Summary: Evaluating our lives and our stance in 2009
A New Year’s Evaluation
Text: Genesis 47:7 – 10
By: Ken McKinley
The Word of God is first and foremost given to us in order to direct us to God Himself and to the redemption and salvation He offers through His Son Jesus Christ. It is also the means God has chosen to use to teach us and instruct us in the will and ways of God. But something that we often forget is that the Bible is also given to us not just for our spiritual well being, but also as a means of instruction for our lives here and now.
In our text we just read about Jacob’s meeting with the king of Egypt. And I believe that in this passage; we, by God’s grace, can find instruction for the new year. In our text we see two different men standing before one another. One is a king, the ruler of one of the mightiest kingdoms of the time, the Pharaoh of Egypt. The other man, Jacob, isn’t necessarily a poor man – he’s been blessed by God, but he is an exile, fleeing a famine that has struck his own land. He’s a wanderer, a nomad, a pilgrim in a strange land.
Jacob didn’t have the silver or the gold that Pharaoh had, he didn’t have the resources of an entire nation, but don’t judge a book by its cover… Jacob had God as his portion. Jacob has inherited the promise of God. Jacob was a man who could say and DID say, “I have seen God, face to face, and my life was preserved.”
Pharaoh couldn’t say these things. He was a stranger to God, but Jacob knows God and would later be identified with Him by God Himself when He spoke to Moses. God said to Moses in Exodus 3:6, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” God even changed his name to Israel, which means “Prince of God.” So again we are looking at two men: the king of Egypt and the prince of god. So like I said, don’t judge a book by its cover (or as I like to say, don’t judge a book by its movie).
And when these two men meet, Jacob must have shown his age. He must’ve looked ever bit of 130, because Pharaoh doesn’t ask him how he’s doing, or how life was treating him. He doesn’t ask Jacob how bad the famine is to the East; no, he asks, “How old are you?”
How old are you? My daughters are age 7 and 8… they are still young, but even at that age the young should take care not to waste their early years. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes that we should seek God early in life. I’m 36, people my age shouldn’t even be playing around anymore, they should be serving the Lord, and we pray that they are. My wife is whatever age she tells you she is.
The point is – are we redeeming the time that we have been given?
Now look at the answer Jacob gives to Pharaoh (Read vs. 9)
Jacob doesn’t say that he’s lived 130 years and God has blessed him, that he’s rich in cattle, and land, and servants. Jacob doesn’t say that. He says, “The days of my PILGRIMAGE…” Jacob understood that he was a pilgrim on the earth, living those 130 years in a place that was not his home, and that never would be. That was something that Pharaoh probably didn’t understand. Pharaoh didn’t know God, he was settled, he wasn’t a pilgrim, he wasn’t looking for a better place. He most likely felt like Egypt was the best place in the world to be.
Jacob said that his days were few… at least in comparison to his fathers. His father Isaac lived 180 years, his grandfather Abraham lived 175 years, his great-grandfather Terah lived 205 years. And Jacob says that they were pilgrims too.
Look what else Jacob says… he says his days have been few and evil.
Jacob was a deceiver, he stole his brothers birth right, he fled to escape his brother and went to live with his uncle. He had to escape from Laban as well. He came to the land of Canaan and had to bury his wife Rachel. His oldest son Rueben was involved in a disgraceful matter, his other son Judah shamed the family with sin, and for many years he thought his youngest son – Joseph had been killed by wild animals, and now here was, standing before the king of Egypt because famine had wiped out his livelihood and caused him to send his children to buy food from the Egyptians.
In other words; Jacob had lived a hard life.