I remember when I was young, I was often frustrated when I asked a question of a religious teacher and was told that the question I had asked concerned one of the “mysteries” of God. Now all of these years later I cannot say how important my questions were. I cannot tell if the teacher was giving me an honest answer or just putting me off either, but I can say while I am musing over my reminiscences that there are definitely mysteries depicted in Scripture.

One of these is the peculiar relationship God had with Jacob the trickster. Jacob was kind of an ornery fellow who schemed to get his brother to sell him his inheritance and tricked his father Isaac into giving him Isaac’s final blessing as he masqueraded as Esau. Yet God says in Malachi 1:2-5

2 “I have loved you,” says the LORD But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD “Yet I have loved Jacob;
3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.”
4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the LORD of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever.”
5 Your eyes will see this and you will say, “The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel!”
Malachi 1:2-5 NASB

It is interesting to note that often when Edom (Esau’s descendants) had a choice to make, they tended to take the wrong one.
When God was judging Judah for her idolatry and lax devotion to the laws He gave her, He sent Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and burn the temple, an action which He had ordained, but when Edom joined in on the side of the Babylonians and enthusiastically killed their brothers, God was angry and determined to destroy Edom for their treachery.

11 This is what the LORD says:
“The people of Edom have sinned again and again,
 and I will not let them go unpunished!
 They chased down their relatives, the Israelites, with swords,
 showing them no mercy.
 In their rage, they slashed them continually
 and were unrelenting in their anger.
 12 So I will send down fire on Teman,
 and the fortresses of Bozrah will be destroyed.”
Amos 1:11-12 (NLT)

In Jeremiah 49:7-11 He says
7 This message was given concerning Edom. This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Is there no wisdom in Teman?
Is no one left to give wise counsel?
8 Turn and flee!
Hide in deep caves, you people of Dedan!
For when I bring disaster on Edom,
I will punish you, too!
9 Those who harvest grapes
always leave a few for the poor.
If thieves came at night,
they would not take everything.
10 But I will strip bare the land of Edom,
and there will be no place left to hide.
Its children, its brothers, and its neighbors
will all be destroyed,
and Edom itself will be no more.
11 But I will protect the orphans who remain among you.
Your widows, too, can depend on me for help.”
Jeremiah 49:7-11 NLT

I think it is naïve of so many people who insist that God shouldn’t have judged and destroyed people in the Old Testament. Do they have any idea how evil these people were? Do they think that God just takes pleasure in destroying anyone?
How is it that God loves Jacob and despises Esau? And as it turns out Edom (Esau) only confirmed God’s decision by their actions. This is truly a mystery, but we are not without illumination. Paul treats this very subject in Romans

8 This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children.
9 For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins.
11 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes;
12 he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”
13 In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”
14 Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not!
15 For God said to Moses,
“I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”
16 So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.
17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”
18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.
19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”
20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”
Romans 9:8-20 (NLT)

We have had a couple of centuries when many, many people have judged God according to their own notions of propriety. They do not accept that God knows what He is doing, they can’t stand the idea that God would judge and destroy someone. So the question has become are we going to accept that God has His own criteria in judging or is the pot going to judge the potter?

13 The Lord says: 
  “These people worship me with their mouths, 
  and honor me with their lips, 
  but their hearts are far from me. 
  Their worship is based on 
  nothing but human rules.
14 So I will continue to amaze these people 
 by doing more and more miracles. 
 Their wise men will lose their wisdom; 
 their wise men will not be able to understand.”

15 How terrible it will be for those who try 
  to hide things from the LORD 
  and who do their work in darkness. 
  They think no one will see them or know what they do.
16 You are confused. 
  You think the clay is equal to the potter. 
  You think that an object can tell the one who made it, 
 “You didn’t make me.” 
  This is like a pot telling its maker, 
 “You don’t know anything.”

Isaiah 29:13-16 (New Century Version)

Is this not the very thing Jesus is casually mentioning here in John 9.

1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.
2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.
4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.
5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:1-5 (NLT)

Our modern sensibilities rebel at the thought of a man who spent years, perhaps thirty of them, in a condition so desperate that all he could do was beg for his bread. There were no other options for this man, before he met Jesus, and for no other reason than to show God’s power at God’s whim. We must steel ourselves to this startling revelation, but God was playing God again.

Don’t you see that whatever gifts and talents you may have, you also have faults and impediments and that they were put there by the God who loves you? God loved that man who was blind from birth as well and while He may have condemned him to decades of blindness, He didn’t leave him in that condition. It could be said that the blind man received a greater gift than any we have heard of in our day.

Oh! What a wonderful thing at the end of all of that despair and humiliation to see Jesus’ face as the first thing his eyes beheld in this world. The first thing he saw with his eyes was the Light of the world.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Dreams / Vision, God, Hearing God, Jesus, Journaling, religion, Writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

2 Comments on “Mysteries”

  1. Rachel Says:

    You bring up a great aspect of God in the scripture – there is so much more to “the plan” than we know. We know God is purposeful, all loving, all knowing, and sovereign. When I read passages like the account of Jacob and Esau – it reminds me it is God who calls. God has the plan. He knows. Sometimes I think in Christianity we think we know the beginning and the end – when we’ve only seen glimpses. This is why we can’t judge another’s heart. It isn’t our place and we can’t. We don’t know how each one fits into the big picture. It is fascinating to think on these mysteries isnt’ it? God will reveal what we need to know when we need to know it — it’s our part to seek and ask and trust in His timing for our understanding.

    Reminds me of Eph 1:4-5. God has it all worked out. 🙂


    • Nathan Says:

      Hi Rachel,
      I am constantly amazed at the things I run across in Scripture. God has hidden these seeds which will grow in our hearts. I believe the story of Jacob the scoundrel should reverberate through our culture as a primary example of God’s willingness to accept us, warts and all, yet somehow many of the churchy folk I’ve met still want to believe the idea that only nice smelling, middle-class, professional people are saved. Sigh, it makes me wonder which bible they are reading.
      I am certainly glad that He is not following their agenda. Yes indeed, He has it all worked out and it is definitely His plan!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: