Esau and England - a Peril to Avoid.        

God said, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." (Mal 11,2 and Ro 913)

How could God say that he hated Esau when God is love and "he loved the world so much that he gave his only Son"? There is no contradiction in scripture, but there are different circumstances and opportunities. Jesus loved Judas who betrayed him and gave him every encouragement to turn from his wicked intention: he even sat him next to him in the place of honour at the last supper. But Judas was determined to follow his own agenda. He learned too late how wrong he had been. Why did God hate Esau? What lessons do we need to learn from this surprising statement?

It began before he was born when Esau and Jacob struggled in Rebekah's womb; they both wanted supremacy. But it was for quite different reasons, which was revealed about twenty years later when Esau came back from hunting hungry - but not for God! "I'm famished! Give me some stew," he said to Jacob, who replied, "Only if you sell me your birthright." "I am about to die," said Esau, "What good is this birthright to me?" Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. ... So Esau despised his birthright." (Gen 2531-34)

Jacob was not a hairy, successful, macho man like Esau. He yearned for the birthright, not so that he might inherit the double portion of Isaac's possessions, but that he might receive all that God had promised to his grandfather Abraham. Esau wanted sheep and servants - the more the merrier. To him God's promises all seemed too vague, too far away; besides what need had he for God? He was all for ‘Me, Now'. So he spurned the best gift that God offered. But Jacob in his weakness and ‘tied to his mother's apron strings', longed for it. He was not content to live without God.

Of course Jacob was wrong to think that the promised blessing of God could be gained by some human agreement; and certainly not by the lying and cheating which he later attempted. Yet it revealed the true longing of his heart for God. As Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Math 56) Jacob would remain hungry for over 30 years until at Peniel, God filled him. Esau who ate his fill of lentil stew would, in the end, be hungry for ever.

Esau not only despised his birthright of God's blessing, but he despised God himself. Abraham and Isaac honoured God; they both worshipped the Almighty who had so graciously forgiven and befriended them. Abraham was thrilled to look to the day of Jesus Christ for salvation. (Jn 856) But Esau thought he knew best, like many a modern man.

Esau hadn't dared tell Isaac that he had sold his birthright, so when the time came for Isaac to bless his eldest son, Jacob had to deceive his father or forfeit what he had bought. Esau had no intention of letting Jacob get what was his in spite of his earlier promise. When he found out that Isaac had inadvertently blessed Jacob, "he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me - me too, my father!'" (Gen 2734) But it was too late. Isaac could not undo the solemn blessing he had given. It is written of Jacob's descendants, Israel, "God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." (Ro 1129)

That was not the only foolish choice he made.

"When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah." (Gen 2634,35) No doubt they were both very pretty for you may be sure that all the young ladies swooned over macho Esau; but that doesn't make marrying two foreign idol-worshipping wives was right. Many today think that God's Law is restrictive, so they say it is irrelevant and outdated. But in rejecting God's Law, they also reject God - and that spells disaster. Isaac and Rebekah were not the only ones who were grieved: God was. There was a consequence to his decision. How stupid, how arrogant man is, to think he can offend God and still come out on top.

Not surprisingly "Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.'" (Gen 2741) Murder was now in his heart, as it was in Cain's heart when he was jealous of his brother Abel. In both cases there was opportunity to repent. With Esau, he only lacked opportunity to fulfill his murderous intent, for Isaac had quickly sent Jacob away to uncle Laban. Incidentally Esau inherited not just one third of Isaac's possessions, but in Jacob's absence, all of them! Yet Jacob with the blessing of God was far richer than Esau ,who had ‘gained the whole world' for a few short years, but had lost his soul for ever.

Having served Laban for twenty years, Jacob returned to Canaan at God's instruction. After their father Isaac died, Esau had moved with all his considerable possessions to Mt Seir and became the father of the Edomites. The character of Esau was passed on to his children. What did the prophets say about Edom? What does the scripture teach us about our materialistic, God rejecting society? We would be wise to learn it well, lest we also become deceived. "The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground?' Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," declares the Lord. (Obad 13)

Over 400 years would elapse before we next hear of Edom. Joseph had been sold as a slave to an Egyptian, but God delivered him and promoted him to become the Prime Minister. Following a change of Egyptian rulers, the Israelites became slaves but God delivered them under Moses. They were trying to return to Canaan when Edom refused them permission to pass through their land. Even when offered payment, they still refused and threatened Israel with their powerful army. God told Moses that he was not to provoke ‘their brothers' to war for he had not given them any of their land of Seir. (Deut 25) The sons of Esau hated the sons of Jacob and delighted to make life as difficult as possible for them while they had the power to do so. God saw what they did and was not impressed!

The false prophet Balaam correctly stated that Edom (and Amalek) would be conquered and Israel would grow strong. (Num 2418,20) But it would be some 1,500 years before the Roman General Titus would complete in 70 AD what King David began when he destroyed all the men of Edom. (1 Kg 1115,16) God's timetable is often very different from man's, but it is absolutely certain.

There are three other matters that God held up against Edom:

When Saul became angry and jealous of David, he left and was given food and Goliath's sword by Ahimelech the priest. Doeg reported this to Saul, who then ordered all his household to be killed. Saul's servants refused the priests - all except Doeg, who was pleased to murder 85 of the Lord's anointed. Doeg was an Edomite. (1 Sam 21, 22 Ps 52)

When Judah became wicked and rejected repeated warnings by the prophets, God judged them using the Babylonians. But Edom showed no compassion over their ‘brother' Judah's downfall; they gloated and rejoiced. So God said, "As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. ... There will be no survivors from the house of Edom." (Obad 110,15,18   See also Ezek 3515 365 2512-14 Amos 111)   "Remember, O Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. "Tear it down," they cried, "tear it down to its foundations!" (Ps 1377) And they rejoiced when God did just that in 586 BC. The Edomites were delighted , but God did it with great sorrow and reluctance. It is significant that the Palestinians displayed this same ‘Edom spirit' when Iraq bombarded Israel with Scud missiles in the 1991 Gulf War. They cheered and shouted, "Do it again!" It is a most dangerous reaction for it cuts shear across the declared plan of Almighty God. He has and he will for ever keep his covenant with Israel his chosen. The world always delights in the downfall of righteousness; it gives them a free hand to be wicked without feeling guilty. But for all there comes a day of reckoning; then righteousness, truth and justice will reign together for ever. Edom will never be seen again.

This ‘Edom spirit' is clearly seen in Herod the Great who was not a Jew as many suppose, but an Edomite. He was paranoid about his position as king under Rome. When God's own Son was born in Bethlehem and the wise men came to see him. Herod was most angry, for they did not return to tell him what they found. So he killed all the babies under 2 years old, hoping that the new King would be among them. But he wasn't. God's plan for his Son to bring the offer of redemption to sinful man was not so easily thwarted. Esau, Herod and others in his line have little interest in salvation. Note that this 'death of the innocents' is not very different from the slaughter of 180,000 babies every year in the UK by abortion. How great must be the grief of God for whom few others grieve.

So Esau was judged by God because:

1. Pride led him to be content without God. He saw no need for salvation and spurned the offer of redemption that God had so graciously promised to all who sought him.

2. He didn't acknowledge the solemn exchange of his birthright to Jacob for a meal of stew when he was famished. Neither had told Isaac and Esau assumed the birthright would still be his. He sought to inherit all the family livestock, which he did. But Jacob sought the blessing of God and some 20 years later he received it at Peniel.

3. Jealousy and hatred led Edom (his descendants) to rejoice at the downfall of Jacob, God's forever chosen.

God gave Esau every opportunity to repent but he consistently refused. It ensured his just and eternal judgement.

How can anyone be so complacent at such a dreadful end? But isn't this precisely the attitude of most of this country today? We are content without God. And solemn promises made before God are broken more often than they are kept. We refuse God's day of opportunity and ridicule him. We boastfully do what offends God, rejecting his Law and his clear warnings. We are self-sufficient and arrogant. Our Foreign and Commonwealth Office reveals an obvious hatred of Israel. We have the clear example of Esau, but the Scriptures are ignored. Do we think we are wiser than God?!

The outcome is certain and just. God will do what he promised to Abraham and his descendants: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen 123) Far from loving the Jews through whom in Christ we have been so richly blessed, the Church has usually delighted to persecute those they called ‘the Christ-killers'. Being faithful to his word, God must judge this nation and all who delight in, or work towards, Israel's destruction.

O England, once so bountifully blessed by God, wake up!

Soon, very soon, it will be too late.

God's Judgment remains upon Edom, and upon all with an 'Edom spirit'.  Ps. 835–18  Is 1114 345-15 (Petra)  Is 631–6  
Jer 497-22  Lam 421,22  Ezek 2512-14  351-15  Joel 319  Amos 111,12  911,12