"Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, 'How old are you?' And Jacob said to Pharaoh, 'The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty 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 pilgrimage.' So Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh" (Gen. 47:7-10).
There are some important lessons to be reminded of from this passage.
1. JACOB RECOGNIZED LIFE AS A PILGRIMAGE.
Life is a journey and we are temporary residents here. Men of faith in ages past "confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Heb. 11:13). The apostle Peter once wrote - "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (I Pet. 2:11). This Earth is not man's home. He just passes through this land on his way to his permanent abode (cf. Gen. 49:33; Eccl. 12:5,7). That is why Peter exhorted Christians to abstain from fleshly lusts. There is so much more to life than the physical. One will have an easier time remaining faithful to God if he is reminded every day that this world is not his home!
2. JACOB STATED THAT HIS YEARS HAD BEEN FEW AND EVIL.
Jacob's life, according to his own words, was brief and full of misery. He was 130 years old at that time and died at the age of 147 (cf. Gen. 47:28). Although he lived considerably longer than any of us will live, even at that age he considered his earthly existence to be fleeting. Life passes so quickly. Life is like "a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). If life got away so quickly from those who lived in that relatively simple age, then think how much faster it flees from us who live in this age of technology and non-stop activity!
Dear friends, let us always remember that life is a journey, and a short one at that. Our response to this truth should be to make the most of every day as we keep focused upon our heavenly home, which is the intended final destination of our journey.
There are some other general thoughts on aging that we'll give attention to in our next couple lessons.