Hebrews 11:21, Genesis 48:1-22
There are certain facts that we know about the culture during the times that we have been studying. One of the facts is that birth order was very important. The firstborn son received the majority of the inheritance, and also received the blessing from the father. Yesterday, I focused on the blessing of Jacob, which was backwards since he was not the firstborn. Today, we get to see how God, once again put the younger over the older. I actually find it interesting that it seems to become a family history.
Jacob received Isaac’s blessing and had many sons. The son that Jacob favored was not his oldest son, Reuben; however, it was his second youngest son, Joseph. While Joseph’s story is full of many applications for us today, that is not our focus for this particular post. My focus is on Manasseh’s and Ephraim’s blessing. Hebrews 11:21 says, “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.” Please read the account in Genesis 48.
We are not told why Jacob felt that Ephraim would be placed above Manasseh, but Jacob seemed to understand that was how God would have it. During the moment of blessing, Jacob gave instructions to Joseph about his inheritance. It is an inheritance that Jacob never even claimed for himself, yet he continued to trust God at His word. He told Joseph about a particular plot of land that he would receive as his inheritance in the land of Canaan. In Joshua 16, we read that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh did, in fact, receive that land as their inheritance. Jacob trusted God completely, to the point of naming which son would receive a certain part of the land. I love that!
Joseph’s initial reaction makes me think of how often I try to control my children’s futures, when I need to remember that they are really in God’s hands. Just as God had plans for the Ephraim and Manasseh, He has plans for us today. He knows us so well, that He knows what will be best for us. He also has plans for our children. No matter how much we may want our child to become the next great neurosurgeon, or the next president of the United States, God knows what would be best and we need to trust Him. The knowledge that God knows best enables us to be better parents to our children because they no longer need to live up to our expectations, but they can be guided by God’s wisdom. We are being used by God to help shape them and learn to grow in their faith.
Do you pray for wisdom and guidance from God as you raise your children?