Romans 9:1-33 – Jacob I Have Loved
Intro: In our study last time we saw where Paul ended Romans Chapter 8, which was a great chapter in building our hope, confidence, assurance and joy in Christ.
A) Paul ended that glorious chapter with a bold declaration – “Nothing could separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
B) Now the book of Romans divides into three sections: Chapters 1-8 deal with the Principles of Salvation; Chapters 12-16 deal with the Practicals in Salvation.
1) Since we are saved, since God has freed us from the Law, from the power of sin, so forth, this is how we should live.
A) That leaves us Chapters 9-11, which many people have wondered why did Paul put these Chapters in here - they seem like a diversion.
1) Principles in Chapters 1-8 and Practical in Chapters 12-16 show a natural progression, much like what we have in Ephesians Chapters 1-3 dealing with wealth, Chapters 4-6 dealing with our walk, and Chapter 6:10 on warfare.
A) But the thing we must understand is that Romans 9-11 is not an interruption but an illustration of God’s Faithfulness and His Sovereignty in salvation. This is illustrated by His dealings with the Jews.
B) After reading the end of Chapter 8 where God says nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ.
1) The Bible student could say, “But what about the Jews?” Are they separated from His Love? Are they lost?
A) And if so, what hope do we have? If they who were once God’s chosen people, are they no longer walking with Him?
1) What chance do we Gentiles have? Paul refutes this line of thinking in Chapters 9-11 using Israel as an illustration of the Faithfulness of God.
2) Chapter 9 deals with the Lord’s past dealings with the nation of Israel showing His Sovereignty.
3) Chapter 10 reveals God’s present dealings with Israel showing His Salvation.
4) Chapter 11 speaks of His Promises to Israel which reveal His Sincerity!
All of which reveal God’s Faithfulness in dealing with the nation of Israel – an illustration of His Faithfulness to us!
9:1 “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,”
The story of Israel is a sad and rather sobering story about Israel
A) Here is a nation that counted itself as having an inside track with God. They saw themselves as the people of God – the chosen nation – close to God with various advantages which no other nation had.
B) The Israelites regarded themselves as having a special privileged position with God.
1) Notice that Paul begins this section with a clear acknowledgement that this nation is far away from God.
A) Despite all the blessings and privileges they enjoyed, they were a long ways away from the Lord!
B) Paul doesn’t come in with anger at that fact, nor does he come on with accusations.
1) He comes to them in personal anguish and says, “I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart because my kinsmen are not saved.”
Now I am sure that to the Jews of his own day the apostle sounded like an enemy
A) As he preached and taught the riches that are in Christ Jesus and centered and focused everything on the Person of the Messiah, the Person of Christ.
B) Paul’s ministry everywhere stirred up the antagonism of the Jews. He made them angry and upset, even violent in their rage against him.
1) Had a Jew read the letter to the Romans, he would have regarded it as a gigantic put down to the whole nation.
A) And yet, he is not their enemy, as he himself makes it clear here. He is their loving, hurting friend.
1) It breaks his heart that he has to tell them these things. It breaks his heart even more that they were going to Hell.
A) So much so, that Paul says, “I wish that I myself were accursed from Christ if it meant my kinsmen the Jews could be saved.
1) Incredible Heart – do our hearts break even a little bit that people around us are going to Hell?
A) Where did Paul get such a heart? Answer is in Beginning of Chapter 10. 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and continual prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”
B) Prayer changes our heart for people. It helps you to become more concerned about them when you are constantly praying for them.
1) Amy and Grandpa Ron.
So, in considering his kinsmen the Jews, it breaks Paul’s heart that they were lost. Part of the reason for his anguish is seen in the tremendous blessings and privileges they had, but had not taken advantage of. (Verses 4 & 5).
4 “who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;
5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the Eternally Blessed God. Amen.”
Paul lists eight blessings the Jews had:
First, they were chosen as the people of God
A) Scriptures make it very clear that God separated this nation – the descendants of Abraham, the 12 sons of Jacob and the bribes that came from them – as his people.
B) He called them, “Behold, Israel is my son.” God dealt with them as the chosen people of God.
Second, to the Jews was given the glory
A) This refers to the Shekinah, the bright cloud that followed Israel through the
1) And later came into the holy of holies in the tabernacle and marked the presence of God himself among his people.
B) Centuries later, when the temple was built by King Solomon, the cloud of glory came and filled the holy of holies,
1) And the people knew that God was living among them in a very real sense. They had the glory.
The third thing that Paul points out is the Jews also had the covenants
A) Promises & agreements that God made with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, with Moses and David
1) In which God committed himself to do things for that nation, and he has never gone back on those covenants.
Fourth, Paul says the Jews had the law
A) The Jews loved the Torah, the scrolls of the Law.
B) They have a service set aside in which the men of the congregation take the scrolls of the law and dance with them.
Next Paul mentions temple worship – ref. In the service of.
A) Not only did they have the law, but God had carefully and meticulously described how the people should conduct themselves in worship.
B) He told them the kind of offerings to bring, the rituals to carry out.
Sixth, the Jews had the promises
A) Those are still to be found in the pages of the Old Testament – promises of a time when the Jews would lead the nations of the world.
B) There would be universal reign, a world King, and Jerusalem would be the center of the earth.
1) Those promises are still there, and God means to fulfill them.
Seventh, Paul says, the Jews had the patriarchs
A) Those tremendous men whose names are household words all over the world – Abraham and Moses and David.
B) We think we are blessed having leaders like Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln
1) But even they are not as widely known as these great names from Israel.
Finally, the supreme blessing was that Jesus himself
A) The Messiah/came from Israel / was a Jew / born of a Jewish mother / reared in a Jewish home / received a Jewish Education / Jewish Synagogue.
B) Jesus was a Jew!
C) There are manuscripts suggesting that this is to be translated as a closing doxology that says “God be blessed and praised forever.”
D) But the best manuscripts do not put it that way at all. The most ancient manuscripts agree that this is what the apostle wrote: that Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
Now Paul will bring all this to a climax in Chapter 11 when he says, “Has God Forsaken Israel? CERTAINLY NOT!
A) And Paul furthers his illustration of the faithfulness of God in his past dealings with his people in looking directly at the patriarchal family. (v. 6-13)
4 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,
5 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”
6 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
7 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
8 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac
9 (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),
10 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”
13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
A) Now Abe had two sons / one was the product of his flesh – you know that story! – Hagar – Ishmael.
B) But God didn’t recognize Abe’s effort in the flesh – Take your only son Isaac – Doesn’t recognize our efforts in the flesh either!
C) And the Lord said to Abe – In Isaac your seed shall be called!
Now Isaac also had two sons – Jacob & Esau – twin boys / and the Lord said to Isaac & Rebekah before even born – the older serve the younger.
A) Now does all this mean that God choose – Isaac & rejected Ishmael? And that God chose – Jacob & rejected Esau – No! Not accurate at all!
B) First of all understand that when God says Jacob I have loved – Esau I have hated – Lit. - Esau I have loved less.
1) Same translation given when Jesus says that He who follows Him needs to hate bro / sis / mom / dad – Lit. – Love them less.
A) God says Jacob I have loved & Esau I have loved less – why would He say that? Suggest to you it goes back to His foreknowledge!
1) Saw last week – concluding section of Chapter 8, predestined according to the foreknowledge of God (v. 29).
A) God’s time frame sees everything in the now / And in His foreknowledge God saw what Ishmael & Esau would become –
1) They both rejected the God of their fathers and became the fathers of wicked & idolatrous nations.
A) From Ishmael cam the Arab nations, bitter foes of Israel to this day, and for long centuries passionate followers if Islam.
1) From Esau cam Edom, bitterest and most vengeful of all Israel’s ancient neighbors.
A) Now they didn’t become wicked and idolatrous nations because they weren’t chosen – but because they chose not to follow God.
1) God in His foreknowledge knew that would be the case
A) And the outworking of history has demonstrated the farseeing wisdom of God’s choice.
B) As time went by, both Ishmael and Esau personally manifested hostility to the thing of God.
1) Whereas Isaac & Jacob personally manifested love for the things of God.
Now here is what is interesting to me / Ishmael & Esau were both blessed by the Lord – both prospered & became great nations
A) In fact in Genesis 21, God gave that promise to Abe that Ishmael would be blessed & become a great nation.
B) Yet Ishmael didn’t follow the Lord – forsook the God of Abe / as did Esau
C) Now think about this – Jacob & Esau were raised in the family – same parents –taught to worship the same God
1) One went his own way – the other went God’s way – least eventually Jacob became Israel.
A) See God knew that Jacob would bless Him & that Esau would grieve Him!
1) Esau didn’t have a spiritual bone in his body – gave up his birth right for a bowl of stew – (God knew he would).
A) And if Jacob hadn’t stolen his blessing Esau probably would have gave that up too!
Now this is the point that Paul is illustration here in Romans Chapter 9 in looking back to the past dealings of God with Israel –
A) You guys are descendants of Jacob & not Esau – of Isaac & not Ishmael – so how can you say God has given up – God in foreknowledge saw all
B) Paul continues in using God’s past dealings to illustrate his point / by turning his attention from Jacob & Esau to Pharaoh & Moses (v. 14).
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!
15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”
16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”
18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
A) Now we read in Exodus Chapter 7 that when God sent Moses into Egypt to approach Pharaoh and ask him to let God’s people go –
1) The Lord told Moses that He was going to – harden Pharaoh’s heart – this is what I am going to do the Lord says.
A) And the rest of the story tells us why – see again you need to see this story from God’s time perspective.
B) God sees the whole picture / how this was going to play out / but here is what is interesting -
1) Twenty times in the course of this story the expression harden Pharaoh’s heart occurs
A) Ten times it is attributed to Pharaoh hardening his heart to the Lord / Ten times the Lord hardening Pharaoh’s heart.
1) Here is what we need to understand – 3 different words were used in the Hebrew Language to express harden – reveal a progression.
A) One means to make hard or insensible (insensitive) – Exodus 7
1) Another – means to make – heavy & unimpressionable – not budging
2) Another – firm stiff / immovable – Exodus 14
Progression: Hard / Heavy & Firm
As you trace the story with Pharaoh & Moses through each one of the signs & plagues that God sent – here is what you find:
A) God does a miracle – rods – Pharaoh’s heart – hard – not impressed or sensitive at all!
B) Then God sends some plagues – blood & frogs – Pharaoh is moved but then He hardens his heart more – Lit. – made it Heavy – progressing.
1) His resistance against the Lord is getting stronger
A) Three more plagues come & go and with each one Pharaoh continues his resistance – Hard & heavy heart – unimpressionable.
1) Then after the 5th plague we read and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart
A) Now God was just confirming what was already in Pharaoh’s heart – and for His divine purposes was speeding up the process.
B) Until finally Pharaoh makes his heart firm & immovable against the Lord just like the Lord in His foreknowledge knew he would.
Quote: J. Phillips – “God does not create people in order to damn them – some for heaven some for Hell – however when people behave like Pharaoh God deals with them so that the inbred wickedness reveals itself in such a way that they become fit objects for his punishment”.
Similar to what we saw in the beginning of the book of Romans – where we read concerning man who rejected God & resisted God – that God in turn and gave them over & gave them up.
Quote: Wiersbe – “The worst form of punishment – is when God gives over / gives up” – basically saying, “You want to live in opposition from me to do your own thing – fine they go for it & reap the consequences”.
A) And that is basically what the Lord did with Pharaoh – gave him up to the hardness of his heart & confirmed what was already there.
1) God’s spirit will not always strive with man!
A) So, as we see these things in light of the big picture / of God’s foreknowledge and sovereignty / we see He is always right and who are we to question what He does
1) Which is the focus of what Paul says next
18 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
19 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
20 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
Pot doesn’t say to the potter why have you done this?
A) What we find is God always does what is right, just & true!
B) Always revealed right over history! – Time!
1) (v. 22 – 24) God ended 400 years of oppression of the people
2) Egyptians – wicked – endured Pharaoh
3) Cannanites – wicked
4) God was building a nation
In verses 25 – 26 Paul uses an interesting analogy, illustrating God has chosen Gentiles as part of His Church.
A) Paul goes to Hosea – one of most touching stories in all Bible
B) Prophet whose wife became Harlot – children – harlotry
C) God says – Go love her again! – take her kids – make them your own!
Israel played Harlot – God wooed back!
A) Gentiles – illegitimate children
In Hosea – Valley Achor
A) God’s Remnant
B) Also – some saved in Tribulation – focus – Next verses 27 – 29.
Verses 30 – 33
A) Different – Gentiles pursued righteousness by faith
B) Jews by works!
C) To Gentiles Christ - foundation stone
1) Jews – stumbling block!