Saturday, June 25, 2016

Genesis 48:18-20 -- On Changing Plans and Expectations

"And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh."
Genesis 48:18-20

Reading this today made me think of how we so often have everything worked out in our minds, the way we think that it should be.  In these verses, Joseph specifically sought the preferred blessing for his oldest son... such was the tradition, and he probably thought his dad was getting it wrong because of his poor eyesight (mentioned in verse 10).  So, he tries to correct him, and is in turn corrected.  Jacob (Israel) prophesies that the younger son, Ephraim, will be greater than the older son, Manasseh.

This switch has some impact on latter-day prophecies, but what I wanted to talk about is how sometimes with God, we have to change our expectations.  God's ways are often at odds with the way that we think things should be.  Maybe we don't get to keep the dream house.  Maybe we lose the job.  Maybe someone that we love dies.  Maybe we have health problems or other limitations in life that keep us from doing what we want to do.  Life changes, plans change, and sometimes there is nothing we can do about it.  And that's over and above things like who inherits the best blessing. :)  We're not all going to be able to be rich and famous and powerful, and really maybe none of the three.  Maybe we'll lose money, or a promotion, or a job, or even more because of someone else's bad decision.  Sometimes life goes great, but guaranteed: sometimes things that we care a *lot* about aren't going to always go the way we want them to.

Here's the thing though.  God knows what's what.  He guided Jacob's hands, and he can guide ours.  He can help us know what to choose and where to go, and how to recover from setbacks.  With him, no matter what the interim chapters seem to suggest, things always, always work out for good.  I realize that life isn't easy, and I am not trying to make light of anyone's difficulties.  But no matter how bad things are, this is God we're talking about.  He *can* help.

Today, let's remember, when things seems to be melting down, that it is all going to be okay.  Let's chill out a little bit, trust God, and consult with him about next steps.  Even if all we can do at the moment is not explode, that's still positive. :)  Let's help the people around us, and make a new plan with God that allows us to continue towards the promised land. :)

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