Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.” Genesis 46:29-30
Really? Is that the only thing you have to say? How about “Son, it’s great to be with you at last. I thought you were gone. Let’s treasure every day we have left”?
God had something better than death in store for him: “Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years” (47:28). Matthew Henry commented, “We live and die when He chooses, not when we think we are done.”
Jacob’s last years were the most fruitful season of his life. Here is how we know: Jacob gave two descriptions of his life—one when he arrived in Egypt, and the other just before his death.
Listen to what Jacob said when he arrived in Egypt:
“The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life” (47:9).
There’s no hiding the disappointment here. The old man is full of regret. But God gave him another testimony. And we are privileged to hear it in these words of blessing that Jacob spoke over his sons shortly before he died.
“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” (48:15-16).
Jacob came to see that the good hand of God was on him even in his darkest hours. So, instead of looking back on his years with regret, this man was able to say, “The Lord is my shepherd. He always has been and He always will be.”
When you look back over your life, would you describe your days as “few” or “evil”? If so, why? How does Jacob’s story give you hope?