At the end of the book of Genesis, Moses records a very interesting occurrence. Jacob, now known as Israel, is nearing death. Joseph brings his sons to him in order for Israel to bless them because this was the tradition of the people back in this day. Normally the oldest son would receive the blessing, or what was called the birthright, while the younger son was sort of snubbed. But what makes this account different than any of the others is what Israel decides to do after Joseph brings his sons to him. This is what Moses writes:
And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. But 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. (Genesis 48:13-14 NIV)
Israel chose to cross his arms and bless Ephraim, the younger son, rather than Manasseh. Everything that was suppose to go to Manasseh went to Ephraim. Ephraim didn’t deserve the blessing. Nothing Ephraim did earned him the blessing. Israel just chose to bless him.
I believe that the main point of the Bible is Jesus and every thing recorded in scripture is a bullseye directing our sights towards Jesus. I believe this account is a precursor pointing us toward the cross. On the cross, Jesus was displaying for us that God chose to cross His arms and punish Jesus instead of us. We didn’t deserve it and there’s nothing we can do to earn it. God’s love, mercy, and grace that was intended for Jesus is now extended toward us because God chose to cross His arms.
Perry Noble, Senior Pastor of Newspring Church, said “God is not looking to punish you because He punished Jesus.” He also said “God doesn’t want something from you. He wants something for you.” God proved this by Jesus dying on the cross; be encouraged today that God chose to cross His arms.