and now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of egypt before i came to you in egypt, are mine; ephraim and manasseh shall be mine, as reuben and simeon are. and the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. they shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. as for me, when i came from paddan, to my sorrow rachel died in the land of canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to ephrath, and i buried her there on the way to ephrath (that is, bethlehem).” [genesis 48:5-7]
at first glance, this passage seems strange and unfair, that jacob would just claim and take two of joseph’s children, but when we look at the grander scheme of the family, jacob is integrating joseph back into the family by including his two sons in the inheritance that God has promised them. adopting them into the family of God, he is (through this prophetic word), claiming them to be a part of God’s chosen people, and to be set apart for him. this is the most valuable gift he could have given to joseph, and to ephraim, and to manasseh. he is giving the promise of the very presence of God.
of course, there is a beautiful parallel for us modern gentiles! we also were once separated from God’s presence.
and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. [ephesians 2:1-3]
but God, in his mercy, through the precious blood of Christ his Son, has adopted us and integrated us into his own family.
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. in love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [ephesians 1:4-6]
and we are promised the same inheritance as the children of israel, the presence of the Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth!
in him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. [ephesians 1:11-12]
all of this lavish love is so that we might exist to the praise of his glory! so today, in the precious gift of the presence of God, bought by the precious blood of Christ our Redeemer, praise him for his mercy and grace! praise him for your adoption, for his choosing covenant love, for your eternal inheritance of life in Jesus Christ! we are eternally his!
see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. [1 john 3:1a]
~ arwen eastman