COMING third of the patriarchs, we have Jacob and we find that he is the example of divine justification. Jacob, the crook, the rascal, the cheat, the liar, the thief, the conniver, the supplanter, becomes the example of justification. That really is something divine. “Whom He called, these He also justified.” – Romans 8:30. Why did God choose Jacob? Why would He call him? Certainly not on the basis of his worth; certainly not on the basis of his own merit. Then on what basis did He call him? It was again on the basis of sovereign grace, appropriated through faith.
Esau, his brother was a gentleman compared with Jacob. Esau was a home-loving boy, kind to his father as far as the record goes. When Isaac, the old man, wanted comfort in his old age, he called Esau, not Jacob. You may search the record and you will find nothing derogatory to Esau, except that he sold his birthright and despised the promise of God. But from every other standpoint, morally and otherwise, there is nothing bad recorded about Esau. He was a pretty good fellow, as fellows go. But now look at Jacob. He schemed with his mother, took the goat skins about his neck to fool his father, and when poor, old, blind Isaac becomes suspicious, Jacob tells a brazen, boldfaced lie and more or less says, “Don’t worry father, I wouldn’t lie to you.” It was Jacob who stole the birthright from his brother Esau, cheated his father, connived with his mother and then ran away, and then almost ruined his uncle Laban. Yet, to God, he was justified rather than Esau.