Scripture: Genesis 48:14 But Israel (Joseph’s father also known as “Jacob”) stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 He blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 16 the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys; and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.” 17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” 19 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.”
Observation: All this blessing of older son vs. younger son business would have meant a great deal to the original hearers of this story, but in our day it doesn’t translate well mostly because we don’t have the same inheritance customs. Yet, there is something for us here nonetheless. In the Kingdom of God, things are often reversed. Jesus often says things like, “The first will be last, and the last will be first”. Or “The greatest among you will be as a servant to all”. Stuff like that. We also see God regularly using unexpected people to do great things in his name.
Application: I marvel at how God has chosen to use me for his purposes, despite the fact I did not grow up in the church. There’s nothing about my upbringing or family history or personal conduct as a young man that would qualify me as a pastor. But God chose me anyway and I’m eternally grateful. God does this sort of thing all the time. If you’re like most people, you think you’re nothing special and that God couldn’t possibly use you in any significant way to advance his Kingdom. And you’d be wrong. In fact, I’m guessing God is trying to do something through you right now, but you’re resisting his lead. Not because you doubt the Lord, but because you doubt yourself. Here’s the deal. Get over yourself. Because it’s not about you. God can take what little you bring to the table, add a boatload of grace, and change the world. It’s true. Which leads me to a question:
Where are you resisting God’s prompting to do something important in his name? When I say “important” that doesn’t mean it has to be big or flashy. God does many things completely under the radar. Small things are great in the Kingdom of God. What would it look like for you to get over your insecurity, give God the benefit of the doubt, and do what you’re being led to do? In the immortal words of Nike – Just Do It!!
Prayer: Lord this morning we open ourselves to be used by you in ways large and small. We know we cannot do anything of significance on our own, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Give us grace to suspend our doubt long enough to let you do a work in us. Today. Right now. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.