Now Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all the members of his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his possessions which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and he went to a land away from his brother Jacob. – Genesis 36:6
Had God elected one or the other of these twins by likeability He would probably have chosen Esau. While Esau had no regard for spiritual things it was Esau who moved out of Jacob’s way just as Abraham gave way to Lot (13:5ff.). God’s elect are not necessarily more likeable people, nor are they any more gracious and kind. That is why election is apart from works, so that God’s free choice is really free.
Jacob is what he is because of divine grace. Esau is what he is because he was a sinner, and he did not come to the one who dispenses the grace of God. There is a way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are lost when we fail to come. We’re saved only by the grace of God who inefficacious activity through the Spirit brings us to the knowledge of ourselves and to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Ask yourself the question, just really to what family do I belong – the family of Esau or the family of the faithful? May God give you grace to come to the Lord Jesus Christ through whom there is life.
[a]Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will— to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ]. – Ephesians 1:3-6
Jacob compared Esau’s forgiveness to God sparing his life (Gen 33:11). In humbling himself to obtain reconciliation with Esau by giving up his superiority in the spiritual blessing and his legal rights as the heir of Isaac, Jacob fully obtained God’s blessing in becoming the bearer of the “promised seed” and the leader of his family. Jacob’s submission prefigured Christ who in His humility gave up His rights to equality with God to reconcile the world to Himself, a model of submission and service that is an example for every Christian.
Paul the Apostle shared these words in Romans 9:13 – “[a]Jacob I loved (chose, protected, blessed), but [b]Esau I hated (held in disregard compared to Jacob).” In Hebrews 12:16-17, God’s warning came that no one should be as “immoral or godless like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance [there was no way to repair what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], even though he sought for it with [bitter] tears.” We need to learn from Esau’s life. His brother, Jacob, made many mistakes, but through faith in the Lord, he acquired something more than positive human qualities. Esau seems to have had no faith and if that is true, the man has lost even what he had.