I still remember the moment I first read today’s passage of scripture. Actually I had read it several times before, but never had I realized what it had to say. It was as if scales had been removed from my eyes and God was speaking directly to me.
Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah. He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” (Gen 41:45-46, 50-52)
What’s so amazing about that passage? To me it is the names Joseph gave to his two sons:
- “Manasseh” – (God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.)
- “Ephraim” – (God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.)
When Jesus healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, He asked the man an amazing question – “Wilt thou be made whole?” “Will I? Why wouldn’t I?”, the man might have responded. Yet there are some people in life who have a hard time letting God heal them. For some strange reason, sometimes we want to hold on to things that have hurt us. We want to hold on to a painful memory or angry feelings rather than let the Lord help us forgive, forget and become fruitful.
Joseph not only allowed the Lord to remove angry feelings towards his family, he also allowed the Lord to remove angry feelings about his circumstances. “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief”, Joseph named his son. We might say that Joseph embraced God’s will for his life.
I have often thought about how every-time Joseph said the name Manasseh or Ephraim, he was reminded of God’s goodness, even during times of difficulty. What about you? Have you allowed the Lord to give you a Manasseh experience? Have you allowed the Lord to help you forgive and forget? Do you need an Ephraim perspective of your present situation? Do you need to allow the Lord to make you fruitful in the land of your grief?
We’ll talk more about this tomorrow. If you need to talk with someone about some needs in your life, you can email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org