Daily D – Genesis 47:7-10
Genesis 47:7-10 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”
9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 47:7–10.
One of the cardinal rules of our day reminds us we are not to ask a mature woman her age. We live in an age when most adults try to look and behave younger than we are. Youthful vigor is more highly prized than the wisdom accompanying those who have been there, done that, and learned the lessons.
Things were different in Jacob and Joseph’s day. When Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was, it was most likely because he admired his accumulated years. Even today, we take special notice of those who pass the century mark. This is true even though there are more centenarians alive today than anytime in modern history.
Read aloud Jacob’s response to Pharaoh: “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.”
What do you notice?
You likely noticed how good God was to Jacob to empower him to live long enough to discover his son he thought had died was alive, well, and rescuing a nation as well as the family members who sold him into slavery.
You no doubt see how old he was at that particular moment in time. You probably remember some of the events Jacob refers to when he says, “My years have been few and difficult.” His challenges with his father Isaac, his brother Esau, his Uncle Laban, and his wrestling match with God come to mind.
You see Jacob bless Pharaoh as he entered into his presence (verse 7) and as he took his leave (verse 10). Neither Abraham nor Isaac enjoyed this opportunity. Their relationships with foreign leaders involved much more tension.
The most important item in these few verses to these eyes and ears is how Jacob describes his life. He calls it a pilgrimage. This was also true for his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. Abraham in his long life walked and wandered many, many miles. Isaac never strayed too far from home.
Jacob now stepped into a land where he did not want to be buried. He made Joseph promise to take him home to the land of God’s promise (verses 28-31).
When Jacob left home in the land promised to his father and grandfather, no doubt there was some measure of hesitancy. When he arrived at the altar at Beersheba (46:1), he offered sacrifices to God. God then spoke to him in a vision at night (verses 2-4).
Every hesitant heart pulled between the desire to stay and the longing to go understands Jacob’s struggle. Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel, a name meaning One Who Struggles with God and Man and Overcomes, hears the same God who insured he would move at a more deliberate pace for the rest of his race speak words of comfort.
4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.
And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 46:3–4.
Isaac heard what Moses heard and what David heard. “I will be with you” are the most empowering and comforting words we can ever hear.
Jacob’s pilgrimage began in the land of promise. It veered away to his grandfather’s ancestral home. It returned to the land of promise. It ended far from home, in his son’s presence, under the watchcare of our Father in heaven. He was returned to the land of promise by the son he thought was dead.
In life, in death, in pilgrimage, our Father in heaven is in charge. He is forever present. No step of our journey, no account of our lives exists without his presence seen or unseen, known or unacknowledged. He is here. Jesus said in some of his famous last words, “And surely I am with you always, to the every end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20).
Where are you in your pilgrimage today? Wherever it is, may you know the peace and strength of God’s presence all along the way.
I will wander through my pilgrimage in the presence of God.
Our Father, where shall we go today? I will follow you as you lead the way. Amen.
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