Simply the Bible Blog

Daily Devotion and Podcast

Genesis 48 “Israel Blesses Joseph’s Sons”

“Then he blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked— the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm— may he bless these boys.’”

Genesis 48:15–16a (NLT)

Joseph had been the wonder boy. Everything he touched turned to gold. With wisdom and confidence, he administrated the food program for the Egyptians. He had executed his plan in bringing His father and brothers to Egypt where he had provided for them and all their families. But some things Joseph couldn’t control. He couldn’t control what his father would do, and he certainly couldn’t control what God would do.

Who’s to say what God will do? Truly, He works in mysterious ways. When Joseph visited his sick father and brought his two sons, he was not expecting what would happen next.

First, Jacob (Israel) adopted Joseph’s two sons as his own! Joseph received the birthright of the firstborn and therefore was given a double portion in Israel. This created thirteen tribes. When the people returned to Canaan, the land would be divided among twelve tribes, and the LORD would be Levi’s portion. As the priestly tribe, Levi would be scattered throughout Israel.

Second, Jacob switched the birth order of Joseph’s two sons. Manasseh was the firstborn son, and then Ephraim. But Israel put his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh, giving the right of the firstborn to Ephraim. Joseph objected, but this was God’s plan who would make the tribe of Ephraim greater in number than the tribe of Manasseh.

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

We don’t know God’s plan. We may not understand why God chooses one person over another. It is a mystery why God would choose us for salvation and eternal life. It certainly wasn’t because we deserved it! God is sovereign. He saw all of our days before one came to pass. He prepared works for us before the foundation of the world. We may feel that we are the master of our lives, but it is a delusion. He holds our breath and all of our ways in His hand. He orders our steps. He exalts one and humbles another. Rather than complaining or being envious, it is best to rest in His sovereign will and seek to fulfill His good purpose. He is your Good Shepherd and your Redeemer who rescues you from all harm. Therefore, trust in Him!

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