated upon our continuance in the conditions or in the rendering of that which He requires. It was because Israel had long ceased to render that which He required, that they were cut off.
What was it that He required of them? Moses told them plainly:
"What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?" (Deut. 10:12).
As a nation, they failed to render this thorough and continual service. They did that against which Moses warned them when he told them to beware, when they would have attained to great wealth and plenty in the land to which God was taking them:
"Beware lest thou forget the Lord, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt" (Deut. 6:10-12).
This is just what they did; they forgot God, and they did so because they neglected the precaution which Moses enjoined upon them at the very same time, as the means of preventing forgetfulness:
"These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (verses 6-7).
Neglecting that of which the equivalent, in our day, is the daily reading of the word, they lost all interest in the exercises and institutions related to the service of God - an interest which can only exist where there is a lively recognition and a living interest in God, who requires them. They said:
"Behold, what a weariness is it! And they snuffed at it" (Mal. 1:13).
Their state of mind led them to exclaim,
"When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?" (Amos 8:5).
They did observe the new moon: they did keep the Sabbath, in a way; but they had more interest in temporalities; and what they did, in the way of religious observance, was out of mere conformity to the custom around them. It was not done intelligently and lovingly to God.