Accompanying Bob Deffinbaugh sermon: The View From the Graveyard
Consider the difference between these two passages, in particular, the bolded portions.....
Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.”
Genesis 48:15-16 And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
17 years separates the two testimonies - what happened? What changed?
Deffinbaugh shared a story about a man named Malcolm Muggeridge and what he discovered when he realized his life would soon be over....
He said that those things which he had most desired in his youth he now perceived to be of little value when viewed from the graveyard. The things which he had most dreaded in his youth he now deeply valued because they had so enriched his life. One such item would be suffering. He once sought to avoid it at all cost but had since come to accept it as a good thing from the hand of God.
As we see from the above passages, Jacob experienced the same thing.....
How do we explain this change in Jacob’s attitude? His perspective has radically changed, for he now looks back upon his life, like Muggeridge, from the family plot, viewing life from the end of the path. We need not be at death’s door to view life as Jacob did here. What we must do is grasp the reasons for his changed outlook and apply them to our lives now rather than when we think we are at death’s door.
What are some things Jacob finally realized at the end of his life?
We need to pursue holiness over happiness, and purity over pleasure and prosperity. That's when we are noted for our character and when we are closest to God.
Trials are often the means used by God to bring us to a point of submission to His will over our own, and to draw us to Him in worship and spiritual intimacy in relationship with Him.
The doctrine of election shows us that we are chosen, not out of any merit of our own, but due solely to God's grace in order to glorify Him alone.
I would like to suggest that our lives will be much happier if we will come to the conclusions Jacob did, but sooner than he. If we can, like Joseph, see the hand of God in our suffering, then we can rejoice in our tribulations, knowing that God is at work maturing us and teaching us endurance (James 1:2-4). And if we can see that God has not chosen us because of our potential but to demonstrate His power, we will not engage in the fruitless efforts of Jacob....
Isn’t it interesting that God chose Jacob to be Israel, the patriarch. Joseph, who by far, is the most pious of the group is passed over in that no tribe is named after him. He is not the forefather of Messiah, but Judah, who had failed with his sons and who was intending to have an illicit relationship with a Canaanite prostitute, is. Neither was Joseph to be the one through whom the priesthood would be named, but Levi, the brother who had deceived the men of Shechem and slaughtered the men of that city. That, my friend, is election. And that is precisely why we should be encouraged. For God may take material as unlikely and unpromising as you and I and do great and wonderful things through us.
May our view of life, be that of Jacob in his dying moments, the view from the grave.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 49