Rumblings in Your Heart
Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
- Genesis 41:50-51
In the midst of Joseph’s tremendous success, we see this little insight into what was going on in his heart. Look at what Joseph names his sons.
With the naming of Manasseh we see that Joseph hopes to move on from the pain in his past. At this point in his life, he’s lived in Egypt for as long as he lived in Canaan with his family. But the pain of what happened to him in his early childhood and young adulthood continues to try to haunt him. He hopes to put it all behind him.
We’re surprised, given Joseph’s insight into the epic disaster that’s about to hit his region, that he doesn’t reach out to his family. Even if he held no love for most of his family, how could he let his beloved father starve?
Sometimes, our pain is so immense all we can think to do is to keep moving forward. But God is going to bring Joseph back and God is going to bring Joseph a deeper peace than the peace of forgetting.
With the naming of Ephraim, we see two things about Joseph: first that his heart stands full of gratitude to God and second that he hasn’t really cut ties with his family of origin. How do we get that second observation? He gives his child a Hebrew name!
In verse 45 we’re told that Pharaoh gave Joseph the public name of Zaphenath-Paneah, a good Egyptian name. But Joseph is never called by this name in the narrative. He remains Joseph throughout.
The ongoing rumblings in Joseph’s heart foreshadow an upcoming work of God in Joseph’s life.
What rumblings are going on in your heart today? Take some time to talk with God about them.