However, judgment is not what God had in store for Jacob. Instead of judgment God poured out love. Perhaps one of the most interesting verses in the Bible is regarding Jacob. It is not found in Romans 9:13. It says this, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
As I stated above, this makes no sense, for Jacob deserved the hate of God, not the love of God, yet there it is, in black and white. God loved Jacob. Why? We are given the answer in the next verse, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
What a strange answer. In a way it feels like no answer. It feels like God is saying the sky is blue because the sky is blue. This isn't helpful because we know there is a cause behind the sky being blue. There are influencers that make the sky blue.
The question is, can we say the same for God? Are there influencers, or causes, that make God do what he does? Is there a force that requires God to have mercy? The answer to this is no. How do we know this? Because we are told that God has mercy on whom he has mercy. What appears to be no answer, is the greatest answer.
There are no means by which we can explain God’s will, except God’s will. He is the end of the road. Paul speaks to this truth in Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
This is hard to wrap our heads around because God has created a Universe of cause and effect. However, there must be a first cause, and it is Him. God is the only entity that has no outward influences upon His will. He is His own standard. He is God; therefore he is free to do what he desires to do, including pouring out love upon Jacob.
In the very next verse after stating that God has mercy on whom he has mercy it says, “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
God is saying that despite Jacob being a jerk, God would still show him mercy. Why? Because mercy is not dependent upon Jacob, it is dependent upon God. God is sovereign over the decision of who receives the gift of his love, and this sovereign mercy is relentless. No matter what Jacob did, no matter how far he ran, God was with him. Jacob could not shake the love of God. How would this love of God affect Jacob? The answer is found Jacob’s journey back to the Promised Land.
“Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:26)
What do we see? Instead of God not letting go of Jacob, we see Jacob not letting go of God. This is the result of God’s sovereign and relentless love of us, our relentless love of Him.