Malachi 1:2b-4: “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever’.”
Imagine that you were having a rough day and told God in prayer, “I don’t feel like you love me”. That is precisely the context of Malachi chapter one. God’s response is not likely what we would have guessed.
Going back to Genesis 25:19-34 many, many years prior, God reminds His people of the story of Abraham their father in the faith. The promise was made that through that family would come Jesus Christ. Abraham’s son Isaac had twin sons – Jacob & Esau. Like many families, the boys are polar opposites. Esau is older, daddy’s favorite, tough, drives a truck, wears boots, eats what he can kill, likes country music and cage fighting, and was apparently a hairy redheaded kid as the prototype for Elmo.
Jacob is younger, a momma’s boy, got ‘most huggable’ in high school, drives a hybrid, wore Crocs, ate devoutly vegetarian cuisine grown through sustainable farming, and likes Disney Broadway musical soundtracks.
The boys started fighting in their momma’s womb and the battle still rages. From Jacob came the nation of Israel. From Esau came the nation of Edom. These nations have always warred against each other and, to some degree, their descendants still do. Jesus came from Jacob, and King Herod, who tried to kill Him, came from Esau.
When the descendants of Jacob asked God in Malachi 1:2, “How have you loved us?”, God reminded them that He had loved their family for generations. Unlike Esau, who was not chosen to carry forth the promise of the Messiah, their family was the chosen one.
The truth is, both boys were bad. Jacob’s name means “trickster” and he and his mom were known to manipulate and fool dad for the family blessing. Esau was an impetuous, uncaring man who traded his rights as the firstborn son in the family for a mere bowl of stew. The descendants of Esau became a godless nation judged by God. They got what they earned. The descendants of Esau became God’s nation blessed by God. They got grace that they did not earn.
For us who are, by faith, God’s people, the lesson is simple. Rather than looking up to heaven and wondering why we are not living there today, we should look down to hell and thank God that we are not living there today.
How has God blessed you and your family in ways that are simply not deserved?