Sunday, July 27, 2008

Humanity in Sin Part 57: Jacob Blessed Joseph’s Two Sons

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong on 15th June 2008 in Newton Life. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: Genesis 48

Joseph never forgot about being filial after he became the prime minister. When he heard that his father was sick, he brought his two sons before Jacob. Jacob considered Manasseh and Ephraim his sons and the rest of Joseph’s sons after that would be his own, so Joseph received double portion of his inheritance. So Manasseh and Ephraim became two new tribes of Israel. The tribe of Dan was missing in the book of Revelation. It was because this tribe worshipped idol and was expelled from the tribes of Israel.

Jacob specially loved Joseph so he established Joseph above all his other sons. Joseph put his elder son Manasseh on the right side of Jacob, and the second son Ephraim on his left side. But Jacob crossed his arms so that he blessed Manasseh with his left hand and Ephraim with his right hand. Joseph was not pleased and tried to correct his father, but Jacob said he knew what he was doing, and would indeed bless the younger son more.

Human beings tend to follow natural status to make decision. But God’s plan often transcends the will of man. Jacob experienced that for himself. Esau was the firstborn son of Isaac, but God blessed Jacob. Instead of just following the natural law, Jacob wanted to bless whom God wanted to bless. Joseph was not able to see God’s sovereign will pertaining to his sons. Based natural law, it should be Reuben who received double portion of the inheritance. But based on God’s guidance, Joseph received it although he was the 11th son. God’s sovereignty was above our freewill.

We need to learn to open our heart to His ways that are above our ways. If God wants Ephraim to be ahead of Manasseh, in the position of Joseph we cannot interfere. If God wants the younger to overtake the older one, we have to submit. His authority cannot be surpassed by any other authority.

God never forbid us to have the desire to do great things. The Lord Jesus said that if we want to be great, we need to become a servant of all.


At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthodoxy ?

The following was quoted from Heretics (G.K.Chesterton, 1905)
Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word "orthodox." In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled against them; they had rebelled against him. The armies with their cruel security, the kings with their cold faces, the decorous processes of State, the reasonable processes of law--all these like sheep had gone astray. The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man; he was a church. He was the centre of the universe; it was round him that the stars swung. All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical. But a few modern phrases have made him boast of it. He says, with a conscious laugh, "I suppose I am very heretical," and looks round for applause. The word "heresy" not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word "orthodoxy" not only no longer means being right; it practically means being wrong. All this can mean one thing, and one thing only. It means that people care less for whether they are philosophically right. For obviously a man ought to confess himself crazy before he confesses himself heretical. The Bohemian, with a red tie, ought to pique himself on his orthodoxy. The dynamiter, laying a bomb, ought to feel that, whatever else he is, at least he is orthodox.


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