Bible Readings for January 26th

Genesis 27 | Matthew 26 | Esther 3 | Acts 26

The blessing that Isaac pronounces on Jacob—the blessing that he does not pronounce on Esau, despite his intentions to do so—was not a vague wish for his son’s well being. In fact, it was a prophesy that bore great weight and significance, so much so that Isaac had no blessing left to give to his son Esau, since Jacob had taken all of the best blessings. Jacob would receive abundance and wealth (Gen. 27:28) and the obedience of the nations (Gen. 27:29), while Esau would only receive infertile land and subservience to Jacob (Gen. 27:39–40).

The critical blessing falls in Genesis 27:29: “Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” Yahweh had promised this exact thing to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Yahweh had sworn that he would save or curse all peoples based upon their interaction with one man and his offspring. Next, Yahweh traced that promise through Isaac (rather than Ishmael—Gen. 21:12), and now Yahweh’s promise falls to Jacob (rather than Esau).

But how could God possibly bring anything good out of such a wretched, deceitful, petty family?

In fact, God had already decided that Esau (the older) would serve his younger brother, Jacob (Gen. 25:23). Even from the womb, and even before either boy had done anything good or bad, God’s purposes in election were set. Just as God had passed over Ishmael in favor of Isaac, so God would pass over Esau in favor of Jacob.

Why? How is there justice in this?

In fact, God’s election isn’t about justice, because God’s election is about grace. By grace, God had chosen one man out of all the world to bless, and by grace, God had promised that the blessing he placed on that one man would be the means through which the whole world would be blessed. By grace, God chose Isaac, and by grace, God chose Jacob.

And by grace, God eventually raised up the promised offspring, his own Son Jesus Christ, so that whoever blesses Jesus will be blessed and whoever curses Jesus will be cursed.

The doctrine of election, then, isn’t really given to us so that we spend our time speculating about who’s in and who’s out but rather so that we recognize that God’s purposes prevail even in the lives of messed up people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—as well as you and me. Those whom God foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified will receive salvation—not because of their goodness, but because of God’s grace.

We should rejoice today because we aren’t called by being better than Esau; rather, we are called in spite of the fact that we are as bad as Jacob.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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