Like Ephraim and Manasseh [Part 1]
Are you ready for some good news?
God has made you like Ephraim and Manasseh!
Today’s text: “And Israel 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).” (Genesis 48:14, ESV)
Today’s radio broadcast is part 1 of a message on perhaps the most remarkable gospel image in the Old Testament. It is a bizarre, breathtaking scene of the aged Jacob blessing the sons of Joseph. Please try to listen to the Ephraim and Manasseh message – it’s one of the most important I’ve every preached.
In Genesis 48, Jacob is dying. Hearing of his father’s imminent death, Joseph rushes to his father’s bedside so that Jacob can bless Joseph’s sons.
This is the conniving, striving Jacob finally realizing that his whole life is a testimony to the unmerited favor of God. He is the grandson of the man who was promised a nation only because of God’s sovereign grace. He is the younger son who worked for love his whole life not realizing until the end that he had been favored all along.
When the dying Jacob extended his hands to bless his grandsons, he did something shocking that was unnerving to the boys’ father Joseph. Joseph had properly place the older son, Manasseh, under the blind Jacob’s right hand and the younger, Ephraim, under the patriarch’s left hand. But “Israel [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” (Gen. 48:14).
Joseph tried to correct him, but Jacob refused. Jacob kept his hands crossed and said, “I know, my son, I know.” He was saying, essentially, I know what I’m doing, I’m putting the undeserving one in front of the deserving. I’m putting the unlikely one first. I’m showing blessing to the second born when I should be showing it to the firstborn.
It was a shadow. For, in the fullness of time, the Father would send His Son into the world. He was the firstborn of all creation who deserved only his father’s blessing. But, on the cross, the Father would cross his hands. The Father knew what he was doing. He was showing blessing to the undeserving second born – to you and to me. And that’s the gospel!
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