Malachi 1:2, 3, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.” This is a Hebrew idiom. The concept of ‘hated’ means loved less. Jesus used the same idiom in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.” But Christians are to love all people, even our enemies. So, the word hate needs to be softened – recognizing it should mean loved or preferred less.
Actions have consequences. It is entirely proper for God to discontinue favors to those who would not use them, and to extend them to others who will. This is not a violation of God’s Divine love, but a wise and loving response.
Esau did not properly value his birthright and sold it to Jacob who desired God’s chief blessing meant for the firstborn. (Heb.12:16) The consequence was more of God’s love and favor given to Jacob. Less love and favor was Esau’s portion.
The birthright blessing continued through Jacob to his sons who became the nation of Israel. “You (Israel) only have I known of all the families of the earth.” (Amos 3:2) Yet God did give Esau a blessing. God told Israel in Deuteronomy 2:4-7, “You are about to cross the border of your relatives the descendants of Esau, who inhabit Seir. . . Do not be hostile toward them, because I am not giving you any of their land, not even a footprint, for I have given Mount Seir as an inheritance for Esau.”
Ultimately, in Christ’s Kingdom, Esau and his family will be blessed through Israel. God said to Jacob; “In you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 28:14 NKJV) The abundance of God’s love provides for Esau’s family while rewarding Jacob’s family for his exceptional faith and loyalty.
Wise parents know that they are not always at liberty to show love in a way pleasing to the child. And wise parents raise their child with discipline. Sometimes love means withholding or removing a blessing until the child is trained and experienced enough to benefit. In a very small way, this is an example of why God has a due time (1 Tim. 2:6) to reveal the fullness of His perfect love after he “judges the world in righteousness”. (Acts 17:31) God’s righteous judgment is the tool needed so that each of us “grow up”. Then, the fullness of God’s gifts of love will be fully appreciated.
In summary: God’s perfect love promises salvation to Esau and his family and to all mankind. “Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s,” Obadiah 1:21(NIV) The Lord has arranged in His plan of salvation a time and a way when all the race shall be delivered and God’s love fully revealed. (Isa. 35:8-10) “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Rev. 21:3-5