Two People, One Plan
Text: Genesis 25
Proposition: As God established his plan it was always a choice between one of two people, the man of obedience and faith or the man of appetite and the world.
Introduction: How do you go about choosing things? Do you choose according to color, according to style or price? However you choose what you choose you go about it with a particular mind or method. You could even say that whatever you choose from fashion to food, from friends to faith, it all comes from what you sense is a purpose. We are, it’s been said, a purpose driven people. Everything we do comes not from a place of randomness but from purpose, even when the sense of purpose may be misguided. Today we are going to look at Genesis 25, an interesting chapter that chronicles the death of Abraham, which you would think would be the main point of the chapter but it isn’t. The main point seems to be the plan of God as He presents two people, one He chooses the other He does not. This shouldn’t be a new idea to us, we’ve seen it from the very beginning with Abel over Cain, Shem over Japheth and Ham, Abraham over Nahor, Isaac over Ishamel, and now Jacob over Esau. What we see again and again is God using one person to be the direction from which many others come. We see direction and we begin to see the purpose of God in that direction. The thing that surprises us is that the one God chooses is not usually the one we would have chosen. Let’s look at Genesis 25.
I. The Unseen/ Unchosen Line of Abraham.
Sarah has been buried and we see Abraham marrying Keturah and having six sons with her. These peoples too went on to become nations and history makers. Two of their sons, Midian and Shuah are particularly conspicuous in Scripture. From Shuah came the Shuhites of which was Bildad one of the three counselors of Job. From Midian came the Midianites, the tribe that became a major power that Gideon fought in the book of Judges. In fact years later Moses would marry the daughter of a man named Jethro, a priest of Midian. All this began with the six sons of Keturah, sent away to the south and the east to avoid any confusion as to who the heir of Abraham really was. They became the forefathers of a variety of Arabic peoples, most of whom Israel would have to deal with as they made their way into the Promised Land with Moses. Then Ishmael with Isaac buries Abraham, a time to be sons and not opponents. Ishmael’s sons, the twelve princes, became the forefathers of Bedhouin peoples from south of the Dead Sea to northern Saudi Arabia. Even the line of Esau eventually settled in the land to the south and east of Israel called Edom (Map slide) and became a constant enemy of Israel. The promise of God to bless the seed of Abraham seems also to have caused the great growth of the Arab peoples. The sons of Keturah, with the sons of Ishmael and Esau are also part of the purpose of God. That purpose has the same ultimate end, that these peoples too would be grow and be drawn to Him to glorify Him. But the chosen man from whom would come a chosen people from which would come the Chosen One, the Messiah, this was of the line of Abraham, Isaac and now Jacob.
II. God’s Choice of Jacob, Not Unrighteousness But Mercy.
For 20 years Isaac and Rebekah wait for a child and finally at 60 years of age Isaac pleads with the Lord for her to become pregnant. She conceives but has difficulty and the Lord tells her she is carrying twins. This birth announcement becomes a lasting statement of how God chooses whom He will. God tells Rebekah that there are two nations in her womb, two peoples that once born will move in separate directions. He describes the children she carries yet at the same time describes the direction their lives will take. Years later the Lord speaks through the last prophet of the Old Testament in Malachi 1:2,3 to the people of Israel, the people who descended from Jacob, saying, “I have loved you, says the LORD. Yet you say, Wherein have You loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” In the New Testament in Romans 9:10-13 Paul refers to what Malachi said, “And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
So to be clear it was not because Esau was hairy, ruddy in color, short tempered and even more, short sighted… that is not why God chose Jacob. And to be even more clear… it was not because Jacob was deceptive, nor usurping, nor sneaky that prevented God from choosing him. God saw all the flaws in Jacob and still chose him according to His promise to Abraham to be the father of the nation Israel. When God chooses Jacob rather than Esau God is not being unfair or unrighteous, that’s Paul’s point. When God chooses Jacob He is showing His mercy upon a fickle, stubborn and sinful mankind. The choice of one person over the other, referred to as, ‘Jacob I loved but Esau I hated’, points to the mercy of God to persevere with sinful man apart from any works that man might evidence or not evidence. Faith was the operative way that God drew Abraham to himself, it would be the same for all that followed. God chooses whom He will. It’s not just based on Omniscience, meaning God sees the future and sees who will follow Him and so chooses that one up front. That would be to oversimplify the mind of God and to put God in a position of following after the actions of man to determine His choice. No, the choice of God is His and it arises out of His mercy, His righteousness, His wisdom. God chooses just as we do, because he has a purpose in mind. And His purposes are always, always, pure, right and perfect.
III. God’s Choice of Jesus, The New Adam For Mankind.
We read how Jacob made a lentil stew, red in color, and how Esau came in exhausted and hungry. We hear Jacob offering him stew in exchange for the birthright, meaning the significance of being the first born. The first born got a double inheritance or blessing as the elder child. Esau had technically been born first, Jacob came second holding onto his heel, it’s why they named him Jacob, heel grabber, supplanter or in common language, con-artist. Here’s the kick, Jacob didn’t have to deceive Esau to get the birthright, God had already reckoned it to him, He had already chosen Jacob. From Jacob came the 12 sons that would be the twelve tribes of Israel. From one of those tribes, the tribe of Judah, would come many generations later a young woman named Mary who would become by the Holy Spirit the mother of Jesus Christ.
Even before the fall of man into sin, even before the creation of the world, God has a plan by which He makes a choice in order to accomplish the next step of His purposes in building His kingdom. Jacob sought to become the firstborn by using a bowl of stew as his bargaining chip. But there was another firstborn that God had in mind, God’s choice of Jesus as the first born for all mankind, even before there was a mankind.
Just consider these verses:
John 17:24, Jesus praying just before the arrest and crucifixion, says, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
1 Cor. 2:3, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory”.
Eph. 1:4, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,”
1 Peter 1:18-20, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
Col 1:18, “And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
God chose Jesus perfectly, before the world was created, to be the One who would bind us, unite us, hold us in a never ending way close to the purpose of God the Father. God’s purpose is to make us a people that are holy and blameless, a people who love well, a people that are where Jesus is. In all this God is revealed, He is glorified more and more because of the blood of Jesus given for us. He’s our new Adam.