“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,” (48:14).
“…guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn,” (48:14 KJV).
“…guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn,” (48:14 NKJV).
Sometimes God is confusing. He does things we simply do not understand; things we perhaps suppose He really shouldn’t. His ways don’t always make sense, as though signals got crossed along the way, mixed up.
Today was a glaring reminder; Israel, knowingly crossed his hands to bless the younger. Wait! That’s not the way it’s supposed to be done! Joseph felt the same way; he felt it intensely, so convinced his father had been mistaken, that he attempted to remedy the problem himself.
“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. 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;” (48:17-19).
None of us possesses the knowledge or communication skills to explain Him, but He doesn’t need us to do that; He speaks for Himself. Today, let us ponder some truths that reveal His ways of guiding His hands, knowingly and wittingly.
Consider Him Who Crosses His Hands
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
This is a familiar passage to many. I have referred to it often to acknowledge He is not like us; He marches to the beat of His own composing. Who am I to question? But today I was dumbfounded as I examined the preceding verses leading up to this declaration about His thoughts and ways.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
In context, He was referring to His “thoughts and ways” of compassion and mercy, of longsuffering and forgiveness! And it hit me! Why don’t we interrogate Him when He is merciful? The question is so often asked, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?” But consider an even more baffling query, “Why does holy God extend grace, compassion and mercy to mankind at all, in light of how we have treated Him?”
This is truly nothing like our ways. When we are offended and wronged, our typical default mode is retaliation, not forgiveness and mercy. Forgiveness is so difficult to extend. This leads to another befuddling thought, “How can He possibly be so forgiving?”
So, perhaps as we consider the fact that His “thoughts and ways” are so very unlike our own, it should bring us to our faces in utter amazement and all-consuming worship, with gratitude and praise that He is NOT like us!
“…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God,” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
“…for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” (Matthew 5:45).
How do we respond to Him Who Crosses His Hands?
- Come to grips with the fact that we cannot possibly understand Him, for He is God.
- “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” (Romans 9:20-21).
- Be thankful He is NOT like us!
- “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:10).
- Receive His compassion, mercy and forgiveness.
- “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:4-5).
- Daily commit to trust Him with our questions.
- “Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; for I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul,” (Psalm 143:8).
- Live in such a way that continually says thank You!
- “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father,” (Colossians 3:17).
May we never cease to be amazed at Him Who Crosses His Hands!
“What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:4-5, 9).