Gen. 48:1ff God’s Cross-Handed Blessing 6-22-14

Ruins. Genesis Studies

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Fellowship at Cross Creek
Gen. 48.1ff
God’s Cross-Handed Blessing

Intro… Ever been jealous of someone else’s blessing or good fortune or someone else’s seemingly good or better times? Wish it were you going on that trip, enjoying life’s greater joys and benefits? So why does God allow some to seemingly enjoy life better than others?

Bu then on the other hand, why in Scripture, does God so often choose the lessor to eventually become greater than the great–the younger twin Jacob over his brother Esau or his father-in-law, the wealthy Laban? The younger Joseph over his older brothers? The outcast Moses leading the fledging slave nation Israel out from under the heavy-handed yoke of Egyptian oppression? The young shepherd David over his brothers, as well as, the Philistine Goliath and King Saul? The young prophet Daniel’s influence within the Babylonian empire? Esther within the Persian empire? The baby Jesus over Herod the Great? The one “unusually-born,” Paul, being chosen by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles over the rest of the original apostles? God’s choice of the “foolish” over the “wise” to believe, embrace and receive the rich rewards of the cross’ foolishness (1 Cor. 1-2)? Or an infant church eventually triumphing over the mighty Roman empire?

And if God does choose to bless the lessor over the greater, is that blessing an overnight occurrence and if so, why?

Seemingly, Joseph’s brothers for a time had it much better than Joseph. Then Joseph had it much better than his brothers. Then Joseph saves his brothers, but not without some accountability. Then Joseph is vastly rewarded over his brothers. So even if Joseph’s life is a partial template for us as believers, what then do we learn from viewing others’ seeming good fortune while we apparently are unjustly suffering?

And haven’t you noticed that time has a way of leveling things out or even reversing fortunes, if we will only give things long enough time to be fully played out? Therefore, be thankful for what you have–good or bad, up or down…because odds are–it will change.

DO NOT COMPARE! God is a just, merciful God, even if his justice is delayed—it will never be denied. And yet, on the other hand, who, of any of us, wants true justice? I certainly do not. I want mercy. Perhaps justice compared to someone else… But do I, cloaked within a flawed self-interpretation of my own personal righteousness and evil, want to risk this kind of judicial measurement? Hardly.

Be merciful to me, LORD. Give me grace to handle and endure the difficult, if indeed, by enduring it, I bring you greater glory–but always mercy, Lord. Always, mercy. Your mercy is my only salvation. My  only hope. Man’s only hope.

So how does one wait and hope when life doesn’t seem fair? God. God has to be my salvation in the moment. God is the eternal constant that allows men, despite seeming injustice, to wait in peace for many years. Our tendency…man’s tendency is now. God’s… life’s… is much more elongated. God’s children are called to be turtles, not rabbits. Why is this so? Why does the race go to the tortoise and NOT to the hare? 1) Because, despite there being a place for both at times, when one gets the roles mixed up–being the hare when life requires being the tortoise, or being the tortoise when life requires being the hare–one fails, and 2) because life’s complexity demands lots of patient learning along the way, in time, despite the hare’s large initial lead, the race tends to go back in the tortoise’s favor because, as opposed to quick decision-making and often discouraged hare, the tortoise slows down long enough to learn from its mistakes and in the end, does not quit.  It is the tortoise’s steadfast Spiritual endurance fed by hope, love, trust, obedience and discipline that wins the day.

God, be my treasure in the moment when I am tempted to covet someone else’s momentary pleasures. Teach me to be the Spiritual turtle. Stretch out my endurance.

Your servant,

Recently, we began a new unit or section or person of, study…the life of Joseph. Essentially, the story of Joseph, is for the most part, our story. Chosen by God for a special purpose, Joseph must first endure much suffering and injustice before arriving at his God-ordained purpose and calling, and what a purpose it will be.

As we read, I want you to continue pondering, your special identity in Christ, and that just because you may be going through difficult days, your suffering…your waiting is NOT in vain. As God’s child…as God’s children, just as with Joseph and his brothers, you…we…all have a purpose in Christ (Romans 8; Eph. 1; 1 Peter 1).

Series INTRO…

The Bible’s very first word is the Hebrew word Bərēšīṯ, which means “in [the] beginning.” “Genesis” is actually the Greek word for “beginnings” or “origins,” and thus the origin for both the Latin and English transliteration: Genesis.

So what’s our goal? Just to explore. Like an archaeologist exploring ancient ruins, we are going back to the Scripture’s beginnings to do a little Spiritual digging and poking around to see what was God doing before God’s Son was Spiritually conceived in his mother Mary’s womb? What were the world, people and life like from the very beginning?

Summary of Recent Explorations…

 The Creation: The Creator Creates His Creation and its Caretakers (Adam and Eve). Gen. 1-2.

• The Fall: But a Crafty Adversary Emerges, Infecting the Creator’s Caretakers with a Virulent Strain of Deceptive Evil (non-beneficial actions). Gen. 3-4.

• The Flood: The story of the righteous Servant and a devastating Flood.  In order to Save his Creation from a self-destructive and merciless evil, the Creator Must radically purge or cleanse his Creation Gen. 5-7.

• Creation’s New Beginning…Gen. 8-11.

• Creation’s New Caretaker: The Creator Raises up, Chooses and Greatly Blesses a righteous and trusting Caretaker named Abraham. Gen. 12-25.

• The Torch of the Creator’s Trusting Caretaking Now Passes to Succeeding Generations (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph…) Gen. 26ff.

Joseph’s Story…Gen. 37-50.

• Jacob’s older sons grow deeply resentful of their favored youngest brother, Joseph. Gen. 37:1ff.

• Joseph’s jealous older brothers cruelly sell their younger brother Joseph, against his will, into slavery, and then inform their grieving father, Jacob, that Joseph has been killed by wild animals. Gen. 37:12ff.

• Despite being trafficked as a slave and falsely imprisoned, God’s favor mysteriously still accompanies Joseph. Gen. 39:1ff.

• Despite correctly interpreting the baker and cupbearer’s dreams while in prison, Joseph’s good deeds, go momentarily unrewarded. Gen. 40:1ff.

• When Pharaoh’s cupbearer recalls how Joseph correctly interpreted his dream of restoration to Pharaoh’s court while he was imprisoned along side Joseph, he recommends Joseph to Pharaoh to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. When Joseph is able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream correctly, as seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, Joseph is finally delivered from his false imprisonment. Gen. 41:1ff.

• Pharaoh empowers Joseph to guide Egypt through these next fourteen years of plenty and famine. Gen. 41:38ff.

• Due to the famine, Joseph’s brothers, come to Egypt in search of grain. Unknowingly, the Egyptian ruler that they seek to purchase grain from is their younger brother Joseph. Sensing a divine plan, Joseph accuses his brothers of spying and forces them to leave their brother Simeon behind as surety that they will return with their youngest brother Benjamin. Gen. 42:1ff.

• When Jacob’s sons tell him of the bargain that they were forced to accept for their grain, Jacob initially refuses to risk losing a third son. Gen. 42:19ff.

• Finally, with grain supplies running low, Joseph’s brothers are able to persuade their father to allow them to return to Egypt, accompanied by their youngest brother, Benjamin, to purchase more grain. Their return to Egypt with Benjamin is rewarded with a great banquet held in their honor in the presence of the Egyptian ruler whom had originally sold them the grain. Gen. 43:1ff.

• Once again, the brothers have their departure from Egypt momentarily aborted under the false pretenses that one of them has stolen a silver cup. When the missing cup is found in Benjamin’s sack, his older brother Judah now offers himself to serve in Benjamin’s place in order that Benjamin might return home safely to their father. Gen. 44:1ff.

• When he can no longer contain his pent-up emotions, Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, warning them of the famine’s severity and their need to return here with their father to live in the shadow of Egypt’s great providence. Gen. 45:1ff.

• Pharaoh offers the children of Israel the best that Egypt has to offer. Gen. 45:16ff.

• With God’s blessing Israel takes his entire family to Egypt, where he is reunited with his son Joseph and settles down in the land of Goshen to care for their flocks. Gen. 46:1ff.

• That while Israel even blesses Pharaoh for granting Israel and his sons’ request to settle down and graze their flocks in the rich lands of Goshen, Israel, close to his death, still makes his son Joseph promise him that he will not bury his body here in Egypt, but with his fathers back in Israel’s Promised Lands. Gen. 47:1-12; 27-31.

Joseph very shrewdly, through the selling of the grain that he had stored up during the years of abundant harvests, ends up not only saving many lives from starvation, but in the process also solidifies the Pharaoh’s great wealth and the region’s political stability. Gen. 47:13-26.

Pray; read three times (perhaps just twice) and ask questions…

48:1 Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him.

2 When it was told to Jacob, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed.

3 Then Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me,

Was this the famous Jacob’s ladder-of-angels’ blessing that took place as Jacob was fleeing from his brother’s jealous anger and leaving Canaan to secure a wife from his mother’s family back in Haran?

4 and He said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.’

Two thirds of the Abrahamic Covenant? The only provision missing here is “you will be a blessing,” but the people and land aspects are present.

5 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.

Jacob or Israel is adopting these two grandsons as his own sons. Why? Joseph didn’t ask for this. Was this implied in Joseph bringing his sons to his father? Was Joseph asking for what amounts to the oldest son’s share since the oldest son was entitled to twice the inheritance of his younger siblings? Wasn’t this what a famished Esau sold to Jacob for a bowl of stew—his birthrights? Is there some connection here to Jacob’s having mentioned the Abrahamic Covenant in the previous verse—the blessing which he deceived his father Isaac out of when he portrayed himself as Esau?

6 But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance.

So in adopting Joseph’s two sons, where does that leave Joseph? Is his sonship spread out over his two sons who have now become Israel’s two son? In other words, Jacob now has two more sons…two sons that have replaced Joseph?

7 Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”

Where the Messiah is to be born according to the OT prophet Micah, and where Jesus (Yah-Saves) will be born almost two millennium after Rachel is buried there.

8 When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?”

So, in the earlier verses, are we to understand that an inspired Jacob was declaring his legal adoption of Joseph’s two sons without even knowing that they were in the room?

9 Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” So he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.”

10 Now the eyes of Israel were so dim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them.

11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.”

An amazing occurrence! One really never knows, does one?

12 Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground.

Are they still that young to be sitting on Joseph’s knees? So Joseph, the second most powerful man in Egypt and perhaps the world, with his sons—now covenant brothers–bows before his father. There is something special about this…special and perhaps Spiritually symbolic—is this what happens to those who trust the Son’s atonement and therefore become God’s adopted sons?


Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph; Rembrandt; 1656.

13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him.

14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn.

Why the switcheroo or the cross-handed blessing? Reminiscent of God’s choosing the older Esau to serve his younger twin Jacob while still in the womb. Once again, for some reason, God, through Jacob, chooses the later.

15 He blessed Joseph, and said,
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,

Here for perhaps the first time, one of the great ancient shepherds of the ancient world now refers to God as his shepherd, implying that Jacob is the sheep.

16 The angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
And may my name live on in them,
And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

So is Jacob referring to God as “the angel of the LORD”—the angel or God whom he wrestled with and who has guided and protected him as a shepherd would guide and protect his sheep…as Jacob shepherded his many sheep all these many years?

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.

Is this a case of someone as righteous momentarily NOT getting God’s plan because like all of us, Joseph was predisposed to culture and tradition’s established structure…that the oldest would get the right-handed blessing from the family’s patriarch—not the youngest?

18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.”

19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”

Once again, very similar to Jacob, the younger brother, and Esau, the older brother’s blessings. Both were blessed greatly, but the much greater blessing was bestowed upon Jacob.

Jacob blessing sons Limborch

Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph, begun by Adriaen van der Werff and finished by Henrik van Limborch; 1722-1728.

20 He blessed them that day, saying,
“By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying,
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!'”

Because Ephraim and Manasseh will be great tribes with the nation of Israel?

Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.

21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers.

So Joseph will be brought back home even as Jacob’s body will be carried back to the Promise Land to be buried with his fathers?

22 I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”

The oldest son’s blessing has been transferred from Reuben to Joseph through his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.






• When Joseph hears that his father is sick and dying, Joseph brings his two sons to his father, and in the process, Jacob legally adopts Joseph’s first two sons. Joseph’s first two sons will be Jacob’s sons. The someday-nation of Israel has just between expanded by one son and therefore one extra tribe. As opposed to 12 sons and 12 tribes, now there will be 13 sons and 13 tribes. Of course, the tribe of Levi, the priestly assistants, will be given cities throughout the Promise Land, leaving only 12 tribes for the land to be divided among…and thus the 12 tribes of Israel.

• When Jacob realizes that Joseph’s sons are with him, he reaches out his hands to bless them, but in doing so, he crosses his hands, blessing the younger son the blessing typically reserved for the older son and the older son the blessing typically reserved for the younger son.

• When Joseph sees this, in vain he attempts to correct his father, but Jacob is adamant. Both will greatly blessed, but Ephraim is to have the greater blessing.

• Jacob then prophesies to Joseph that he too will be buried with his fathers back in the Promise Land.

• Jacob then confirms that indeed Joseph is receiving the double portion inheritance reserved for the oldest son. Just as Joseph’s father, Israel, who was not the oldest son (by seconds perhaps as he came out holding the ankle of his twin brother Esau) became Isaac’s oldest son, so now Joseph, who was NOT Israel’s oldest son, now becomes the oldest son.

Summary: Jacob shortly before his death adopts Joseph’s two oldest sons, thereby making Joseph his father’s oldest son and thus, through his own two sons, receiving the oldest son’s future double inheritance rights—in this case, two sets of tribal lands within the Promise Land.

Why did God include this event in his record or what would we not know–about God, life, myself, others, etc.–if this story were not in the Bible?

• This story sets up how the descendants of Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will receive such large parcels of land when the children of Israel return to their ancestors’ Promise Land almost five centuries later.

• This story also demonstrates how, much like Joseph, most of us tend to think in preconceived or already existing structures. For example, tradition had established that the oldest son received double the inheritance of his siblings. But already, with both Jacob and Esau, and now with Ephraim and Manasseh, God has twice decide to upset perhaps thousands of years of tradition by choosing to bless a younger son over an the oldest son with a greater blessing or share of their father’s inheritance. What’s the significance to all of this? As Paul writes in 1 Cor. 1-2, God tends to bless the lesser over the greater…or choose the lesser over the greater? Why is this? Glory. As an active-involved Creator and shepherd, as Jacob describes within his blessing, if God upsets the apple cart, and blesses the lesser or weaker, mankind must ask what was the difference? Why the younger or lesser succeed over the older or greater? The answer is: God. Greater, by definition, is greater than lesser. Sounds redundant, right? But here is the twist. God plus the lesser is greater than the greater. That’s worship. That’s the difference. Man was made only to succeed with the help of his Creator. While men can often be very successful, or seemingly so, at least for a time, only through or with God, can man be ultimately successful. Only through God does man achieve is ultimate aim or goal, everlasting life–life beyond this corrupted existence. This was Joseph’s story. This was Jacob’s story and Abraham’s story. This was Noah’s story and Enoch’s story. This is man’s story. Without his Creator, man is a failure. With his Creator, man triumphs, even the lowliest of born men, even the poor and the destitute. The greatest Pharaoh, emperor or king, without God, is a tragic failure of the human soul. But even a forgotten, misjudged inmate, such as Joseph, with God, is the ultimate triumph. And according to Jesus (John 3, 10) that promise is open to every man, and thus a portion of Christianity’s true genius—it was open to every man, even the lowly slaves of the Roman Empire…even the African-American slaves of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Through the belief or trust in the One who saves men from their sins…Yah-Saves…Jesus (Matt. 1:21)…the door to God and heaven is open to every human being on the planet. Amazing. And heaven is a place where the earthly weak become heaven’s strong.

• This passage also contains great word pictures which foreshadows the Son’s intercession on behalf of his brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ. First, the son, Joseph, one the greatest figures in the ancient world, bows to his shepherd-father, demonstrating that despite his greatness, Joseph submitted his glory and honor before his father. Though the son was greater than his father in his authority over Egypt and all who lived under Egypt’s shadow, the son, the lesser, chooses to bow before his father, the greater. In our case, the Son submits to the Father and obeys the Father’s command to come, live, suffer, die and be resurrected in order to atone for mankind’s imperfection…that through faith in the Son, mankind would again be made holy, sacred, ritually clean and pure…forgiven from all sin…and allowed to be in the presence of a holy, righteous, all-powerful and perfect Creator without fear of being judged, condemned and destroyed by God’s holy judgment. And secondly, that we are with the Son, now becoming sons of God, along with the Son, our father, who gave his life for us. We, his children, are now adopted by the father. We are brothers and therefore heirs with Christ (1 Peter 1). While Jesus is the bowed- Joseph, we, his faithful sons, are the adopted and richly blessed Ephraim and Manasseh.

So What?

Thanks… Another very blessed week, although I think I might have survived by the skin of my teeth. Rhonda and I felt we had to fit in a trip to see our mothers on Friday and Saturday, and while both visits, though short, were fruitful and a blessing, it really challenged me being ready for Sunday. I had decided I would build a bridge from the previous Sunday’s teaching on our significance and safety being in Christ’s atonement for our sin (Mark 10:35-45) to its very real, daily application over a bridge I had recently discovered.

My illustration bridge was a risk, and I may have gotten away with it. I hope so. For some, I am sure it was perhaps too abstract. It involved my discovering, quite by accident, through Google Maps, that an entrance into a national park I visited with my family sixteen years ago was actually turned more than ninety degrees from how I remembered it. In other words, what I thought was north at the time, turned out to be west and what I thought was west turned out to be south. Now to most, this would be no big deal. Who cares? But for me, for some reason, my memory seems to crave context, including spatial context. I not only remember events, I remember wheres, and wheres depend upon direction. I watch golf tournaments while looking at a Google map of the course layout online. When a news event or tragedy happens, I look the place up within the online map. Perhaps it’s an extra device by which my brain stores information. When I counsel people, I can remember where I was when I told them something significant decades later. My brain, mind, memory craves context, and spatial context is just another way I do this. In other words, Google Maps, along with its Street View was made for me. Through Google Maps, I have driven by or through many places or cities I will only hope to see someday.

When I discovered my memory error and then tried to correct it within my mind, my mind would just go blank. You see, I had learned something one way, when the cement was wet, but now the cement was dry, it was difficult to turn that intersection at least ninety degrees in my mind. So I began walking around my house again and again, attempting to retrace and therefore rebuild a new memory of driving from our campground to the national park, and yet despite attempting to do this fifty times or more, my mind still checks out. And if that wasn’t enough, it turns out that I had done something very similar with the direction of my house. It turns that back of my house does not point true north as I had learned it, but northeast. This time I was only off roughly 45 degrees, but I was still off.

Besides trying to retrain my flawed directional viewpoint, why is this so important? Because of my flawed Spiritual directional viewpoint. You see life can and often does threaten me. It’s instinct and human nature. But Paul writes that because of God’s great mercy, we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. And how are we to do this? By no longer being shaped by the world, but to be changed in our thinking by the renewing of our mind so that we can discern what the good will of God is, and in doing this, this is our Spiritual act of worship. This is how we worship God. So if his word says that my value and safety (Mark 10:35ff) is not based on people, places or things, but instead that God loved me enough to offer his life as atonement for my sin, then not only do I have eternal value in the eyes of heaven, but I am eternally safe. No one can take this away from me! I am not only valuable, but I’m valuable forever.

Application: When the world and life’s circumstances threaten my value and security, I but only need to go and get an immediate drink of water of God’s truth—Christ died for me, thus I am safe and significant. End of story. Peace, instead of threat. I have worshiped. I chosen NOT to be shaped by the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

So when we had constructed our Romans 12:1-2 bridge from our insecurity and lack of value to eternal security and safety, I asked the Body for illustrations. I received three wonderful stories. One brother had used significance and safety to pass his job re-certification; another sister, because of her constant struggles with her perception of her mother’s seeming lack of value of her, she turned on the spigots of God’s significance and safety full bore. Flood the room. And finally, another sister, chose to rethink and cement her value and choice in Christ’s value and choice of her when she was repeatedly chosen last for athletic competitions. Thus, it no longer mattered when, if and by whom she was chosen. She had already been chosen first by God.

Even if, admittedly, my bridge was perhaps too abstract, those illustrations at the end nailed what I was trying to accomplish, thus I think I once again, by the grace of God, skated, though having fulfilled another very important obligation. Thanks, God.

Struggle(s)… A lot a lot a lot to do…over the next three weeks. Taneycomo Festival Orchestra will be using our church three times over the next two weeks—two public concerts, in addition to feeding the orchestra and their host families this next Sunday evening; Rhonda’s family comes in for most of next week while Rhonda is working, no doubt leaving me to be the primary entertainer, which I am fine with…I just need to get my other work done…and with grace; an out-of-town wedding rehearsal and wedding this week; preparing for my Father’s Day teaching this Sunday; our Color Run for Christ, the next Sunday (although I won’t have much to do with this—just make sure photos of the event get taken); teaching and LC lessons the next two Sundays; pastoral counseling and follow-up sessions; mowing the church grounds in between all the rains; finding a way to catch up with Jesus’ words on the Story of Sin within my blog; doing whatever Shelly tells me to do with respect to publishing Sustainable Love.

In the midst of this, there is a ton of sporting events taking place that I am interested in—the NBA Finals; soccer’s World Cup begins; the College Baseball World Series in Omaha, NE and the U. S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

Pinehurst is the site of where former local golfing great, Payne Stewart, won his second and last U. S. Open in 1999. What makes this significant, at least for me, is not just how Payne won, which was indeed special, but after making his winning putt on the last hole, Payne takes into his hands the face of his younger and very fierce competitor, Phil Mickleson, and tells him, “You are going to be a daddy”! Though contending for the U.S. Open, even up until Payne’s last winning shot, Phil had been prepared at any moment to sacrifice his winning of the tournament in order to rush back home and be beside his wife for the birth of their first child. Indeed, Phil would be with Amy the next day for the birth of their first child, and Phil would go on to win many more golf tournaments, including several majors, as well as, finishing as runner up in the U. S. Open five more times. Payne, a strong Christian, on the other hand, would die four months later when his jet plane’s cabin pressure decompressed, killing all aboard and then crashed into a field after running out of fuel. His televised funeral was Spiritually very uplifting, glorifying to Christ and deeply moving.

Now Phil, with a chance to fulfill a destiny of sorts, returns to the site of that epic U. S. Open on one of the greatest and oldest courses in the world–one that has been restored to its 1940s historical landscaping. I sure would like to see some of that chance at destiny. I am sure I will record, but will I have much time to watch it? I hope so.

By God’s grace…and God’s grace only, I will have to be incredibly shrewd and Spiritually efficient for the next three weeks. Then perhaps, I will try to take some time off with Rhonda when she is finally out of school for the month. Three weeks. Focus. Dedication. Prayer. Focus. Dedication. Prayer.

Truth(s)… 1) How simple events such as the cross-handed blessing of two sons by their blind grandfather ends up shaping the course of Israel’s history; 2) to be inspired of God to think outside of my or man’s preconceived traditional life boxes or structures in order to swim in the larger ocean of God’s unconventional choices and actions, including the choosing to bless the weaker over the stronger in order to demonstrate to his Creation, that only through his Creator is man’s salvation; 3) sitting on the Son’s knee, we are the youngsters Ephraim and Manasseh, while the Son bows before his Father. Through the Son we too have also been adopted as sons of God, and as such will receive a great inheritance.

Application… Through the Son of the Father, I/we are incredibly blessed. Also, be aware of the grandfather’s cross-handed blessing. Don’t fight it. Accept it. In other words, see, accept blessing I was not anticipating and from a direction I was not expecting. Perhaps in the midst of this seemingly jammed-pack and seemingly structured next several weeks, God wants to bless me in ways I would not necessarily see coming. Can I be aware of it? Can I accept it? Can I NOT fight it? Can I see it? As Ephraim or Manasseh can I allow my grandfather to adopt me as his son and bless more abundantly than I could imagine—the cross-handed blessing… or adoption. I sure hope so.

Your application:

Biggest Struggle at the moment:

How does what happen here relate to you?

What about your kids?

Biggest Struggles (Imagine these or several–put yourself in their shoes–walk through a day with them at school, at home. What might they encounter?)

Now how does what happen here possibly relate/ (Remember this is only to give you a feel or an introductory hook or a reinforcing took; in there looking, they may come up with something entirely different.)

Remember to have fun, sense the Spirit’s leading and develop a love for these kids.

As always, thanks!

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968,1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.” (

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