“And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ ” Romans 9:10-12 (NAS)
The apostle Paul, while being moved by the Holy Spirit, explains to the Roman brethren the sovereignty of God.
The overriding theme in chapter nine is that the Lord has a plan and He has been working it from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). Proving the Father’s omniscience and omnipotence in executing His plan while allowing man free will in it, he cites a passage from the Genesis scroll wherein God answered Rebekah in her inquiry as to why the twins within her “struggled together”. “And the LORD said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples shall be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.’ ” (Gen. 25:23) Both were born of the same father, yet God could see the character that would develop within the twins; one would reject and despise God’s blessing (Esau), the other (Jacob) would value and pursue it. As a result, the descendents of Jacob, the physical nation of Israel, would receive, as the inspired apostle had earlier penned, “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Rom. 9:4). Not because of anything they had to done to deserve it, but because of God’s plan being worked through them. Much more can be said here but let’s turn our attention to the principle of “the older will serve the younger”. Throughout the Bible we see this principle in action. Ishmael was the first born of Abraham, older than Isaac, yet he ended up serving the younger, so to speak. How? As an example of what happens when carnal man attempts to execute God’s plan according to a fleshly understanding. What about Joseph, the next to the youngest in Jacob’s direct descendents, and his resentful older brothers? In his dream which he shared, his brothers would serve him. In their jealousy and rage, they originally intended to kill Joseph; instead they sold him into slavery thinking they were finally rid of him. However, this was all part of God’s purpose in saving them so that they would ultimately serve him and the LORD. “Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.’ ” (Gen. 50:18-20) Check out how Jacob blessed Ephraim (another name to be coined in the Old Testament for the northern kingdom of Israel) the younger son of Joseph, over Manasseh, the older, in Genesis 48:13-20. There have been two nations ‘born from above’, by the same Father, God. The physical nation of Israel, miraculously brought forth out of slavery in Egypt, and the true spiritual nation, the church, brought forth from slavery to sin. Everything concerning the physical nation of Israel, the “older” shall we say in the plan of God, was designed to serve the younger, the church, as disclosed in God’s progressive revelation. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4) “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Cor. 10:11) The Jews, being carnal minded, rejected the Messiah and despised God’s blessing for them through Jesus Christ. Yet in their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, they served the church and the Gentiles, those who would be the younger. The message of the gospel motivated them (and us) to pursue God’s blessing through Jesus Christ. The older, the Jews, definitely meant evil against the Christ, but God meant it for good, “to preserve many people alive” spiritually, eternally. Possessing the indwelling Spirit of Christ, we now as true descendents of God possess “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law (of faith) and the temple service and the promises”. Do you know who you are in Christ? Do you see God’s and your purpose?