This sermon is part of the sermon series A Messy, Blessed Life.See series.
Jacob, at 130 years of age, stood before Pharaoh, the great ruler of Egypt. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham and the son of Isaac. He was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Jacob was Israel. God had given him that name, which means "he struggles with God."
That day, when Jacob's son, Joseph, introduced Jacob to the great Pharaoh, the ruler asked, "How old are you?" Jacob replied, "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." Then the text says, "Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence."
Here was a man on whom God fixed his love even before he was born. He was a blessed man. Yet Jacob says, "My years have been few and difficult." He implies his father and grandfather had it better than he did. Then this sad, old man does something really bold: he puts his hand on Pharaoh—this great king—and blesses him. This poor, old man—a refugee from famine in his own country—gives Pharaoh God's blessing.
At first, I thought about preaching on Jacob just because I never had—because he is interesting. Then I found myself asking a more important question: Why does our church need to think about this man, Jacob? How would his stories help us be better disciples of Jesus Christ?
I thought about the people who come to see me at the church. They tell me of marriages that are a terrible disappointment. Some have endured cruel blows of ill health. For others it is joblessness, no matter how hard they have tried to find work. Sometimes the problem is a job that is sucking the very life out of them. There are kids who break parents' hearts. Loves that are lost. Tedious seasons of ...
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Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He is the author of Feels Like Home: Reflections on the Care of Souls and Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers), as well as being a frequent contributor to Preaching Today and CT Pastors. To learn more about his Pastors' Gatherings visit www.leeeclov.com.