I recently read an article that said that a child’s upward social mobility could be affected far more by his/her grandparents than ever recognized before – so having good grandparents can set you up for life! To be honest it comes as no surprise to me. Walking around the play area behind our house at the weekend or school holidays, and pretty much every adult accompanying a child is a grandparent. In these days of both parents having to work, grandparents often have the privilege of caring for these precious wee ones. Not only that, but we live in a generation of ‘messy lives’ and I know of many kids brought up entirely by a grandma because mum is just not able to.
None of these were the situation for Joseph in Genesis 48:5-6 – he was more than able to care for his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim, yet his father Jacob sort of wanted to adopt them. He wanted them to be counted as his own sons for the purposes of their inheritance. He wanted their families to be tribes with their own land named after them, as true ‘children of Israel’, and equal status with Joseph’s brothers. In doing this, Jacob was giving Joseph a double inheritance – two portions of the land of Canaan that would finally, by faith, come to them. And even though they were half Egyptian, these two young men were to be recognized as full sons, with full equal status.
When my husband and I got married we had both already made commitments to follow Jesus Christ. We both knew we were children of the living God through faith. When we had our own children, did that make them God’s grandchildren? Of course not! They in their own time made their own commitments to him, and became children in their own right. Their status in God’s Kingdom is not dependent on us as their parents, but upon God adopting them as his children, just the same as us. God has no grandchildren, and each individual in each generation must find him for themselves. We are all accepted as sons, with full inheritance into his Kingdom.
But there is a requirement. Both Manasseh and Ephraim had to believe it, and hold on to it. They had to receive it in faith, and pass it on to subsequent generations in faith that one day it would become a reality. And sometimes in the ups and downs of life, we have to hold on in faith. We don’t always feel like kids of the King. We don’t always experience a princely lifestyle. But we still must hold on. Even when we are struggling to believe in him as our Heavenly Father, we can be sure that he believes in us as his children. Hold on!