Sunday, August 28, 2016

you're already there

The Word for today:
Malachi 1:1-2:9
[Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. Malachi lived at the time of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah. Like them, his message was to those who had returned from exile in Babylon and were beginning to rebuild their shattered country, their shattered Temple, and their shattered lives.]
mark this: Malachi 1:2-3
"Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
In the opening lines of the book of Malachi, God says something which we might think is out of his character:
Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.
The reason we misunderstand the phrase is because we are looking at it through our own eyes. But if we were to look through God's eyes, we would not only learn about Esau, but about ourselves as well.
God sees the end from the beginning:
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
He sees that the tendencies of Esau's heart will eventually bring him far from God. He sees that Esau will give rise to the evil nation of Edom.
Then he looks at Esau's twin brother, Jacob, with the same prophetic vision. The tendencies of Jacob's heart will bring him ever closer to God. He will give rise to Israel, a nation which will one day be devoted to God.
But that's about Jacob and Esau. Does the same principle apply to us?
It sure does. Those who trust in Christ are destined to be conformed to his image (1). I don't know about you, but I've got a long, long way to go before I arrive at Christ-likeness.
Time, however, doesn't obstruct God's view. Though we are in process, God sees the process completed, the eventuality fulfilled.
God never hated Esau in Genesis. And when Jesus died on the cross, he opened the way back to God for both Jacob and Esau. When we read, in John 3:16, that God so loved the world, that world included Esau.
But Esau, God knows, will not enter through God's only Door. He'll keep on going his own way, all the way through Edom to hell. Jacob will go God's Way, all the way through Israel to heaven.
From our point of view, we're still on the road. From God's point of view, we arrived yesterday.
(1) Romans 8:29

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