As the Firstborn

A wonderful foreshadowing of Gospel delight appears in Genesis 48. Joseph has brought his two sons by an Egyptian wife to his father Jacob for the traditional blessing. These boys, Ephraim and Manasseh, are half-breeds, not fully of the lineage of Abraham, God's friend.

Their grandfather says the following:

5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

He has chosen to give them the same standing and favour as his first born. They have simply submitted themselves to his gracious blessing.

We are told in Romans 8 that we have been adopted and given the position of joint heirs with God's "firstborn", Jesus. He looks upon us with the same eyes of satisfaction and love which He casts upon His victorious obedient Son. This realization should free us from condemnation and any sense of feebleness.

We understand more clearly now Paul's triumphant declaration in 1 Corinthians 1:

27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29That no flesh should glory in his presence.

30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

31That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

One more thing to be added about Genesis 48. The grandfather places his hands upon the heads of the two boys while making the pronouncement, the right hand upon the younger and the left upon the older. Joseph attempts to correct this, according to a law of primogeniture, but Jacob remains firm in his decision. The child of mercy and not of law shall have the greater blessing. It is in the grandfather's sovereign discretion. He has crossed over his two arms in making the blessing as he has, foreshadowing the work of the Cross at Calvary.

(Painting by Benjamin West)


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