23 The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. (Genesis 25:23 – 24 NIV)
God of Israel is often referred to as “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” and this passage marks the birth of Israel as Jacob will be renamed as Israel later in the story. One of my Jewish colleagues was troubled by this passage, “Why did God decide to favor Jacob? His way of obtaining the birthright is very underhanded.” This begs a question – why? Actually I don’t have an answer to that. In fact, later on Jacob used deceptions to expand his wealth and power. God’s appointment of Jacob as Israel is NOT earned through Jacob’s personality or righteousness – God has chosen Jacob unlike Noah who was found favor in God’s eyes.
God, in his great mercy has given humans a lot of leeway to exercise their will. We sometimes delude ourselves into thinking human has free will and that therefore we can either control our destiny or despair that stronger human controls our destiny. Corollary to that is if we don’t achieve something, then that’s due to the lack of our determination or training. God is merciful, and it is uncharacteristic of him to leave all of us (chosen or not) to our own devices. He has sent His Son Jesus to show us the way and teach us gently his sovereignty. If we believe in God’s mercy through His Son, then we do not have to be bonded to the bullies of the world or rely on our own strength. God certainly puts us to test but he also gives us a way out – remember His Son came to save the world, not to condemn – failure is not in God’s vocabulary.
Psalm 119:109 “Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.”
God knows that we have tendencies to take matters into our own hands, but let’s remind ourselves of His sovereignty when we come to our senses.