“That in Isaac shall thy seed be called….
The Spirit gives any carful reader of the Scripture useful hints about God’s purpose that he may benefit from. The lives of patriarchs carry plenty of evidence that God is no respecter of persons. God loved Jacob but hated Esau (Ro.9:13) . St Paul while quoting this statement from Malachi, is trying to make a point of God’s sovereignty. He shall have mercy on whom he will. “…That he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy…even so, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (9:23-24).” Esau had no respect for birth right while Jacob had. Rebekkah carried in her womb two nations and yet God was particular to mention the younger son as heir to blessings. Ways of God are not same as that of man and according to his oath his blessings on Abraham were intended to redound to the glory of his mercy that evidently was for all families on the earth. In the immediacy of the nation of Israel on the making Isaac would respond to it more than Esau and his seed. Thus faith of Abraham carried soil in which Isaac and seed shall draw more than other nations. It was his prerogative as Sovereign Lord.
Mercy of God we see on the mark He laid on Cain and it ensured a safe passage in the world. Mercy overlooked his crime but his Righteousness demanded he paid the price. ‘From thy face shall I be hid (Ge.4:14)’ he confessed. The mark was a seal of his sovereignty to mercy on whom He will. Directly he fled from the presence of the Lord.
Mercy is Righteousness of God, his sovereignty over heaven and the earth. Faith on the other hand is altogether different. It is his virtue. In order to understand the difference we shall consider one of the miracles of Jesus. He was among a crush of people who went along to the house of the ruler of the synagogue. He suddenly turned around to say, ‘for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me (Lk.8:46).’ His followers could not see anything special but Jesus knew his virtue worked healing. Sure enough a woman who suffered for 12 years with the problem of issue of blood admitted she had indeed tapped on his virtue and her healing was the proof: Jesus attested that her faith had accomplished it. No one had told her touching the hem of his garment would heal her but faith prompted the cure. Faith is a virtue demonstrated by God. Jesus in delineating the Invisible God gives us an insight into the nature of his Father. The healing of the woman with blood issue was clear; besides 12 years inserted in the passage attests much more than the seemingly extraneous detail reveals. The number is a clue to the ministry of the Son of man. Whenever man approaches God through his Son it attests the parentage of faith. God framed the worlds by it (He.11:3).Faith like wind may not be evident to naked eyes but its effect shall elicit this reply of Jesus, “for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” God created worlds with the word, which is another clue indicating it as true.