7 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.

‘Jacob was a blessing in Egypt. He blessed Pharaoh (47:7,10), Joseph and Joseph’s sons (48:15,20), and all twelve of the sons of Israel (49:1ff.). God blesses us that we might be a blessing. Circumstances change, but God never changes.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.44.

God blesses us to be a blessing – even in ‘Egypt’, amidst the pomp and splendour and corruption of this rotting, dying world system. It’s been pointed out that Jacob was not ashamed to give testimony before Pharaoh.

In Psalm 84:5-7 we read:

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;

the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

God’s pilgrim people live transformative lives, even in the barren places of the world. They bring refreshing in arid places. They are blessed to be a blessing.

I am slightly intrigued by Jacob’s words:

“The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult…”

‘Few’? It sounds like a long life to me. Yes, but in the light of eternity life is short even when it is long. “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14b). We all look back and say, ‘Where did it all go?’ Life whizzes by. Jacob recognised he had not lived as long as his “fathers”.

‘Difficult’? Yes. Jacob had his trials for sure. But I’m thinking to myself as I read this that a lot of his difficulties were ‘babies’ of his own conceiving.

Someone said, ‘We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us.’

But don’t miss the point that, with his many flaws and imperfections, God nevertheless blessed Jacob and made him a blessing. Thankfully, we do not earn the grace, the goodness of God. Otherwise none of us would experience it.

PRAYER: Lord God, I cannot point the finger at Jacob, nor at anyone else. I am aware that I am a ‘cracked pot’. But thank you that you take the imperfect and make them a blessing, in spite of their imperfections. Thank you for using even me.