As I pointed out in the previous post, Jack Kilcrease has written an interesting post about God’s choice of the weak over the strong in the OT—e.g. Jacob over Esau—and this being a key fact in understanding the doctrine of election. Well worth reading and munching on.
Having munched, this thought presented itself to me concerning God’s choice of the younger over the older. There’s another fairly consistent theme in the OT as well.
More often than not, the younger has some obvious character flaw: Jacob, Joseph and Moses spring to mind (Abel is a counter-example, I suppose). No one but no one can say that Jacob was chosen because he was such a good and godly guy, or that Joseph was such an obvious candidate for the Lord’s service. The one thing that distinguishes Moses favourably is that fact that he at least realised that he wasn’t exactly the prime candidate for God’s attentions.
This theme is played out in a very obvious way in the parable of the Prodigal. The degenerate immoral and fallen younger brother is chosen over the dutiful and worthy older brother. In the process of election and bestowal of grace, not only is the older-stronger/younger-weaker dynamic reversed, but so is that of virtue. Now it’s the older brother who is sulking outside, while the younger one is the one who humbles himself.
Which is precisely what happens with Israel and the Gentiles, obviously. The sinful Gentiles believe the Gospel while godly Israel is left sulking outside. Yet the Father goes out to seek and to persuade. And so Esau is reconciled to Jacob, the brothers receive Joseph’s blessing, Aaron assists Moses. And the remnant of Israel will return to the Lord.