TD Jakes - Out of Order
He has spent years and years first in Potiphar's house, nothing that was his own, taking care of things that was not his, managing things that were not his, only to be tossed out and then thrown into prison. And there he is, running the prison, but he's not free. His life has been a series of contradictions that never would've happened if it had not been for his brother. It never would've happened, but it is. It is what it is.
Finally toward the end of his father's life, this is a moment of reconciliation, and it is absolutely amazing because Jacob is here. His father is here. Israel is here. Israel has come to Egypt. Oh, hallelujah. Joseph is so glad to have somebody from home who embraced his faith, and his culture, and its food, and its dance, and its style. That's not to beguile the Egyptians, but the Egyptians could not recreate the sound of the timbrels and the dance of the Hebrews. They could not do it. The Egyptians could not recreate the food, and the style, and the customs, or the religiosity of the Hebrews. The Egyptians could not replace his father.
Though old, and wilted, and tattered, and torn, he was still daddy and daddy is about to leave. And there's something about the final hours and years of your life that make them sweeter, like nectar, like molasses, like syrup. It comes sweeter, more valued, more appreciated because you've got less time. Joseph had forgotten his two sons that he has created through being married to an Egyptian woman. And he brings 'em in and he holds him between his knees, so grateful that he finally gets a chance for them to experience his heritage.
Because these boys have grown up knowing only the customs up their mother's side of the family, and yet it's their father's side of the family that defines them. This is a patriarchal society, but their father has lived his life as an orphan, disconnected from the commonwealth of Israel. The real wealth of Israel is embodied in Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel. And Joseph now takes his two sons in-between his knees and said, "That's Paw-Paw. That's your grandfather. That's my father".
Now, this is the trilogy, because from the old man's perspective, he scarce thought that he would ever see Joseph again. And not only does he get to see Joseph, he gets to see Joseph's sons, his grandsons. So important that they are the only grandsons to which Jacob lays his hands and confers a patriarchal blessing, a continued continuity of love that passes from generation to generation. I loved your mama, I love you, I love your sons. I loved your mama, I loved you, I love your sons. I see your mama's eyes in those boys. I see you. I see her in you. I love her in you. I loved your mama, I love my son, I loved his sons. This is amazing reconciliation.
It is proof positive that God will restore unto you that which the cankerworms, and the locusts, and the palmerworms ate up. He has brought them back together again. They've had their dysfunctions, they've had their problems, they've had their strifes, they've had their confusion, the lies, and the malice, and the hatred. And they could have been bitter, but they chose to be better than to be bitter, and they have come back together again for this sacred moment. You just stepped in the room of a moment that is so momentous that I fail to be able to articulate with any aptitude the massiveness of this moment.
This is the moment that the old man gets to see the future in the eyes of his two grandchildren peering back at him through the legs of his beloved son Joseph, who is now a full-grown man. And not only a man, he is the prince of Egypt. He is the prince of Egypt. He is dressed in garments that do not bespeak his heritage, his customs, or where he came from. He is dressed like one of them, but he thinks like one of us. He is familiar with all of them. He is positioned with all of them, but he is kin to all of us.
Joseph is complex because he is Egyptian enough to be a part of the royalty, but he is Hebrew enough to ache for his family so bad that when he saw his brothers, the one who lied on him and betrayed him, he wept and his his tears from them. Because you can have everything, but if you don't have that family, you have lost a lot. This is a great moment of alignment, of connectivity. They're coming back together. Things are finally coming in order. They're amazing. And then he takes his sons and he begins to maneuver them in such a way, he takes Manasseh in his left hand and he maneuvers him, he guides him skillfully, the Bible says, wittingly, toward his father's right hand. And Ephraim, he pushes with his right hand toward his father's left hand so that the old man would not get confused when he gets ready to lay hands on them.
And then something strange happens. Something disruptive happens. Something chaotic happens. The order is broken. Everything else in the story is come to order down to this one point, and then when he gets to this one point, there's never been a riff between Joseph and Jacob. There's never been a disagreement. There's never been an argument. There's never been a hardship. There's never been a complaint. There's never been an issue. For the first time in history, as he is dying, no less, Joseph is displeased because he thinks his father has it wrong.
Now, we know that order is important to God. Just set that aside. We know that order is important to God, for God has taught us, "Let all things be done decently and in order". We are clear that order is important to God. He is a God of order. He said, "I am not the author of confusion". We know that order is important to God. The first thing he did when God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, the first thing he did was establish order. "Let there be light," and there was light. "Let the firmament above the waters be separated from the firmaments that were beneath the water".
All of that is God bringing things into order. Bring forth. The whole creation is God bringing things into order. He didn't even create man until he had everything in order because God is a God of order and protocol. We know that God is a God of order because when the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon's temple, when she saw the order of his men and the excellency of his servants, there was no breath left in her. God is a God of order. And yet in this moment, we see something that is kind of confusing. Because by all rights, Manasseh should have the blessing. He is the older brother. If anybody's gonna get the blessing, Manasseh should have the blessing. And Joseph wanted Manasseh to have the blessing. And yet had Jacob, now called Israel, decides to lay his hands not on Manasseh. He gives him his left hand, but his right hand he puts on Ephraim. And Joseph says, "You must be confused, old man. You have put the right hand on the wrong son".
What do you do when God blesses somebody you didn't intend? What do you do when God uses somebody that you don't like? What do you do when God raises up somebody you had your foot on? What do you do when the tail becomes the head and the last becomes first? What do you do when God gets out of order? Out of order. Out of order indeed. Is it possible that God can get out of order when he made the order in the first place? How can God who made the order get out of order as if the order were greater than the one that created him?
God can't really get out of order because he created the order. He can change the order. He is God over the order. But for human purposes, indulge me in my folly, because now God is using Jacob to get out of the order that normally would be conveyed from generation to generation. And the reason I present it to you this morning to share it in this way, this unorthodoxy that we see happening in this sacred moment, this secret moment, this birthing place, this fertile place, the reason I bring it to you is that God told me to tell you that if he has to get out of order, he's still going to bless you.
If he has to break the sequence, he's still going to bless you. If he has to bless you out of season, he's still going to bless you. If you haven't been set up, he's still going to bless you. Sometimes God is willing to get out of order to get you what you need when you need it like you need it and shock the people who tried to politicize, and move, and organize, and ostracize, and manipulate the system. When God gets ready to bless you, I don't care who they are pushing forward, God will raise up you. When God gets ready to use you, I don't care who they think is next, God will bring it to pass.
And God told me to tell you that he's getting ready to change things up. He's getting ready to switch things up. He's getting ready to cross out old systems and structures. And God is about to get out of order to get you what you need when you need it. Because it didn't look like you were going to get it, but you are chosen. Slap somebody and holler, "I'm chosen". I'm chosen. You don't have to like me because I'm chosen. You don't have to prefer me because I'm chosen. You don't have to want me because I'm chosen. You don't have to accept me because I'm chosen.
What God has for me, it is for me. I may not have any money, but it's for me. I may not have a degree, but it's for me. I may not have the benefit of the board, but it's for me. I may not have the support of the committee, but it's for me. What God has for me! And if he has to stir things up, and if he has to scramble things, and if he has to mix things up, God is getting ready to get out of order to bless you. The church doesn't want it, the people don't like it, the community doesn't like it, but God said, "I swear I'm gonna bless you. You weren't set up for it, you weren't next in line, you don't have the credentials, you haven't been qualified, but I am going to bless you".
I don't know who I'm talking to, but the stone that the builders rejected is gonna be the chief cornerstone. And look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look. The old man is so old and so feeble that he can scarcely see, and still he's strong enough to resist the hands of his son trying to reverse the order. His eyes are weak, but his hands are strong. And the old man said, "I know what I'm doing". And so he said, "I am going to bless Manasseh. He'll get a blessing, but the hand of the Lord will be upon Ephraim and he shall be a great nation".
I wondered in my mind when I heard it and when I talk about it, it sounded so familiar. It made me think that I had read this someplace before. When I was reading it, it almost caused me to think I was having a deja vu moment because I remembered that when Jacob was born, he too was in a fight for the birthright. He too was not in line for promotion. He too was not destined to be in the place. And maybe when the old man looks at his grandsons, he remembers him and Esau wrestling in the womb, fighting for the birthright, and how he had to stir things up and get out of order to get the blessing because the blessing was not supposed to come upon him. But what God has for you, it is it is for you.
Maybe the old man saw something of himself in his grandson and said, "You can't push this one and then leave that one behind". Maybe he identified with Ephraim because Jacob had been Ephraim. He had been the son least likely to receive the blessing, and yet he had fought to get his. And he says, "I'm going to make it easier on you than it was for me. You won't have to fight in the womb, and you won't have to struggle all your life, and you won't have to cook a portion of soup and sell a birthright in order to get in a place, and make all the mistakes I made. I'm going to straighten it out by getting out of order. I'm going", oh, you didn't hear that, "I'm going to straighten it out by getting out of order".
And so he took his hand and he laid his right hand on the head of the younger son and he blessed him. And he put his left hand upon the older brother and he blessed him. And Joseph was upset, but he couldn't do anything about it. And I wondered in my own mind... let's switch from Jacob and talk to Joseph for a minute. Joseph, how in the world could you as a little boy see down through time and see that the time was going to come that you would be the prince of Egypt and all your brothers would have to bow to you? You could see that good. You could see how to survive.
Even though they threw you in a pit, you saw how to survive. They put you in Potiphar's house and you ran all of Potiphar's house without any experience or any background. You went into prison and began to run the prison, and you could see all of that. You could see visions that loosed the baker and the butler, and brought them out, and brought them back to Egypt. You could see so good that you've restored the economy of the entire nation of Egypt, and you still can't see your sons?
A warning, a warning, a warning to all fathers. Just because you see this doesn't mean that you see that. You could be good at seeing everything except your own son. It could be possible that you're better at seeing the world than you are seeing your own son. And Joseph, you've been right about everything else, but you are wrong about this. You brought everything to order in Potiphar's house. You brought everything to order in the prison. You brought everything to order in Egypt. But you did not allow for the grace factor that sometimes in order to bless you, God has to get out of order.
And so he breaks the order and he shatters the type. He shatters the type and he starts a new beginning by getting out of order. And he lays his hand, his right hand, on Ephraim, and his left hand on Manasseh, and he declares the blessing. His right hand on Ephraim, his left hand on Manasseh, and he declares a blessing on the son that shouldn't have got it. He released the blessing. His right hand on Ephraim, and his left hand on Manasseh, and he declared a blessing. His right hand on Ephraim, and his left hand on Manasseh, and he declared... wait a minute. When I put my right hand on Ephraim and my left hand on Manasseh, I can't do that without crossing my hands.
Oh my God. All of a sudden, I realized this text is not just a story about a family struggling to get their lives together. This is a preview of a coming attraction. This is not the end, this is the beginning that God has given us a sneak peek at the cross. For when Jesus went to the cross, God crossed his hands. The cross is God crossing his hands to bless the unblessable, to break the curse, to start a new order, to bring about deliverance. That's why Jesus could not die on the whipping post. You will remember that when Jesus was on the whipping post, they beat him with a cat of nine tails.
History says that most people died on the whipping post, but if Jesus would've died on the whipping post, the Gentiles would have never been restored. He had to go to a cross because Jesus was God crossing his hands to get the one that wouldn't have gotten it. God is getting ready to cross his hands to get you the blessing. I know somebody else is in line for it, but God is getting ready to cross his hands to get you the blessing. God is getting ready to cross his hands to get you the blessing. God is getting ready to cross his hands.
I don't know who I'm preaching to, but I'm talking to somebody. I know it doesn't look like you're in line for the blessing. I know it doesn't look like you're next for the blessing. I know it doesn't look like the people want you to have it. I know you have never been preferred all of your life, but according to the cross, the cross declares that God is gonna take the tail and make him the head. The cross declares that God is getting ready to break the order. The cross declares that the Gentiles will be saved. The cross declares that the enemy will not get the victory today. The cross declares.
Somebody clap your hands and praise the Lord. You must understand, then, my brothers and my sisters, that God will get the blessing to you. Whatever it takes to bless you, he will get the blessing to you. If he has to mix things up, if he has to cross things, if he has to go through you, if he has to reach over people, when God gets ready to bless you, he'll cross over them to get you the blessing.
Hallelujah, I want the devil to know you thought you had plans, but God crossed them out. You thought I was gonna die, but God crossed them out. You thought I'd never make it, but God crossed it out. You tried to destroy me, but God crossed it out. You messed up my childhood, but God crossed it out. I feel the power of the Holy Ghost. The anointing of God is in this room. God is getting ready to cross it out. I don't care what the psychologist said. I don't care what the psychiatrist said. I don't care you're supposed to have a nervous breakdown. But the devil is a liar. God is going to cross it out.
Get ready for the cross. God will break every order, break every system, break every chain, break every yoke, break every barrier, break every situation. When God gets ready to bless you, you don't have to be the preferred son. You can be the foolish son. You could've made mistakes. You could've spent your substance in riotous living. You could have laid with whores and prostitutes. You could've eaten with the swine in the hog pen. But when God gets ready to bless you, you may not even be the elder brother, but God will cross his hand and kill the fatted calf. God will cross his hands and put a ring on your finger. God will cross his hands and throw you a party.
I feel a praise about to break out of this place. Cross it up, Jesus. Cross it up, Lord. In my finances, cross it up. Yeah! Yes, Lord! God is getting ready to cross it up. I know it's been unjust. I know it's been unfair. I know you've been mistreated. But God is getting ready to get out of order. He gonna step over somebody. He's gonna step around somebody. God is getting ready to get out of order. He's going to come over there where you are. And he laid his hands, his left hand on Manasseh and his right hand on Ephraim. And he crossed his hands to bless us.
You might've done a whole lot of things wrong, and by all rights and order you shouldn't even have the blessing. You come short of the glory of God. And you gotta secrets that still ring sadness to your soul, but there are some people that can tell you right now that in order for them to be where they are, God had to cross his hands. God crossed his hands and you got the blessing. God crossed his hands and the door was opened up to you. God crossed his hands and you didn't have a nervous breakdown. God crossed his hands and you survived where other folk fell down. God crossed his hands and let you buy your own house.
God crossed his hands and brought you through school. God crossed his hands and called you to preach the gospel. And you know you don't deserve it. You know the only way you did it, it was a stretch, but God did it. It was a stretch, but God did it. And you ought not be mad at your haters. You ought not be mad at them. They got a right to be upset because by all rights it should have never been you. But they didn't know that every now and then, God will get out of order.