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When God Crosses His Arms
By Joel Osteen - Feb 09, 2018

Genesis 48 tells the story of Joseph, who was then the prime minister of Egypt, taking his two sons to see his father, Jacob, who was dying. Jacob surprised them by saying, "Joseph, I'm adopting Manasseh and Ephraim as my own sons. They will receive the same inheritance as my other sons." What's interesting is that these boys' mother was Egyptian, and her family was not of faith but of idolatry. And not only did Jacob not disqualify them because of who their mother was, but as grandsons, they should have had to wait a full generation to receive what Jacob was giving. Normally the blessing would come first to their father, and then Joseph would pass down this blessing and inheritance to them before his death. These boys were receiving the inheritance they didn't deserve at this time.



This is God showing us His character. You might think you are disqualified from God's blessings because you come from a family that doesn't worship Him. And you may have many reasons for why you don't deserve this, yet the apostle Paul says, "God has adopted us into His own family" (Ephesians 1:5). As Jacob did with Manasseh and Ephraim, God who is full of mercy says, "Despite your past, your mistakes, and what your family has done, I'm going to adopt you as My own sons, My own daughters."

Then Jacob called the sons of Joseph to his side to give them his blessing. In the Old Testament, the blessing of the father was very significant and revered. What the father spoke over the sons in his final days carried great weight and would affect the sons for the rest of their lives. As part of the tradition, the oldest son would receive a double portion that the father signified with his right hand. So Joseph put his firstborn, Manasseh, on Jacob's right side and Ephraim on his left. However, Jacob crossed his arms and put his right hand on the second born, Ephraim, and his left hand on Manasseh, then he spoke the blessing over them. When Joseph saw it, he said, "No, my Father, Manasseh is my firstborn." But Jacob responded, "I know what I'm doing. Manasseh will be great, but Ephraim will be greater. Multitudes of nations will come out of him."

This story shows that God doesn't always bless the way we expect. Ephraim wasn't next in line, wasn't qualified, and didn't deserve it, yet God bypassed all the tradition and did something extraordinary. God is showing how He can take those in the back, those who don't have the position, those who feel left out, and He puts them to the front. God loves to choose people whom others think are not qualified or deserving. Don't believe the lies that hold others back. God is about to cross His arms and put you in a position you can't earn, you don't qualify for, and for which you aren't next in line. You're about to come into unexpected favor, unexpected promotion, and unexpected breakthroughs!

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