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Good Morning.

Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” (Genesis 41:50-52)

Throughout the story of Joseph’s sojourn in Egypt, the Biblical record indicates that Joseph remained faithful to the ways of his father. Though outwardly Egyptian, he never  abandoned the fact that he was seed of Abraham. To the best of his ability, he resisted being sucked into the Egyptian culture and mindset because, in his mind, it was the land of his affliction. The evidence also suggests that his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, conformed to his ideals and not those of Egypt. That would further suggest that his wife was agreeable to this as well and that is saying a lot considering she was the daughter of a pagan priest. In other words, he did not forget the ways of his ancestors but passed them on to his family. 

Still, there are those things that he chose to forget and he made that clear when he named his firstborn, Manasseh – which means “to forget.” According to his statement, God allowed him to forget the pain associated with the trials and hurt that he experienced in his father’s house. Obviously he didn’t forget Jacob, but apparently chose to put some things out of his mind, because to dwell on them caused too much pain. We might even say that God allowed him to forget the painful elements of his past so he could focus on the matters before him — preparing Egypt and the world for a global famine. 

It might also be that what Manasseh came to represent — forgetting the past — prompted Jacob to establish Ephraim, and not Manasseh, as the firstborn. Ephraim means “fruitful” in the plural sense of the word, and for a man of destiny such as Jacob, that was the future. He understood that the mission first given to Abraham and then passed on to him was to produce fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven. And so it is to be with us; we are to “forget what is behind … and press toward the mark” (Philippians 3:13-14) even as we  “remember” our spiritual heritage and the example set but our spiritual fathers (Malachi 4). Through our endurance and perseverance, the Father will cause fruit to abound in our lives that will, in turn, be a source of blessing for others. So let us be faithful to the call to be fruitful even in our affliction because, as the Messiah said, “By this my Father is glorified” (John 15:8).  

Blessings and Shalom,  

 

Bill  

 

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