This last August, our Sunday School class at church had a great discussion regard Malachi 1:2&3 where it states that God loved Jacob but hated Esau and whether or not God can truly hate anyone. I know this is a hard passage to understand or even accept according to our own finite mind, so I wanted to delve into the matter a little deeper to try and come to a better understanding as to what the passage really means. Strong's Concordance gives the meaning for the original word “hate” in this passage as “to detest (espec. to persecute)” so it appears to me that God does hate certain people, but it has to do with His own sovereign purpose and not some human-like arbitrary scale. Along this same line, Exodus 33:19 (New King James Version) says:
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
This week I came across what Charles Spurgeon had to say regarding Malachi 1:2&3:
“Why did God love Jacob and hate Esau? I can tell you why God loves Jacob; it is sovereign grace! There was nothing in Jacob that could make God love him; there was everything about him that might have made God hate him as much as He did Esau, and a great deal more. But it was because God is infinitely gracious that He loved Jacob and because He is sovereign in his dispensation of His grace that He chose Jacob as an object of that love.” – C. H. Spurgeon “Jacob and Esau #239” The Charles Haddon Spurgeon Library Version 1, p. 200
“It is a terrible text, and I will be honest with it if I can. One man says the word, “hate” does not mean hate; it means, “love less;” – “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I loved less.” It may be so; but I don't believe it is. I like to take it and let it stand just as it is. The fact is, God love Jacob, and He did not love Esau; He did chose Jacob, and He did not choose Esau.” – C. H. Spurgeon, Ibid p. 195
“Why did God hate Esau? Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this… because that man deserves to be hated. No reply but this can be true. If God deals severely sith any person, it is because that person deserves all that he gets.” – C. H. Spugeon, Ibid. p. 203
I also came across a statement by Dr. Stephen Mansfield, founder of The Mansfield Group, and author of “Forgotten Founding Father: The Heroic Legacy Of George Whitefield” who said:
“As much as we need to be doing theology and need to be doing an apologetic for the things that we believe, we never need to lose the perspective that God's “God” and he can do what he wants to do, and who are we to question His ways and His sovereign choices…The truth is that God is God and He can do whatever He wants. His job description is to do whatever pleases Him. That's how He makes decisions, that's how He conducts Himself, according to His own good pleasure as scripture says. Now that's good news to the believer but it's bad news to those who are rebelling against God.” – Dr. Stephen Mansfield, “Amazing Grace” Session 2.
This is something that God has been hammering in my own head over the past couple of years. God is the Almighty and can do whatever He wishes and whatever will bring Himself the glory that only He deserves. The fact that He did not immediately annihilate Adam when he sinned and provided the way for Adam to be reconciled and redeemed is the unspeakable gift of God's grace and mercy.
Is this something I will fully understand in this lifetime? Not hardly, since it has taken me this long in my life to come to these realizations. My hope for all of you is that you fall in love with God and find your true pleasure in Him. I would encourage you to find a way to go through the Bible that meets your particular needs and use that as a springboard to delve into the amazing grace that God has given us. I hope this helps you and know that I am honored to be a part of you and that you all are constantly in my prayers. Take care and God bless!