Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4
October 28, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<446> Thesis: The elder shall serve the younger. Introduction: Last week we took all of our time to attempt to make Paul's point that the children of God do not arise out of anything "flesh" related. In that study we attempted to define Paul's concept of "flesh" by looking into the record regarding Abraham -- because that is where Paul got his concept. We said, in that former study, that the "flesh" is not fundamentally "physical". Rather, it is a composite of three elements: 1) an idolatrous desire [Genesis 15]; 2) human manipulation to get the desired object [Genesis 16]; and 3) a clinging to the idol even when it is obvious that God wants something else [Genesis 17]. These are the issues that seem most clear from the Genesis record from which Paul argues that for God's words of promise to "survive" this milieu of human aggression, He must do two things: first, He must separate His provision(s) from "fleshly" abilities; and, second, He must make it as clear as possible to men that He has done so if He seriously wishes for those men to put their trust in Him. If, at any level, God's words of commitment for trust (that men might trust in them) are actually subject to anything "fallen", there is no rational basis for "faith". Now, this evening we are going to proceed to the next step in Paul's "proof" of his thesis: the record of "promise" in the next generation. Isaac was "the son of promise", born after all hope of human manipulation was gone. But, even though Isaac's wife was specifically chosen by God (this is the point of Genesis 24), she, like Sarah, was barren (Genesis 25:21). After Isaac prayed for her, she conceived twins and she was told not only that there were two children within her womb, but that "the elder shall serve the younger" (Genesis 25:23) [As far as the record goes, she never had any other children]. Now, anyone who reads the record of the life of "the younger" sees very clearly how deeply ingrained in "the flesh" is the intention of the middle issue of "the flesh": human manipulation to obtain an idolatrous end. But, in spite of this, Paul decided to press his case on the basis of Genesis 25:23. So, this evening we want to try to understand Paul's reason for bringing this part of Genesis into the picture.