Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 9

God often chooses those whom other people would not choose

Romans 9:11-12

God made promises to Abraham which were for the benefit of his family in future centuries (Genesis 15:13-21). The benefit of those promises passed to his son, Isaac (Genesis 26:24) and then to Isaacís younger son, Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). After that, they passed to Jacobís 12 sons, whose families became the nation called Israel or the Jewish people.

We are studying why God chose Jacob, rather than his older brother, Esau. The usual custom at that time was that the older brother would become the head of the family. Even Isaac wanted to give the benefit of those promises to Esau (Genesis chapter 27). However, God had already chosen Jacob (Genesis 25:23).

Paul has taught us that we cannot gain the benefit of Godís kindness by our own efforts (4:1-8). Now, Paul teaches that same lesson again from the life of Jacob. God did not choose Jacob because of something good that Jacob had done. In fact, God chose Jacob, and not his brother Esau, before either of them were born. In verse 12, Paul repeats the words that God spoke in Genesis 25:23.

So, we ask why God did that. Paulís answer is that God was carrying out his plan. God chose Jacob for his (Godís) own honour. God can use all different kinds of people to do his work. It is very wonderful when a truly great person uses his many skills to do Godís work. However, if God chose only the most impressive and powerful people, that would bring little honour to God. So, God often chooses those people whom other people would not choose (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). Such people know that, by their own efforts, they can achieve little in life. Therefore, they gladly give honour to God for what he does in their lives. Their humble attitudes make it possible for God to work powerfully through them (Luke 1:50-52).

Next part: 'I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau' (Romans 9:13)


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