Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 29, 2022

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 48:13-17.

“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.  Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn.  Place your right hand on his head.”  But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know;  he also will become a people and he also will be great.  However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”  He blessed them that day, saying,

“By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying,

‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!’”

Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.  Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers.  I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”  Genesis 48:13-17.


As we see in today’s Scripture, Jacob did not consider his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh equal nor did he bless them equally. Jacob also did not give his son Joseph an equal portion, but one portion more than his other sons. Today’s Scripture leads us to meditate on how considering everyone equal can lead us into trouble.

The foundation of what many in the church think is:  “God equally loves everybody, Christ equally died for everybody, and therefore, salvation must be determined by man:  either by man’s works or at least by man’s free-will.

The foundation of what many think in the world is similar:  “Everybody is equal, and therefore, truth is equally determined by each man.  You cannot judge that what one person states is true (that is just your opinion) or what another person states is false (that is just your opinion).”  

The foundation of what many think in the family is similar:  “I love all my children equally, therefore they are equal.”

But, we know that God does not love everybody.  “Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”  Romans 9:13.”  We know that Christ did not die for everybody.  In Christ’s intercessory prayer in John 17:9, we see Christ praying for only those whom God gave Him, not for the world:  “I ask on their behalf;  I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me;  for they are Thine;”  Christ laid down His life for only His sheep.  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;  and I lay down My life for the sheep. ”  John 10:14-15.  We know that salvation is determined by God alone.  “He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  …  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:15-16 and 18.

We also know that everybody is not equal and everybody’s opinion is not equally true.  We may think that publicly we may need to spout such nonsense, but privately and practically, we know that we seek out the truth and base our decisions on it.  Most of the time we trust experts with experience on what product to buy or what action to take, not always, but we do believe that there is absolute truth out there as to what is best for us and do not base our decisions equally on what each category of people believes.  

And what we have seen in Scripture, including today’s Scripture, is that the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on their children have not been equal.  Moreover, the children did not receive equal inheritances.  Consider how Abraham so favored Isaac more than Ishmael.  Consider how Isaac so favored Jacob more than Esau.  Considered how Jacob favored Joseph and Ephraim more.

A false foundation in thinking can get us in much trouble in the church, in the world, and in the family, but through God’s grace, a true foundation in thinking based on Scripture can get us OUT of trouble and bring us peace and prosperity and even salvation. 

“2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalm 1:2-6.

“13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:13-17.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house;  and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house;  and it fell—and great was its fall.”  Matthew 7:24-27.

“Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.


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