June 11, 2021 — “The Older Shall Serve The Younger”

What we are naturally should always be at the service of what we are spiritually.

As I write this, I actually have two daughters expecting twins—one is having two boys, and the other identical twin girls! That hardly makes me an expert, but it has certainly inspired my thinking. I particularly want to look at the Lord’s words, “the older shall serve the younger.” Cultures of the east would be traumatized by such a statement: the privileges of the “firstborn” were momentous. But from Cain and Abel on, it seems the one born first is not the one selected for God’s favor. And the New Testament makes it clear that God’s selection (or election) bypasses the firsts because He wants to establish that it is not by law but by grace that we come into God’s good things. As to the words, “the older shall serve the younger,” you will search in vain for a biographical explanation; Esau never served Jacob. Nor is there an historical explanation. Except for a few years under David, the Edomites were never subject to Israel. The New Testament gives us two ways to understand this. One regards justification, our right standing before God, in Romans 9:10-16, discussed in our previous lesson. The other explanation regards sanctification, our right condition before God. Simply stated, what we are by our first, or natural, birth should serve what we are by our second, or spiritual, birth. Paul explains: “Just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness…, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (Rom 6:19). Here, “members” means all our natural equipment: hands and eyes, hearts and minds, etc. Once used as weapons against God to do morally unclean things, now we should yield these resources to Him so they can serve God in enabling our new life in Christ.