As we have seen, Israel had really made progress. He belonged absolutely to the Lord. God could have His way in him unhindered, even in the slightest way. He presented no obstacles to God. He was a broken man and he was a man who had no one else to love, except the Lord. He was thus in a condition in which he could be used. He did not struggle to minister. Because there was nothing of his nature or his likes to stand in the way, the life of God just flowed through him as the Lord wanted. True ministry has nothing to do with the striving of the flesh. True ministry is the overflow of a person who is full of God. This overflow was illustrated in two incidents in the life of Israel. They are:
- The Blessing of Pharaoh
Israel was brought before Pharaoh. From the point of physical looks, not much could be expected from Israel. He was old and he was limping. He had nothing of good looks to be desired. He bore the marks of the touch of the heavenly man of that night of nights. Israel knew that he was before the great king Pharaoh. He, however, knew that true greatness depended not on earthly position or possession or looks. He knew that true greatness depended on a position before God that had been won and established through brokenness and separation from all else. Israel blessed Pharaoh (Genesis 47:7,10). Pharaoh accepted the blessing. Normally, the greater blesses the lesser. Israel was greater than Pharaoh as a result of spiritual stature. He knew it and Pharaoh knew it. Both knew that because Israel knew God and had received much dealing from God, he possessed something that Pharaoh did not possess. He did not play the game of false humility by saying that he would not bless Pharaoh because he was king. The broken know their authority and their position and they do not pretend about it.
- The Preferential Blessing of Ephraim and Not Manasseh
The eyes of Israel were dim with age but he had not lost spiritual sight. He could not see physically, but his spiritual eyes were very open and fully alert . This capacity to see and to discern spiritually is what he lacked in his youth while he was unbroken. After brokenness he truly saw. Joseph brought his children Manasseh and Ephraim to Israel and asked him to bless them.
“Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him” (Genesis 48:13).
Joseph was just acting on the natural plane. But Israel did not act on that plane. The Bible says,
“And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it upon the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand upon the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the first-born” (Genesis 48:13-14). “When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; and he took 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 first-born; put your right hand upon 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; nevertheless 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 pronounce blessings, saying, ’God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh;’ and thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh” (Genesis 48:17-20).
Although Israel’s sight was dim, he saw. He was losing physical sight but he had gained spiritual sight. He possessed prophetic sight. Although he could not see the things of the present because of his dim sight, he saw the things of the future and he saw that Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh. He saw and he acted. He did not just bless the children the way they were presented to him. He did not say that he should maintain the status quo because the children were born that way and had been presented to him that way. He saw what was in the mind of God and was committed to it. He refused to tamper with what he knew was the will of God, for fear of hurting people. He refused to listen to the protest of Joseph. Those who are broken will see the purpose of God and the direction in which God expects them to move. Having seen what God wants, they will stubbornly refuse to be dissuaded from it. They will stand on God’s side, regardless of who is hurt. Joseph was displeased, but what could Israel do? Should he forego what God had shown him in order to please Joseph? No!! Jacob said, “I know, my son, I know.” There is a kind of knowledge of the things on God’s heart which the broken possess, but which the unbroken lack. Israel went right ahead with what God had shown him. He knew Joseph was opposed, but he remained firm and without apology and blessed Ephraim more than Manasseh. Joseph had the facts, but he did not possess the “knowing”. Israel possessed the knowing and he stated it and proclaimed it. He blessed Ephraim more than Manasseh and made Ephraim greater than Manasseh. He established the will of God. Israel had gone very far with God. He had become a man of unquestionable stature before God. He possessed the boldness to put the younger before the older ac- cording to the will of God. His father Isaac had lacked this boldness, and this had caused him much suffering. Having attained great heights with God, he was strong where his father had been weak and thus, he advanced the Kingdom of God.
Life flowed from him as he ministered. It was an outflow of the super-abundance that he had received from the Lord. He was true. He was honest. He exalted the Lord’s name. He entered into the glory of the Lord and ministered from glory. This is wonderful! Glory be to the Lord who worked to produce such excellence in one who from the beginning was so wrong. He is God. He is able. He is willing. May all His children submit themselves to His dealings and, like Israel, they will enter into the abundant life and flow with abundant life to others. Amen!