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JACOB HAVE I LOVED,
BUT ESAU HAVE I HATED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, January 22, 2012

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”
(Romans 9:13).


We have been reading the Book of Genesis in our daily Bible study. We recently read the account of Jacob and Esau. They were the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. We read in the Book of Malachi, “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau” (Malachi 1:2, 3). In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul quoted from Malachi. He said, “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13). Why did God love Jacob but hate Esau? In some ways Jacob was really more sinful than Esau. Jacob was a liar and a thief. Yet God loved Jacob and hated Esau. Why was this so? Paul tells us, theologically, that Jacob was one of the elect, and Esau was not (Romans 9:11). But how did this work out in their lives? If we look at the account of Jacob and his brother Esau, we see the main difference between these two men.

I. First, Esau was a person who did not think about God.

If you read the life of Esau in the Book of Genesis, you will discover that he does not mention God even once. Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau a “profane person.” The Greek word translated “profane” is “bebēlos.” W. E. Vine said this word means someone who “lacks all relationship or affinity [or connection] to God.” Esau never thought seriously about God. God was not in his thoughts.

Esau was a hunter, what we would call an “outdoorsman.” As he returned from a hunting trip one day he saw Jacob cooking some stew. Jacob offered Esau a bowl of it in exchange for Esau’s birthright as the oldest son. Esau despised his birthright and gave it to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of stew. Moody said, “No food except the forbidden fruit was as [expensive] as this broth.” Esau wanted to gratify his physical appetite, and so he lost the spiritual blessing for him and his descendants.

Several years passed. Isaac was now very old and very blind. He called Esau to him and asked him to go and kill a deer and make him savory venison that he loved to eat. As Esau went hunting, Jacob’s mother cooked goat’s meat and made it taste like venison. Jacob took the meat to his father and pretended to be Esau. He fooled his blind, old father, and Isaac blessed Jacob, thinking he was Esau. The blessing was prophetic, and literally came to pass, because Isaac spoke by inspiration.

When Esau returned from hunting, he learned that Jacob had tricked him out of his birthright. Esau sought this blessing as well, but it was too late. The Book of Hebrews says,

“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17).

Notice that Esau sought the inheritance and the blessing, but he did not seek God. He sought “it” carefully but he did not seek God. He sought “the blessing” with tears, but he never sought for God. You see, Esau never thought about God. God was not in his thoughts. And, so, God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13).

That was his failing. Esau never thought about God! Esau never once mentioned God in the Book of Genesis. Think of it – Esau was born and raised in the home of the Patriarch Isaac – and yet he never mentioned the name of God!

You can grow up in church and yet never think of God when you are alone. But remember, it is only when you are alone that it counts! Otherwise “God” is just a word you use in church, that has no real meaning in your life. The Bible says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4). We could translate it, “In all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Do you think about God when you are alone? Do you pray to God when you are alone? Do you ever think about offending God when you are alone? Do you ever feel guilty, because God has seen your sin, when you are alone? “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4) – in all his thoughts there is no room for God!

“The pride of his countenance” refers to a sneering, scoffing, mocking look. In my mind I can see the face of one of the young men who came through our church long ago. I can see his sneering, godless face, though I have long since forgotten his name. I have seen that kind of face many times across the years in several churches. They were “profane” faces, faces that showed they lacked all relationship or connection to God. A few days ago someone showed me a photograph of some people who once attended our church. It was a shocking picture! These were people who once came here every Sunday. But, one by one, they left the church. When they were here they looked all right. But now, in this photo, they looked fiendish. Their faces were contorted in a frightening way. They looked like diabolical hellions, like people that would frighten you if you met them on a dark street. You can be sure that they never think about God now. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” – in all his thoughts there is no room for God!

When I was thirteen years old the people next door took me to a Baptist church in Huntington Park, California. At first I thought all the young people in that church were Christians. But, as I got to know them better, I found that they mocked the pastor when they were alone. I found that they told dirty jokes and even made fun of the hymns we sang. After a while I found out that some of them were “making out” and even having sex. I remember thinking, “How can these people say that they alone are saved, and all other people in the world are going to Hell?” After all, they had “gone forward.” After all, they had said the “sinner’s prayer.” After all, they had been baptized!

When I preached my very first sermon, I directed it at them. The youth leader took me to a room and told me I was wrong, that I should never preach like that again. I was broken hearted. But a little later that youth leader was fired from the church for having sex with some of these young people. God seemed to say to me, “Go on, Robert. You preach for me, and don’t worry about what wicked people say.” That has been my policy now for 53 years – and I am not going to change! Ezekiel is my example. He said,

“They are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God...be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:4, 6-7).

Somebody said, “Mind your own business.” That is my own business! That is what God called me to do! My business is to tell you that you are as godless as Esau! My business is to tell you that you are not a Christian! My business is to tell you that you are going to Hell – to burn in the flames for ever! and ever! and ever! and ever! and ever! That is my business! And it is my business to tell you that you can only be saved by Jesus Christ! That is my business! If you are not washed clean by the Blood of Jesus Christ, you will burn in agony for ever in the Lake of Fire! That is my business! If you are as godless as Esau, then there is no hope for you – either in this world, or in the world to come!

“Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13).

Esau was a person who did not think about God. He never mentioned God even one time in the Book of Genesis. In all his thoughts there was no room for God!

Now, I am asking you, do you ever think about God when you are alone? Has God ever gripped your mind and heart? In the last few months two young women have come into our church from the world. Their families are not Christian. They never heard preaching like this in all their lives. But they said to themselves, “This is right. This is what God says in the Bible. This is the truth.” Both of them came quickly to Jesus and were saved from their sins by Him. They can now say, “We are washed from our sins by the Blood of Jesus! Jesus has saved us!” Oh, how we pray that this will be your experience as well! But that will never be your experience unless you are aware of God, and thinking about God. Some of you are trying to be converted. You are quite sad that you are not converted. But are you really thinking about God? Are you thinking that you have sinned against God – or are you just trying to be converted – with no thought of God? Could that be your case? And that takes us to the second point.

II. Second, Jacob was a person who did think about God.

And God said,

“Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13).

Don’t get me wrong. Jacob was a sinner. He lied to his father Isaac. He stole his brother’s birthright. He was a liar and a thief. But through grace he became God-conscious, and Jesus saved him. Not at first, mind you. He had to run away from home to escape from his brother’s wrath. He was afraid that Esau would kill him for stealing his birthright. He ran away and was alone in the wilderness. He went to sleep on the ground with stones for a pillow under his head. God came to him in a dream. And God said to him, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest” (Genesis 28:15). And Jacob “awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:16-17).

He “awaked out of his sleep” and he knew at last that God was real! What a picture of “awakening!” How we pray that you too will wake up from the sleep of death and realize, at last, that “the Lord is in this place.” Jacob was not converted then, but he finally realized that God is real. Yet he kept on calling God “the God of my father.” He said, “The God of my father hath been with me” (Genesis 31:5). He finally knew there really was a God, but He was “the God of my father.” That will not do. God must not be your father’s God, or the pastor’s God, or somebody else’s God. He must be your God!

Jacob had to go through many terrible experiences before the God of his father became his God. At last, after a long time of misery in a foreign land, he was going home. Yet he was still afraid that his brother Esau would kill him. He sent his family back home ahead of him, and the Bible says, “Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day” (Genesis 32:24). Dr. John Gill (1697-1771) said that the “man” Jacob wrestled with was the pre-incarnate Christ. Jacob was alone when he finally encountered Christ. No one can go with you when you are converted. Even in the inquiry room you must go to Jesus alone.

After wrestling with Christ all night long, Jacob was converted. Jesus said, “Strive to enter in” (Luke 13:24). The Greek word translated “strive” is “agonizomai.” We get our English word “agony” from it. Jacob went through agony that night. Jacob strove to find the blessing of Christ. He said to Christ, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Christ could have easily killed him in that wrestling match, but instead Christ blessed him and saved him and changed his name from Jacob to Israel (prince of God). “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [the face of God]: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30).

Oh, some of you have been wrestling with Jesus! What a turmoil it has caused in your mind and heart! Get ahold of Jesus. Tell Jesus, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Jesus will bless you! He will save you from your sin. The Bible says, “And he blessed him there” (Genesis 32:29). Get ahold of Jesus and He will bless you, too! He died on the Cross to pay for your sin. He shed His Blood to wash away your sins. He rose from the dead and He is alive right now to bless you and to save you. When you encounter Jesus by faith, you will see that He is altogether lovely. Then you will be able to sing that song with Mr. Griffith,

There have been names that I have loved to hear,
   But never has there been a name so dear
To this heart of mine, as the name divine,
   The precious, precious name of Jesus.
Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
   And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
   Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know.
(“Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know” by Lela Long, 1924).

Sing that chorus with me. You’ll be able to sing it truthfully when you come to Jesus and are saved by Him. Those who are saved, sing it with me now.

Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
   And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
   Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know.

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here) – or you may
write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Malachi 1:1-3.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know” (by Lela Long, 1924).


THE OUTLINE OF

JACOB HAVE I LOVED,
BUT ESAU HAVE I HATED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”
(Romans 9:13).

(Malachi 1:2, 3; Romans 9:11)

I.   First, Esau was a person who did not think about God,
Hebrews 12:16, 17; Psalm 10:4; Ezekiel 2:4, 6-7.

II. Second, Jacob was a person who did think about God,
Genesis 28:15, 16-17; 31:5; 32:24; Luke 13:24;
Genesis 32:26, 30, 29.