“Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn….. So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.” – Genesis 48:14,20
The beautiful city of Palm Springs is nestled in the Coachella Valley of Southern California along the rolling splendor of the San Bernardino Mountains. It is one of the most picturesque destinations on the planet…replete with abundant palm trees, notable Spanish colonial architecture, exquisite Mexican-American cuisine and bright warm sunshine on an average of 350 or more days every year.
I am blessed to be in this natural wonder as I write this devotion. But as I enjoy its beauty, I am also mindful of the border disputes that currently engulf our country. Threats of deportation and the erection of a border wall seem so inconsistent with the vastness of space and hospitality displayed in this region.
Who can legitimately lay exclusive claim to the earth’s natural riches? Does the Coachella Valley rightfully belong to the U.S.?…. or to Mexico?….. or to Spain?…. or to the indigenous peoples who populated the territory long before any national government claimed possession?
Or is every nation in reality just a steward…a steward of natural resources that are created and owned by God? And if by God’s grace, we are allowed to possess and enjoy that which we do not deserve and were not originally given…how can we conscientiously manage others into exclusion?
There is no place for exclusionary possessiveness in God’s magnanimous Providence.
Jacob/Israel blessed his grandsons out of order. He gave Ephraim, the second born, the blessing that according to custom, should have been given to the firstborn, Manasseh.
Divine favor just isn’t fair.
Lord…don’t just bless me. Make me a blessing. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.