Israel blesses Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and through adopting them, gives Joseph the birthright of firstborn, a double portion of his inheritance. What captured my attention as I read this was how frequently it is not the firstborn who receives the blessing or inheritance. God chooses who He chooses.
It is also not the "best" or even the "most righteous."
This passage teaches that God is no respecter of birth order or of tradition when it comes to blessing His people. He chooses for His purposes those who have fallen, those who are outsiders, even those who are unbelievers, and brings about His purposes through them. How humbling to know that when God works through us, it is not because of anything in us, but more often it is despite all our weaknesses and failures. Or maybe it is because of our weakness and failure. Our failures force us to recognize "you are God and I am not."
Our brokenness forces us to depend on God in desperation. A sweet friend who is in the midst of trial puts it this way, "We spend time with God and in His Word like people on a plane that's going down reach for their oxygen mask. We have to have it to survive."
The best remedy for our pride is failure. Like Joseph, we want to tell God, "Bless this one. This is the one you should choose." God has His own agenda. This week I will remember and praise the God who works powerfully even in my failures.