But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So Joseph lifted it to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. “No, my father,” he said. “This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”
But his father refused. “I know, my son; I know,” he replied. “Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.” Genesis 48:17-19 (NLT)
One of the things I find fascinating about reading through God’s Message again and again is the discovery of themes and patterns throughout. The fact that we are reading through a compilation of disparate books, writings and letters that cover hundreds and thousands of years it is amazing to find themes emerge.
“…but his younger brother will become greater.”
In the ancient days of Jacob, the culture and the laws greatly favored the first born son. Yet even in Genesis we find a pattern of the younger son being blessed in God’s economy:
- Joseph was blessed over his older brothers
- Jacob was blessed over Esau
- Isaac was blessed over Ishmael
- Abel’s sacrifice was accepted over Cain’s
Time and time again, God uses the weaker, lesser, less powerful and prestigious for His divine purposes:
- Peter, a headstrong fisherman became the “rock” on which Jesus’ church was founded
- Jesus chose simple, uneducated men from the sticks to be his disciples
- God’s messenger, John the Baptist, lived like a hermit in the wilderness
- God’s own Son was born to a poor girl from a backwater town inside a stable
- Solomon, Israel’s greatest king was a younger son of David’s
- David was the youngest of his father’s sons, but called “a man after God’s heart” and God chose the boy David over the strapping, handsome choice of the people: Saul.
I could go on. The point is this: God continually chooses the foolish people of this world to confound the wise; He uses the powerless to shame the powerful. Not one of us should think for a second that God could not or would not desire to use us to further His kingdom’s work on Earth.
I am not a Roman Catholic. Nevertheless, I love my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters and have a deep appreciation for the beauty of the Roman Catholic mass along with a fascination of its history. I, with the rest of the world, was enthralled to watch as the College of Cardinals chose their new leader this week. When I began to read and hear about the life story of Pope Francis I, I thought to myself that he sounded like a choice Jesus himself would have made. It was confirmed when I read the on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning:
Pope Francis Day One: In his first hours as leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, the pope paid his own hotel bill, took a bus, and called for renewal in the church.
- Pondering the Power of a Father (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- This Week: Brothers (spbiblestudy.wordpress.com)
- Let Your Eyes Look Straight Ahead, Fix Your Gaze Directly Before You (smritidisaac.wordpress.com)