God Does Not Bow To Convention


When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Mannasseh’s head. And Joseph said to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” Genesis 48:17-19

         One of the reasons men try to control religion, right down to the nitty gritty of a church service, is a basic distrust of God. He is unpredictable. We say we want the Holy Spirit to come and have His way but do we really? He does things His way and what in the world would happen if we relinquished the reins? By holding on tightly, we forfeit God’s blessing.

         Mannaseh was Joseph’s firstborn, the heir to the firstborn’s blessing. But Jacob perceived that God wanted something different when he went to pronounce a final blessing on the two brothers. God intended to bless the younger over the older. History would reveal that Jacob heard God correctly. After the exodus, Ephraim became the leading tribe in the Northern Kingdom, much superior to the tribe of Mannasseh. Oh, but how Jacob’s spiritual hunch offended Joseph!

         God does not exalt whom we think he should. He is full of surprises as he chooses the overlooked, the weak, the average, the unsuspecting. Talent does not impress him. Stature in the eyes of men and family don’t weigh in the decision either. God looks at the heart and if that heart has an inclination toward humility and utter dependence on God, that qualifies him for spiritual greatness. Why should Joseph have been surprised? He, himself, was in fact, far removed from the firstborn.

         I’m reminded again this morning that I dare not live off of my knees. I cannot guess what God wants. I am to bless whom He blesses and withhold when He withholds. Who am I affirming today that may be far from God’s blessing? Perhaps I’m impressed by their talents and charisma. And, whom would God have me encourage? That person might be unnoticed, living outside of the spotlight. It’s the ‘David’ who tends sheep; the one the family has all but waved off as insignificant.

Align me to Your purposes. I forfeit my logic and declare that it is flawed. Amen

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