23 And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” – Genesis 25:23

Have you ever held a newborn and wondered what they’d become? Maybe you’ve watched them smile or furl their brow in between wispy little sleeping breaths and wondered, “What could they ever be dreaming about?” Swaddled tightly within those nursery blankets is incredible potential waiting to burst forth, like a butterfly from a cocoon. What will they become? Time will ultimately reveal what divine providence already knows. Every person is born with a purpose and for a purpose. We all have the power to have an incredible impact in this world.

The question is, will our impact be positive or negative? The reality is, we all have a choice. The Bible makes it clear that we have a free will to choose. We’ve all seen or heard of siblings growing up to choose two opposite moral paths, despite their “identical” upbringing. What’s sometimes confusing is how our free will resides amidst the tension of God’s sovereignty and divine choice. Divine providence assures that I will ultimately fulfill my purpose while free will makes me responsible to faithfully pursue it.

This juxtaposition is the tension we will feel in this week’s passage. The message title is Presence of Division, and it tells the story of the conflict between Esau and Jacob. We meet them as two babies in their mother’s womb. Two boys who will grow to follow opposite paths. Neither is perfect. Both are sinners, but one was indiscriminately and unconditionally chosen by God to carry on the line of promise while the other chose to live a life following the indulgence of his flesh. Frankly, it’s a sobering story with perplexing theological depth that ought to cause us to pause and marvel at the incredible wisdom and grace of God. Take a moment to read Genesis 25:19-34 and consider how purposefully and intricately God’s grace was applied. And then thank Him that He chose to extend that same grace to you.

Pastor Jerry Lingenfelter