A look back

Genesis 47:9 “And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “. . . Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life.”

Genesis 48:15-16 “God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil.”

In the verses above we have two accounts that Jacob gives of his life.  In the first he recounts that his life has been hard.  He mentions that evil has followed him throughout his life.  Perhaps he was thinking about his conflicts with Esau, or with Laban.  Perhaps his thoughts were on what he had endured in thinking that his favorite son, Joseph, had died.  Maybe he was thinking about the bitterness of the death of his beloved wife Rachel.  Or maybe his thoughts were on the famine that his family had recently endured up to the time they were rescued by the provisions in Egypt.

But then in the words of blessing on Joseph and Joseph’s two sons Manasseh and Ephraim at the very end of his life, he looks back and has a different view of his life. Now he realizes that throughout all the hardships of his life, God had truly been with him just as He had promised (Genesis 31:3). Now he sees what he couldn’t see at the time. Rather than a cursed life filled with trials, his had been a blessed life, and God had surely been with him all the way. 

That’s surely the way it will be for every Christian in the end.   Now we see through a glass darkly.  Now we know in part (1 Corinthians 13:12). But someday we will see it all clearly and it will all make sense to us like it does to our Good Shepherd right now.  We will see that God had never left us nor forsaken us, no matter how it may have seemed at the time. And that’s why we endure.  We know, not because of how it looks or feels but because of what God has said, that “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).”  We believe that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17).”  In all of this “we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).”  Like Joshua, those who are faithful to the end, come what may, will surely find that “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass (Joshua 21:45).”  Like Job, who endured unbelievable suffering in his life, in the end we know that “the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning (Job 42:12).” 

Because of the Truth of God that He’s given us in His Word, the believer can always “rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:2-5).”  May God continually help us to have this perspective, come what may, and no matter how it may appear to us in this brief moment of time.

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