Lord, as I walk through this world, remind me that life is a privilege to be lived to the fullest in gratitude to You.
Read GENESIS 48:1-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, declares the Lord” (Isa. 55:8).
In many societies male firstborns are still favored in inheritance, education and succession. This pattern was the norm in ancient cultures, so deviating from it is given special attention in the story of Abraham and his offspring. Isaac is chosen over firstborn Ishmael, Jacob over his older twin Esau, Joseph over his older brothers, and now his younger son over the elder. Family disharmony, deception and favoritism play a large part. We may cry, “It’s not fair!” but God’s plan for his chosen family, who themselves did not deserve it (Deut. 7:7,8), was not based on fairness but on God’s sovereignty. At many critical points he guided human players toward his plan for the world’s salvation.
Joseph, recognizing his father’s impending death, took his two sons, who were by now young adults, for their farewells. The blessing was probably anticipated, but it took unexpected directions. First, Jacob adopted these two grandsons as his own sons, which explains the later inclusion of Manasseh and Ephraim as tribes of Israel, in effect giving Joseph a double inheritance. Then the birth order blessings were deliberately reversed, despite Joseph’s protestations. Both sons were promised greatness, but later history indicates that Ephraim did indeed rise to superior influence and prominence. “Ephraim” sometimes became a synonym — sadly, often pejorative — for the collective of tribes later forming the northern kingdom of Israel. Joseph’s name was not perpetuated in a tribe but he was promised the ridge of land Jacob had bought in Shechem after his brief reunion with Esau (33:18,19). It was nearly 500 years before this literally came to pass (Josh. 24:32) as a key element of God’s promise to the whole nation to return them to their own land.
Think of situations in your life where divinely ordered circumstances broke into your plans for the future. How did you respond? Thank God for his sovereign wisdom.
Loving Father, forgive me that I often rush into the day on my high horse, and ride off in all directions. Today, I first seek Your wisdom to guide me.
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