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July 7 Today’s Reading: Proverbs 20-22
“He that is Abhorred of the Lord”
“Abhorred of the Lord” — What an alarming, sobering thought! Pause, O my soul, and give praise and thanks to the God of all grace “who hath from the beginning chosen you” in everlasting love, redeemed you because he loved you, and called you for that same reason! Here God the Holy Ghost speaks of one man who stands as the representative of many who are “abhorred of the Lord;” but (Blessed be his name forever!) there is a vast multitude no man can number, of whom the Lord God says, “I will love them freely,” because he loved them with an everlasting love in Christ Jesus.
Jacob and Esau
In Romans 9:13 God the Holy Spirit uses Jacob to represent all God's elect, and his brother Esau to represent all the reprobate sons of Adam. He tells us plainly that God loved Jacob and hated Esau from eternity, without any consideration of their works. His purpose is to show us that the purpose of God according to election stands not upon the footing of human works, but upon the footing of his sovereign grace alone (Romans 9:11).
The amazing, wonderful thing in Romans 9:13 is God’s statement, “Jacob have I loved!” God owed nothing to Jacob. Jacob had no claim upon God. God knew what kind of person Jacob would be — a sinful wretch! Yet, God loved Jacob, all his Jacobs, with an everlasting, free, sovereign love. That love is God's eternal benevolence, “his everlasting will, purpose, and determination to deliver, bless, and save his people” (Augustus Toplady). Wonder of wonders that God should love such wretches as he knew we would be, and determine to save us!
Then, the Lord God declares, “Esau have I hated.” God said it; and we dare not try to alter it. “Esau have I hated.” What does that mean? The word “hated,” as it is used in this text, does not imply a positive hatred, which involves contempt, anger, and wrath. That cannot be the meaning of the word in Romans 9:13, because God's anger and wrath against men is always a judicial response to man's sin. And Paul plainly tells us that Esau's works were not under consideration when God said, “Esau have I hated.” The hatred there spoken of is, as John Gill rightly observed, a "negative hatred, which is God’s will not to give eternal life to some persons...a neglect of them, taking no notice of them, passing them by when he chose others. So the word ‘hate’ is used for neglect, taking no notice.”
This is the way our Lord Jesus used the word “hate” in Luke 14:26. We are not commanded to treat our families or ourselves with contempt, anger, and wrath. But we must, as we seek to follow Christ, give no consideration to our earthly relationships. We must pass them by and choose Christ. That is what the word “hated” means in Romans 9:13. God passed by Esau, giving him no consideration. His only consideration was for Jacob, his elect. God loved Jacob. God considered Jacob. God chose Jacob. Let Jacob rejoice!
In Proverbs 22:14 the word “abhorred” is similar to the word “hated,” only stronger. It comes from a word that means “to foam at the mouth.” The abhorred person is one against whom the Triune Jehovah is enraged with anger. This abhorrence is a matter of divine justice. Because the sinner chooses to rebel, the Lord God gives him over to his reprobate mind in judgment. God in judgment sends a strong delusion to sinners who will not receive the love of the truth. By that delusion, the reprobate, drinking iniquity like water, runs to the house of the “strange woman” of Babylon. Intoxicated by the strong wine of freewill/works religion, they perish forever.
Let all who have been delivered from the “strange woman” give everlasting praise to God for his free, sovereign, saving, electing love in Christ Jesus. — “We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ…and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-16).