Summary of passage: It is only Abraham’s children through Sarah who are chosen by God to be saved. Not all are chosen.
6a) God calls those whom He chooses and those who are governed by Him by grace.
b) Paul reminds us that those chosen were from Sarah’s son, Isaac, not in Ishmael’s line. Both had Abraham as a father. God choose one son only. Similarly, God chose Jacob over Esau.
7) Part personal Question. My answer: Paul’s example. All is in God’s grace. God chooses whom He wants. There is always hope because we don’t know whom God chooses and why. Our job is just to pray.
Conclusions: In essence, Paul says God chooses whom He wants. It’s all planned. It is not for us to question or wonder why. And we are grateful. Can you imagine if we were in charge?
End Notes: One meaning of the name “Israel” is governed by God, which is what Paul means here. He means not all of Israel is governed by God. Same is true for the word “Christian”. Not everyone who is called a Christian is a follower of Christ.
When people ask: “How can God’s promise stand when so many who comprise Israel are unbelieving and therefore cut off?” Here’s the answer:
God’s word didn’t fail. Instead, it reaches the children of the promise which may not include all of Israel. Paul uses Ismael here as an example. He is of the flesh not of God. God chose Jacob over Esau before they were born out of grace not works. It is God’s sovereign right to choose whom He wants.
God’s love and hate here is merely God’s preference to Jacob over Esau. The idea here is more like accepted and rejected. Places in the Bible where hate clearly seems to mean something like “loved less”: (Genesis 29:31, 33; Deuteronomy 21:15; Matthew 6:24; Luke 14:26; John 12:25).
Esau was a very blessed man indeed. Just not with the covenant.
“A woman once said to Mr. Spurgeon, ‘I cannot understand why God should say that He hated Esau.’ ‘That,’ Spurgeon replied, ‘is not my difficulty, madam. My trouble is to understand how God could love Jacob.'” (Newell)
We may not be able to fathom God’s reasons for choosing, and they are reasons He alone knows and answers to, but God’s choices are not capricious. He has a plan and a reason. We just don’t know it. Expecting to know God’s plan is where a lot of us cause ourselves heartache and despair. Let God handle it.