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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.’ So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will bless, saying, “May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!” And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.’”—Genesis 48:17-22 (NKJV)
Things don’t always go our way. A dream, plan, or goals may end up broken and seemingly unredeemable. Sometimes, we’re impacted by the choices we made, and sometimes, we’re impacted by the choices others made. When a boss, a spouse, a relationship, or a business venture doesn’t work out, it can bring pain, challenges, and even changes in our plans.
Joseph had plans for his sons, yet his father switched the blessing over his grandsons. Joseph complied and showed respect because he believed God was ultimately in control of the final decision and outcome.
D. L. Moody said something so powerful that I often quote it to people so I can encourage them about God’s plans and directions for their lives. Moody said, “The sweetest lesson I’ve learned in God’s school is to let God choose for me.” Psalm 25:12 (NLT) reads much like Moody’s quote, “Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose.”
There is great assurance that God has the ultimate best for us. When we yield and allow God to lead us by His Word and His Spirit, and when we walk in obedience, we can be confident He will faithfully lead and choose the best for us as our Good Shepherd “leads [us] in the paths of righteousness for His Name sake” (Psalm 23:3 NKJV).
When God created us and placed us on the earth, He made us special with a designated purpose for His glory and our satisfaction. The Lord illustrated to Jeremiah a potter and clay. A potter takes a lump of clay and works it to remove any impurities. He already has the structural design and purpose of the vessel in mind. That’s exactly what God has for us.
God doesn’t make mistakes. He fearfully and wonderfully made each of us (Psalm 139:14). Though we’re not perfect vessels due to sin. However, the beauty is God takes broken and cracked vessels in His hands, reshapes them, and makes them beautiful and useful for His kingdom purposes. Warren Wiersbe gives great insight on this: “Jacob was guided by God. The fact that Jacob crossed his hands brings the cross into the picture. Through the cross God crucifies the old nature and sets aside the natural that He might establish the spiritual. When you are born again, God rearranges your spiritual birth order.”
Just as Joseph was encouraged by his father (Genesis 48:21), God also wants to encourage you. He’s working His plans out for you today and for your future.
DIG: Take a moment to think about God’s plans for your life. Read Psalm 138:8.
DISCOVER: Meditate on Psalm 25:12 and ask yourself what it means to you.
DISPLAY: As your Good Shepherd, the Lord will lead you in His faithfulness. Spend time with Him, seeking Him in His Word and calling upon Him. Trust Him with the outcome.