Wrestling With Divine Sovereignty: Romans 9:10-13
“10) And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11) for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12) it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13) Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”” Romans‬ ‭9:10-13‬
God is sovereign. What He decides happens. His will rules the universe. The story of Jacob and Esau is a prime example and introduction into this subject. God chose Jacob above Esau before they were born. God determined before birth that the linage to the Messiah and the eventual nation of Israel was going to be through Jacob. “The older was going to serve the younger.”
As it turned out, the story of Jacob and Esau occupies the second half of the book of Genesis, with Jacob eventually giving birth to twelve sons and ending up down in Egypt to survive a famine. So why did God choose Jacob? The answer according to Paul could be summarized as; “because He wanted to!” God chose Jacob because He wanted to choose Jacob!
This is where people struggle with Divine Sovereignty. People demand an explanation for everything, but because God is God, He does not need to explain Himself. He rules. His will is Supreme.
However, let me draw an important distinction between the God of the Bible and the gods of Greek Mythology or the pagan nations. The God of the Bible always works within His own defined character and nature. He is good, moral, truthful, faithful, loving and just. He is not random or sadistic.
He knows the end from the beginning and many scholars believe this influences His Choice. I understand that, but I also believe His Sovereignty determines the end outcome. He is absolutely consistent with Himself.
As the Creator, this consistency in God became the basis for the laws of physics. These laws are not random. One of my favorite and very few quotes from Albert Einstein about God says; “Mysterious He is, Cruel He is not.” Einstein saw order and design in the universe. Just because he could not resolve a mystery did not give him freedom to opt for a random explanation outside of the principle of order in the universe.
So the question is not; “Why did God choose Jacob above Esau?” The real question is; “Did God get it right?” I would argue that Sovereignty includes the fact that God is consistent and always gets it right! He operates from knowledge and a perspective not shared by us as people.
I absolutely welcome and trust the Sovereignty of God above any human intuition, will, decision or design. I believe God and not man controls the future. This is my basis for faith and peace in every outcome. I firmly believe that God is in control and I trust Him. I yield to His will and sovereignty even though I do not understand everything that happens.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global