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# 41: 11-12-12

Romans 9:6-13
Paul has begun to make his case to the brethren in Rome that God is not finished with the nation Israel.
Paul does not base his case on his feelings for his kindred though his heart is filled with love for his
nation. Nor does Paul base his case on the circumstances hardly! as wherever Paul has gone, the vast
majority of the Jews have rejected the gospel message. We will see that Paul bases his case squarely on the
word of God and on God Himself, who will always be true to His word to fulfill it.
Last week, Paul began with a review of the privileges of the nation Israel to have been chosen by the
LORD above every other nation to be the head nation; to have the presence of the LORD, dwelling right in
their midst; to have been given the Law of Moses, revealing Gods righteous requirements of men, and the
way to be made righteous through the Coming Christ all, designed to lead them to salvation.
And God had made specific promises to the nation of Israel to bless them both materially and spiritually
the blessings of life, that they might really live their inheritance of Life everlasting.
But all of those privileges and promises and blessings are rooted in the One who is their Life, their
salvation their Messiah, Jesus. And in the nations rejection of Jesus, the privileges and the promises that
God has intended for them, that He has planned and purposed for them, have not been received.
This would tend to raise a question in the mind of Pauls listeners does this mean that God wont fulfill
His word? That He has changed His mind? As Paul continues to make his case, he will show that nothing
could be further from the truth.
I want to remind you, before we continue reading, that it is essential in this part of Pauls letter to
understand who he is talking about, in each section and verse. Remember that throughout the next three
chapters, Paul regularly uses the term Israel to refer to the collective nation, and Jew to refer to
individuals.
[Read Romans 9:6-13]
Notice that Paul is continuing to speak of the nation of Israel collectively here, not of the Jews as
individuals. In verse 6, Paul begins to explain that the word of God to the nation Israel has in no way
failed. Then in the remainder of the passage, Paul uses the word of God to show that the failure is not on
Gods part, to fulfill His word. The failure is on mans part, to understand God and His word.
Paul uses OT Scripture to show that it is God who always chooses for His purpose of salvation; God
established the basis of salvation, and God elected to salvation whom He will; and it is His right to do so, as
the Creator.
Underlying this point, of Gods right to choose, is that God is always right, in the choice He makes. Those
whom God chooses do fulfill His purpose for them as Paul will bring out in chapter 11 with the nation
Israel. And Gods word, concerning them, will always be precisely fulfilled.
Lets go back now to verse 6, and take a closer look.
v. 6 When Paul says that it is not that the word of God has taken no effect, he means that Gods word has
not failed; that God has not spoken His word, in vain.

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We might think of the words of the prophet Isaiah, speaking for the LORD: So shall My word be that goes
forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall
prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Is 55:11).
But is Paul referring to the word of God in general here, or to a particular word of God? Looking at the
context, at Pauls thoughts that preceded this, we can see that what Paul has in mind is the word that was
spoken by God concerning His nation Israel that is, the many OT passages that speak of what God has
promised to Israel promises that the nation up to and including Pauls day have not received.
Pauls point is that God will give His nation exactly what He has promised them when they truly are His
nation.
This is what Paul is bringing out with his statement, For they are not all Israel who are of Israel. Now,
what does he mean by that? When Paul says, Of Israel, he is referring to those who are descendants of
Jacob, whom God gave the new name, Israel, a name which means prince with God (Gen 32:28).
A prince carries out the rule of the king, in submission to him; in this case, God. Jacobs name change was
both significant in his own personal life, as well as being prophetic of the nation Israel one day being the
head nation, administering the rule of Christ on the earth (Deut 28:1, 9-10, 13).
In our passage then, of Israel refers to the descendants of Jacob, that is, the physical nation of Israel
Jacobs sons, according to the flesh. What Paul is saying is that not every physical descendant is truly a
member of the nation Israel of the Israel of God (Gal 6:16).
Paul is introducing the thought here that Gods words concerning Israel had always been intended for true
Israel, that is, those who are truly His people, who have submitted to His rule over them; not merely to the
physical descendants of Jacob.
Paul will further define true Israel in chapter 11. But at the present time, Pauls point is that members of the
nation Israel do not have any right by natural birth to what God has promised the nation. And this is
exactly what many did think.
Paul goes on to reinforce this point.
v. 7-9 Paul is strengthening his case to show that physical descent is not the basis for the nation Israels
salvation and blessings. Paul now goes back to Abraham whom every Jew regarded as the father of the
nation to show that just being Abrahams seed his offspring did not guarantee salvation and blessings.
We need to closely follow Pauls line of reasoning here, to catch his point. The Scripture he quotes in verse
9 is from the account in Genesis chapter 18. Lets go back to Genesis and consider the passage.
The LORD had called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees on the basis of some promises that He made to
him. Abraham was initially drawn by those promises, particularly the one about being made a great nation,
for his wife Sarah was barren. But eventually, the draw for Abraham became not the promises, but the
LORD Himself.
The LORD God made of revelation of Himself through His story in the stars, and Abraham believed in the
LORD, and the LORD accounted it to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6).

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The Coming Christ was to be Abrahams heir; and Abraham would, in turn, inherit the land through Christ.
But still, Abraham and Sarah were childless and the promises of God all hinged upon Abraham
reproducing seed.
So Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands, and what was the result? Ishmael, the son of
Abraham and Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah.
Thirteen years go by. These were years when Abraham came to understand that he could not bring the
LORDs words to him to pass; that only the LORD could do that.
At this time, the LORD God established His covenant with Abraham, the covenant for Life everlasting
through faith in Christ. Embedded in that covenant were the promises for seed referring to the nation of
Israel and for the land (Gen 17:4-9).
And the LORD told Abraham that Sarah would bear the son to Abraham through whom the LORD would
establish His covenant Isaac. Sarah would bear Abraham a son despite the fact that both Abraham and
Sarah were past their reproductive years.
Abraham was delighted; but Sarah still doubted. So the LORD made a personal appearance to Abraham, and
in Sarahs hearing, the LORD promised that when He returned again, Sarah would have a son.
Well continue with the account in verse 9.
[Genesis 18:10-15] So when Sarah, eavesdropping from the womens tent, overheard the LORDs words that
she would have a son, she laughed, expressing her unbelief but it was all done inside of herself.
When the LORD called her on it, her laughter turned to fear, for she recognized that the One who was
promising a son omnisciently knew the content of her heart. Sarah realized this was the LORD, who was
promising; and after being convicted, she became convinced.
Now the LORD was able to accomplish His purposes, through Abraham and Sarah. And at the appointed
time, according to the time of life, God brought forth the son that He had promised.
Turn now to Genesis chapter 21.
[Genesis 21:1-13]
1-8 A child was weaned at 2-3 years of age. This is a sign of maturity, of no longer being dependent upon
ones mother. The feast that Abraham made emphasized this coming of age of his son his heir.
v. 9 The son of Hagar the Egyptian is, of course, Ishmael, who is about 17 years old by this time. His
scoffing was an outward display of the jealousy he harbored in his heart, against Isaac. Sarah understood
this scoffing for exactly what it was and the potential threat it posed to her son, as Abrahams heir.
v. 10 We might think Sarah is being harsh here, but in fact she rightly recognized that Ishmael did not
accept Isaac as Abrahams heir, and would contend with him over it. The only solution would be a
complete severance.
v. 11-12 Abrahams natural affection for Ishmael caused him to be displeased with Sarahs suggestion, but
the LORD showed Abraham it was His thinking, in the matter.

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Here we find the verse that Paul quoted in verse 7 of Romans 9. It is given as a reminder by the LORD to
Abraham of what He told him when He established His covenant with Abraham. The seed which would
inherit the promises of the covenant with Abraham the nation Israel would be called forth from
Abrahams son Isaac.
v. 13 The LORD assures Abraham that Hagars son, Ishmael, would also be made a nation but not Gods
covenant nation. Abraham had been told he would be the father of many nations (Gen 17:5).
Now lets return to Romans chapter 9 and consider how Paul is using these passages.
[Return to Romans 9]
Remember that the quote in verse 7 appears in the Genesis account when Abraham had just two sons. One
was the child he bore, according to the flesh, of natural birth Ishmael. The other is the child the LORD had
promised, brought forth from Abrahams and Sarahs dead bodies of supernatural birth, we could say
Isaac. Both are the seed of Abraham; both are his offspring. But only one can be Abrahams heir.
The LORD chose Isaac the son He gave. And the seed that is called forth from Isaac which will be the
nation Israel are the children of the promised son and these are the ones that the LORD counts as the true
seed of Abraham.
The word counted here is the same word we have come across several times in Romans, meaning
imputed or accounted. This is the Lords accounting system; the children of the promise are the
children of God, the only ones who count as true seed; and therefore only they receive the promised
blessings. It is the Lord who chooses who counts!
Paul is applying this example from the OT Scriptures to show that Israels entering into the blessings of
salvation does not come through their natural birth as Abrahams seed, but through Gods choosing, His
calling.
Heres the parallel. Like the seed of Isaac the promised son only those of Abrahams seed who become
the seed of Christ Gods promised Son are the children of God, the heirs of salvation, inheriting the
promise of Life everlasting.
Paul wrote to the Galatians, And if you are Christs, then you are Abrahams seed, and heirs according to
the promise (Gal 3:29).
Israel as a nation has not yet believed into Christ, to be born again, children of God, a regenerate nation;
but Gods word here makes it apparent that eventually, they will.
In verse 9, Paul goes back to the promise that was given to Abraham concerning Sarah. Paul is
emphasizing two things here; first, it brings out Pauls overall point: what God promises in His word, He
always brings to pass; Sarah did indeed bear a son. But in addition to this, Paul is bringing in Sarah here
because he wants to draw the attention of his listeners to a particular aspect of this mother. This becomes
clearer as Paul continues.
v. 10-13 In verse 10, Paul has brought in another mother; this is the wife of Abrahams son, Rebecca. Not
only connects with what Paul has been saying in the previous verses, particularly in verse 9. Paul will
show that not only was the seed, the nation Israel here, called in Isaac, it was also elected, or chosen in
Jacob. Well speak more about that shortly. Election simply means choice or selection.

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But there is another aspect to the Not only in verse 10: Not only Sarah, but Rebecca. Paul intentionally
brings in the two women, who bore the seed. They shared a very particular trait can you recall what it
was? They were both barren. They were both barren, until the LORD opened their wombs Sarahs, with
Isaac; and Rebeccas, with Jacob and Esau.
God, the Creator, the Life-Giver, brought forth life from their dead bodies. So here Paul is emphasizing the
divine initiative in God bringing forth the seed He will use, for His purpose in this case, the seed referring
to the nation Israel.
As Paul brings in this second historical example, he solidifies his case by which he demonstrates that it is
God who elects, or chooses for His purpose of salvation.
In the case of Jacob and Esau, there was nothing to distinguish one from the other, when God chose Jacob
to bring forth the nation Israel. Both sons were conceived by the same father Isaac in the womb of the
same mother Rebecca at the same time they were twins. And it was while they were still in the
womb, that God elected the nation to His purposes, in Jacob.
The quotation in verse 12, which shows the election of the nation in Jacob, was part of a prophecy given to
Rebecca. Were going back again into the account in Genesis to look at this prophecy. Turn to Genesis
chapter 25.
After the death of Sarah, Abraham sent a servant back to his ancestral land to seek a wife for his son Isaac
from among his relatives. The LORD directed Abrahams servant to Rebecca, who willingly accompanied
the servant back to Canaan, and became Isaacs wife.
Well begin in verse 20.
[Genesis 25:20-23]
v. 20 Bethuel was the son of Nahor, Abrahams brother (Gen 11:29, 24:47).
v. 21 Isaac and Rebecca were actually childless for nineteen years. Then the LORD opened Rebeccas
womb with not one, but two children both sons. Again we see the divine initiative.
v. 22 Now, Rebecca had no way of knowing that she was carrying twins. But even so, this was more than
the normal movement in the womb that Rebecca was experiencing, and it caused her to turn to the LORD for
an answer.
v. 23 The LORDs answer was given to Rebecca in the form of a prophecy. Notice that the LORD does not
speak of two sons being in Rebeccas womb, but two nations; the prophecy, then, pertains not to the
individual sons, but to the nations of whom these two sons would be the progenitors.
These two nations would be two distinct peoples; the idea is that these two nations would differ in their
manner, in their culture, in their thinking. But the two nations would not just be different; they would be
opposed, one to the other, as evidenced by the struggle in the womb.
The LORD said that the one people, or nation, would be stronger than the other; in the Hebrew, it means one
nation would prevail over the other and the LORD indicates which one; the older shall serve the younger.

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That is to say, the son that was born first would be the progenitor of a nation that would be subjugated to
the nation that descended from the second-born son. In this way, the LORD was showing the preeminence of
the nation that would come from the second son because it would be Gods chosen nation, Israel.
[Return to Romans 9]
In this passage, Paul is using this historical account to show Gods right to choose whom He will, for His
purpose of salvation. God brought forth these two sons of Isaac from the barren womb of Rebecca life
out of death, showing God as the initiator of life. The two sons were conceived and carried under the same
conditions, at the same time.
And before they were ever born before they ever performed any action in this world before they did
anything good or evil God made His decision, as to which one would bring forth His nation, Israel. From
this, Paul concludes that God does not choose based on what anyone does, based on anyones efforts.
With Pauls first example Ishmael and Isaac he has shown that God does not choose based on natural
birth. Now Paul has shown in his second example with Jacob and Esau that God does not choose based
on mens works.
Those two things are exactly the basis upon which the nation Israel thought that they were the chosen
people of God their birth, and their good works. And what Paul has just shown is that it isnt so. God
chooses based on His own right to choose, whom He will. But having said that, we need to understand a
little more about God choosing.
When God chooses, it is always for good; it reflects His gracious purpose for mankind, for their salvation.
Notice that Paul says in verse 11, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works
but of Him who calls.
Paul spoke about this calling of God in his second letter to Timothy, that we have. Weve just looked at that
recently, but its important for our lesson today.
Turn to Second Timothy chapter 1. Paul was writing to Timothy about their shared ministry in the gospel
the power of God unto salvation, for all who believe.
[Second Timothy 1:8-10] Here is Gods calling, according to His own purpose and grace that men should
saved from death, by becoming His glorified sons. This is a holy calling, issued through the gospel,
realized through our Savior, Jesus Christ and it was purposed by God for men before time began.
Everyone who responds to the call fulfills Gods purpose for them, which is according to Gods choosing;
His election to salvation.
So Gods choosing is always for a good, gracious purpose. And when God chooses, it is not arbitrary; He
does not choose randomly, or capriciously. What does God base His choice on, then? His foreknowledge.
Turn to First Peter chapter 1. Peter was writing to predominantly Jewish believers, who had been scattered
throughout Asia Minor due to persecution. We will find what we are looking for in the prescript of his
letter.

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[First Peter 1:1-2] In addressing the believers, Peter calls them elect; those who have been elected by
God for salvation. Anyone who believes into Christ is one of the elect, the chosen of God; in this case,
these elect speaks of members of the Body of Christ, the true church.
Notice that Peter says these elect are according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. In His
omniscience, the Father foreknows all who will believe into His Son, Jesus Christ the one and only Way
that God has provided for men to be saved. In foreknowing who they are, God has elected all of them to
salvation before they ever believed. In fact, His choosing of them goes as far back as one can go.
Turn to Ephesians chapter 1. Paul wrote of the election, or choosing of the church.
[Ephesians 1:1-6] The Father chose us He elected us in Christ. When did He do that, in verse 4?
Before the foundation of the world. Thats when He chose us for salvation. So God determined to save
men, before time began; He determined how He would save men, before time began; and He even chose
them for salvation, before time began.
And of course, we have already learned that, concerning the church; in Romans chapter 8, we learned that
those whom God foreknew who would respond to the call of the gospel, He predestined to be conformed to
the image of His Son to be a glorified son of God. God chose them for salvation, before they ever
believed.
This is true for all who respond to the call of the gospel, not just the church God has elected them to
salvation. And when the nation of Israel believes into their Messiah, it will be demonstrated that they are
the elect of God, as well.
So we see that Gods choosing is always for good, for salvation, and that it is not arbitrary, but based on His
foreknowledge of those who will believe into His Son, who is the basis of Gods salvation. This is Gods
right, as the Creator of man to choose whom He will, on the basis of what He will.
Now, Paul could have just left it at that, because he has made his case quite effectively. But Paul adds on
one last thing, in his argument for Gods right to choose. The idea is embedded in the OT Scripture that
Paul quotes in verse 13. This verse demonstrates that God not only has the right to choose, but that He is
right, in whom He chooses.
The quotation is taken from the book of Malachi. Now, that is the last book in the OT, both in position, as
well as in historical time. Paul quotes Malachi, after having quoted Genesis, in the preceding verse the
first book of the OT, and in historical time.
So what Paul has done is recorded here Gods first spoken word, concerning Jacob and Esau the
prophecy, before the boys were ever born and Gods last spoken word, concerning them when they had
long been established as the nations of Israel and Edom.
What would lie between these two points in time? Two thousand years; and the history of Jacob and Esau,
first as individuals, then as nations. Were going to review that history, then take a look at the verse Paul
quoted in its context in Malachi.
But before we do, we must remind ourselves that Paul is speaking about nations here. The nation of Israel
was elected for Gods purpose of salvation while still in its progenitor, Jacob, while he was still in the
womb. This is what was shown in the prophecy the LORD gave Rebecca; Gods election of one nation to
have the preeminence over the other, before those nations ever came into existence.

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That being said, well first go back to the history of the sons who were the progenitors of those nations.
The prophecy wasnt about them as individuals, but their lives became a vivid forecast of the history of the
nations that came of them.
Well return to Genesis chapter 25, to where Rebecca gives birth to the boys.
[Genesis 25:24-34]
v. 24-25 Esau means hairy.
v. 26 Jacob meanssupplanter one who usurps anothers position. The name was given because the
second-born came out grasping the heel of the first-born, as if to overtake him. That was clearly prophetic!
So the boys were very different in appearance.
v. 27-28 The boys were also very different in manner, and interests; and the parents played favorites, which
encouraged the rivalry of the boys.
v. 29-34 In the Hebrew, Esau does not even name the food that Jacob is cooking; he just demands to be fed
that red.
This was a defining moment in the lives of the boys, so that Esau acquired a new name from it: Edom,
which means red. The nation which came from Esau became known as Edom.
This episode revealed the heart of each of the boys. Esau was shallow, led by his senses; a man of action,
of time and sense, who lived in and for the present, and put no value in future, unseen realities such as his
birthright, as the firstborn son of Isaac, to be his heir.
On the other hand, Jacob greatly valued the idea of a future inheritance. Now both Esau and Jacob would
have been told of the prophecy the LORD had given to his mother, indicating that Jacobs people would have
the preeminence.
But Jacob had not yet learned to trust the LORD, to bring about His purposes, in His time so we see Jacob
here manipulating his brother, swindling him out of his birthright, trying to grasp the promises of God, by
his own hand; much as he grasped his brothers heel. And later in the account, Jacob deceives his father
Isaac into giving him the patriarchal blessing, which normally would go to the firstborn son, Esau.
These tendencies of the boys eventually extended into the spiritual realm. Jacob later came to believe into
the LORD for His Christ, and the LORD established His covenant with Jacob. But the author to the Hebrews
informs us that Esau was a profane person, meaning that he was outside the sacred, selling his birthright
the blessings he was to inherit for a morsel of food (Heb 12:16-17).
This was borne out further when the boys came of age to marry. Esau chose wives from among the
Canaanites idolaters, in the land of Canaan. Jacob was willing to return to the ancestral lands to marry
within the family, as had been done for Isaac.
Just as the lives of the boys was marked by Jacob striving for preeminence and Esau responding in hatred,
so too the nations that came of them.

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Esau chose to dwell in mount Seir, where the nation that came from him initially became wealthy off the
caravan trade. Later, when the LORD brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, to bring them into the land
of Canaan, the Edomites would not allow them to pass through their lands a display of hostility.
Over time, the Edomites made themselves the enemies of Israel, and even warred against them several
times. The Edomites were at one point defeated by David, and became his subjects, in fulfillment of the
prophecy to Rebecca. But later, they broke that yoke to once again contend with Israel, throughout the
period of the monarchy.
When the Babylonians rose to power, Edom became their subservient vassal. They refused to help Judah
when Nebuchadnezzar overthrew Jerusalem in 586 BC, and the Edomites even raided Judah, handing over
captives to Babylon, then possessing some of Judahs lands (Eze 35).
Now lets consider the verse that Paul quoted. Turn to Malachi chapter 1.
By this time, Edom was coming into a period of decline, and several of their cities had been abandoned.
Meanwhile, following 70 years of captivity in Babylon, the LORD had allowed a remnant of Israel to return
to the land, to begin rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple. From this point, Edom continued to decline,
until it ceased to exist as a nation, while Israel endured, upheld by the hand of the LORD.
This was the LORDs last word to His nation for 400 years. They had returned to the land a century before,
but their hearts couldnt be further from the LORD. The prophet Malachi rebuked the nation, calling Israel to
repent, warning them of judgment. He begins by expressing the heart of the LORD for His nation; a heart
filled with love.
[Malachi 1:1-5] The LORD has always loved Israel; as we learned last week, He has bound Himself to them,
in love, as He sees all the way to the end, when they will enter into His love for them.
But at this time, the nation is in rebellion, and spurns His love In what way have You loved us?
Look at the LORDs answer Was not Esau Jacobs brother? Yet Jacob I have loved, and Esau I have
hated.
The LORD here is demonstrating His love for His nation Israel by showing that He hates those who hate
Israel; her enemies are His enemies.
Clearly the LORD was speaking of Jacob and Esau not as individuals here, but as the nations that came from
them; Israel and Edom. Though they had the same beginning, the LORD attached Himself in His love to
Israel, foreknowing that Israel would respond to Him, in the end and that Edom never would.
And when Edom determined a course of enmity against the LORDs beloved Israel, the LORD brought
judgment on Edom. Now, as we have seen, this judgment simply came through the circumstances of life,
for a nation; economic decline; the oppression of other nations.
But it was the judgment of God, a judgment that was a result of Edom pursuing a course that took her
further and further away from God; an idolatrous nation, that opposed His nation, and thus, the LORD
Himself. So in the end, the LORDs chosen nation, Israel, prevailed over Edom. The LORDs word, spoken in
the prophecy to Rebecca 2000 years before, still stood.

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[Return to Romans 9]
So Pauls point, in quoting the two Scriptures in verses 12 and 13, back to back, is to show that Gods
election of the nation Israel in Jacob was His right, and that in doing so, He was right.
Edom proved themselves to be a profane people outside the sacred much as their progenitor, Esau was.
Therefore the LORD could never set His love upon them.
And when the nation of Israel one day responds to the LORDs love, and receives her Messiah, she will
completely fulfill all the words which the LORD has spoken, concerning her. She will be the LORDs head
nation, in the end.
Next week: Romans 9; Exodus 4-14, Hosea 1-2, Isaiah 1, 10.