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January 23

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‘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.”’ (Genesis 47:9 NKJV).

From: January 23, 2020

WE ARE PILGRIMS HERE

When Pharaoh asked Jacob his age, he responded that the years of his “pilgrimage” was 130 years. A pilgrimage is a journey taken by a pilgrim, who is steadfastly and intentionally traveling towards a sacred destination. That’s how Jacob saw his life. He considered his life a brief and difficult journey on the way to eternity with God. Surely Abraham and Isaac taught him to view life like this. He had seen a vision of a ladder descending down from heaven to earth. He had spent the night wrestling an angel who dislocated his hip and gave him a new name. And finally, his son Joseph, who he had thought dead, he had now seen alive again. Jacob’s journey had taken him to Egypt to meet with Pharaoh. Yet, Egypt did not impress him. He had his eye set on his ultimate destination, where he would be reunited with his forebears in that land where none grow old and never die.
 
I grew up hearing and singing a hymn in a little church in the hills of Virginia. The title of the song was “Wayfaring Stranger,” but the way we knew it was as “Wayfaring Pilgrim.” The lyrics as we sang them went like this: 
“I am a poor, wayfaring pilgrim
A traveling through this world below
There is no sickness, no toil, nor danger
In that bright land to which I go
I’m going there to see my Father
I’m going there no more to roam
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home.”
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, this life is but a pilgrimage. For Christ has prepared for us our true home. Teach us to travel light and not to get entangled in this world. We do not want to get bogged down with temporary things. Help us to set our hearts and minds on things eternal, so that we do not lose our way. Guide us with Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation.” (Genesis 46:3 NLT).

From: January 23, 2019

DO NOT FEAR GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE

The Lord spoke to Jacob in a vision the night after he offered sacrifices in Beersheba on his way to Egypt. Surely old Jacob was concerned about leaving the land promised to his family since his grandfather Abraham had obeyed the Lord and brought the family there. Yet on this night as he left for Egypt to be reunited with his long lost son, Joseph, the Lord encouraged Jacob. God comforted his fear and revealed His purpose for the house of Jacob. God would use Egypt to make a nation of Israel.
 
Four hundred years later, the seventy members of Jacob’s house would leave Egypt as a people numbering over 2 million. This is a conservative estimate considering that the Bible reported “600,000 men” (Ex. 12:37) along with their wives and children and flocks departed Egypt as one people under the leadership of a son of Levi named Moses.
 
Who knows how the Lord will use what we see as trials and difficult circumstances to accomplish His purpose? Yet we can be certain that His plans for us are good.
 
PRAYER: Lord, we surrender our plans to Your plans. We yield to Your purpose for our lives. We want to see what You see, feel what You feel and join You in Your work. Our “yes” is on the table. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“So altogether, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt” (Genesis 46:27 NLT).

From: January 23, 2018

Although there is some apparent discrepancy in how Jacob’s family is numbered (Stephen said there were 75 in his speech in Acts 7:14.), the point is that the Lord took this small group and made of them a nation. As Moses said, “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven” (Deut.10:22). The children of Jacob lived in Egypt 400 years. In the latter years, Joseph was forgotten and the Israelites lived as slaves. Yet, it was this time of travail that bonded them together, so that when the Lord delivered them, they came out a nation.

“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24 NKJV).

From: January 23, 2017

Christ was sent first as Shepherd to the lost sheep of Israel and then as Redeemer for the whole world. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom.15:8). Jesus died on the cross and was raised, so that both believing Jews and Gentiles might be saved. Yet, His earthly ministry was entirely focused in Israel. However, when a Roman centurion or even a Canaanite mother asked for help, Jesus answered them according to their faith. So, the demon-possessed daughter of a Canaanite woman was healed. After Christ’s resurrection, He commissioned His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). The good news was given first to the Jew, but then was to be carried to all the peoples of the world by Christ’s disciples. We are those who are still called to carry out the Great Commission of our Redeemer. As the Father sent the Son, so the Son sends us (John 20:21).
 
Where have you been sent?

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19 ESV)

From: January 23, 2016

Jesus contrasted the concern that the Pharisees had for clean hands with the real concern that they should have had for clean hearts. Water can wash dirty hands, but what will make dirty hearts clean? What will wash away the sin that is rooted in the human heart? Only the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7, Rev. 1:5).

“The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7 NKJV)

From: January 23, 2015

David’s 19th psalm is a theological and poetic masterpiece! He begins with the doctrine of general revelation, that the “heavens declare the glory of God,” proclaiming Him as Creator of all. Next, he describes the doctrine of specific revelation, that God has spoken and given us His law and “testimony,” so that we may know His will. Finally, he closes the psalm with the doctrine of redemption, that God is the only One who can help us with our sin problem. We have a “sure testimony” from our God. He has declared His glories from the heavens and revealed His salvation through His written Word and finally, through His Son, the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship” (Psalm 19:1)

From: January 23, 2014

A psalm of David, one he surely wrote while laying under the stars at night watching over his father’s sheep. Today, our most powerful telescopes are pointed at the heavens. New discoveries are made everyday, pointing to the vastness and variety of the universe. Our scientists know more about the stars than David ever dreamed. But they could learn much from him as well.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14)

From: January 23, 2012

A great prayer to begin every day and every conversation. Lord, guard my words and my thoughts. A prayer especially needed on a tired, dreary Monday morning.

“My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers” (Genesis 47:9)

From: January 23, 2011

Jacob sees life as a pilgrimage, a short journey on the way to eternity. Surely Abraham and Isaac taught him this. Seeing a heavenly ladder, wrestling an angel, and seeing Joseph alive must have convinced him of God’s promise of paradise.