Tuesday, January 23, 2018

January 23: Genesis 47:9; Less Like Jacob and More Like Jesus

            Yesterday, I wrote about Jacob and his whining. As I get older, do I want to become more like Jacob? See what he said to Pharaoh when he was asked about his age:

So Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning." (Gen 47:9 NASU)

            Shortly before this, the Lord appeared to him one more time to assure him that he would be safe in Egypt. He also promised that his descendants would grow into a great nation before they returned. The Lord would be with him, he would see his long-lost son, and die peaceably. The Lord had blessed him with significant wealth when he left Paddan-arm, yet he tells Pharaoh that is his life has been short and unpleasant.
            How do I want to spend the end of my life? Do I want to be like Jacob as he reflects on how bad it was or do I want to be like Jesus? Near the end of Jesus’ life here on earth, he looked forward to the future with joy. Hebrews 12:2 encourages me to model Jesus, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NIV).
            What kind of a witness is complaining about how miserable my life has been? Who wants to be like that? “Oh, I want to be just like Jacob who was so blessed by God and ended up whining about his losses and his miserable life.” If I act like that, I don’t think anyone will come up to me in my old age and ask me about the hope I have in Christ. Peter tells me that I must first set Christ firmly in my heart so that people will ask me about the hope I have (1 Peter 3:15).
            When I become more like Christ, I will not complain about my life. I will know that it is accomplishing God’s will and that it is bringing about good. Even the difficulties will be joy when I consider it that way (James 1:2). I want people to know that being Christ-like is the best life there is.

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