“My pilgrimage has lasted 130 years…”
When asked by Pharaoh about his age, Jacob gave this answer: “My pilgrimage has lasted 130 years. My years have been few and hard, and they have not reached the years of my fathers during their pilgrimages.” (Genesis 47:9, CSB)
Jacob’s answer gives us great insight to his perspective:
He comments on the quantity of years. To us, 130 years is a long life! But compared to Jacob’s father (Isaac; 180 years old) and grandfather (Abraham; 175 years old), his years were actually few.
He also comments on the quality of those years. Jacob’s life was hard and difficult. He lived through many trials and tribulations—some as the result of his own decisions; others the result of the choices of others.
But Jacob also uses an important word to define the totality of his life: pilgrimage. Jacob knew that he was just passing through. His eternal perspective let him see that the earth was not his home. Luz, Haran, Hebron, Bethel, the Promised Land, Egypt…these places were just stops along the way—not his final resting place.
What a great reminder! Like Jacob, we are pilgrims passing through. Compared to Heaven, the days of the years of our lives are few and hard as well. So we need to make the most of every opportunity (see Ephesians 5:16). Then, just after answering Pharaoh’s question, Jacob blessed Pharaoh—the most politically important and powerful man in the world at that time!
Like Jacob, when we see beyond our present placement and into eternity, we can summon up spiritual courage and step out in faith to bless others as opportunities arise. It might not be blessing a powerful person like Pharaoh—it might be much more important and impactful…like serving your family, blessing your children, or sharing the Gospel with your neighbors.
So remember, Pilgrim…this world is not your home.
Good movies end with a nice resolution—a happy ending to a pressing problem, or a relationship restored, or a quest completed. The music flourishes, the credits roll, and you leave the theater. But faithful fans know that the end is not always 'the end' of the story. There’s often a small part shared after the credits.
If the life of Joseph were a movie, it would have a Hollywood ending after chapter 46. Now reconciled with his brothers, Joseph sends them to get their father. A final sweeping and emotional scene of Joseph and Jacob embracing in Egypt while the music swells before the screen fades to black and the credits roll.
But…this is not the end of the story for Joesph or Jacob. God is still setting the stage for the most intricate, interwoven, and undeniable backstory to His story the world has ever seen. In Genesis 47 to 50, we have a “post-credit” sequence that gives clues about God’s grand plan of redemption that will continue.
Listen to our study of Genesis 47:1-10 and see how God sets the stage for the next great chapter of this incredible story.
Read ahead for this Sunday when we'll be studying the rest of Genesis 47. You can also catch up on other studies from our Genesis series.
At the end of our study in Genesis 42, we read of Jacob’s reaction to the odd sequence of events that came upon his sons in Egypt: “All these things are against me.” (Genesis 42:36)
Jacob has been through a lot by this point. He thought his son, Joseph, was dead. Now his son, Simeon, is sitting in an Egyptian prison. And the famine of the land is threatening the survival of his family. From assessment of his earthly circumstances—from his limited point of view based on the few puzzle pieces he could see—Jacob drew the conclusion that everything was against him.
Have you ever felt like that after an assessment of your earthly circumstances? Have you ever felt like everything and everyone was stacked against you? Felt like nothing has, is, or will ever go right for you? While we might feel the same way about our circumstances as Jacob felt about his, the word of the Lord says something different about reality.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
As God continues to unfold His grand plan of redemption on an individual, national, and global scale, we start to see that “these things” are nothing for Jacob…and for us! “If God is with us, who can be against us?”
God wasn’t done with Jacob—He was forming him into Israel. And as God forms the faith of this man named Israel, He forms a nation named Israel who would one day usher in another man who would be a blessing to the whole world.
God’s not done with you either! All these things are not against you. God is for you!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Some passages of scripture seem like standalone sermons—with and introduction, an application, and a conclusion. Other passages of scripture can seem like puzzle pieces—with little rhyme or reason to how it fits in to the overall picture.
Genesis 43 is one of those puzzle pieces—it doesn’t seem to fit in from the outset…but, as we see in our study, it still has a purpose in God’s grand plan of redemption.
Life is often full of those puzzle pieces, isn’t it? With little information available, we make an inaccurate assessment of our earthly circumstances. Or, we wonder what the bigger picture is supposed to look like. How and where will this piece fit in with everything else?
Though these puzzle pieces might be confounding, we can still be grateful for them. While we might not always see how these pieces fit in as life unfolds, we can trust that God will bring them to the forefront eventually. From time to time, He gives us a peek behind the curtain, a glimpse of His glory, and we see the bigger picture.
Listen to our study of Genesis 43 and see how this puzzle piece of scripture fits in to God’s larger plan of redemption for a family, a nation, and the entire world!
Read ahead for this Sunday when we'll be studying Genesis 44. You can also catch up on other studies from our Genesis series.
Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.
It’s been over 20 years since Joseph has seen his 10 older brothers. The dream he had decades ago was starting to come true. Here they were, bowing before him—yet not knowing who he really was.
The unconfessed sin they continued to conceal would soon rise to the surface. But for now, they were nowhere near repenting of what they had done to Joseph. So God would have to graciously allow an odd sequence of events to awaken their conscience once again—a process that we will continue to look at for the next three chapters in Genesis.
This odd sequence of events doesn’t make any sense until you see that God is graciously drawing these 10 men to confession and repentance by gently (or not so gently) awakening their conscience yet again.
And make no mistake—God can graciously do this with you too! Do you want Him to? Or would you rather live with the wilting awfulness of unconfessed sin? Maybe you’ve lived so long with it, it’s become the new normal—but it doesn’t have to be that way! All you have to do is ask God.
He will allow an odd sequence of events that don’t make sense until you see that God is graciously drawing you to confession and repentance by gently (or not so gently) awakening your conscience again.
But beware…and be warned…God does not have to ask for your permission since it’s for your own benefit, painful as it may be. God may just do it anyway…because He loves you.