Genesis 41:51-52 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Manasseh – God Can Make You Forget
Joseph learned several life lessons when living in Egypt as a young man. After God delivered him from prison and slavery, he was elevated to second in command of the land of Egypt. We get some insight into that deliverance in the names he chose for his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. First of all, with Manasseh’s name we see God “made” him forget all the troubles and trials of his past life by the blessings he gave him in his new life, as ruler of Egypt. When we got saved, we received a promise that one day we will be priests and kings to rule and reign with Christ. We need to let God “make” us forget all the problems and trials of our past, like He did for Joseph. You can forgive others, but often it is God that must “make” us forget. It may be beyond our abilities to forget; however, God continues to pile on the blessings; and, sooner or later, we will forget the wrongs done against us, like Joseph did with his evil brothers back in Canaan.
Ephraim – Fruitfulness in Affliction
Next of all, with Ephraim being born, we see that God caused Joseph to be fruitful in the midst of affliction. Often, God’s blessing only comes in the middle of an affliction or trial. We want God’s blessing without the pain that comes from affliction. That is not the way God operates. Affliction is a necessary factor in producing blessing. The oyster needs to be irritated by a grain of sand to produce a pearl of great price. The blessings we receive may not always be material. The greatest blessing we could get is close fellowship with the Lord. Trials will produce that close fellowship if we draw closer to Him during those times, much like Joseph surely did. Joseph was also blessed materially. God will often bless his children and take care of their needs in the midst of trials. God also gave Joseph a good wife and family, even in the middle of a heathen nation. Asenath likely got saved and lived for God and left her heathen gods in order to raise a godly Manasseh and Ephraim.
Letting God Work in Your Life Like Joseph
We need to let God work in our lives and make us forget the past troubles and trials we have gone through. We also need to let God produce fruit in our lives, even in the midst of great affliction. There are many lessons we can learn from Joseph’s life. He learned, at an early age, how to deal with difficulty by letting God guide and direct in his life. When he turned everything over to God, the bad things in his life were not viewed as bad things. Even at the end of his life, when his own brothers thought he would seek revenge; he, instead, had mercy and only thought good things about them. That only comes through a life of seeing the good in things that most would only think of as being evil.