And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘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.’Genesis 47:9 NIVUK
It’s interesting to note that when Pharaoh asks Jacob his age, he doesn’t just use the word years, he doesn’t just say I am this old, he uses the phrase Pilgrimage.
It is a reminder that in all the years of our lives, we are living out a journey. Walking a path from, with and to God; a pilgrimage that lasts throughout our life! Year by year, day by day, and minute by minute.
It can also serve to remind us that when we complain and grumble about our woes and strife, our “years have been few and difficult”, we are not alone. People everywhere struggle; life is a struggle.
What makes a difference is whether we approach life holding on to the hand of God, as we would, our father, or mother, as a child. Place our trust in Jesus, give Him our prayers, and provide Him with our attention, and He will reward faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed, with peace in our hearts.
Jacob also recognises that his pilgrimage is not equivalent to the journey of his ancestors. Do we believe he is referring to terms of lifespan (his years upon this Earth), or spiritual effort, or depth of trust in God, or strength and resilience of spirit? Inevitably Jacob suffered from the belief that Joseph was dead. Surely he rejoiced greatly when he discovered he was still alive! Alive, even though Jacob could not see or know of the truth of the matter until he eventually saw with his own eyes. Anyone see a similarity here?
Jesus died for our salvation, and He rose again in victory over sin. He triumphed over evil for all of us! Surely that is worth remembering, to spare some of our time, every day, to ensure we are continually taking one more step upon our pilgrimage. Hand in hand with Jesus, treading in His footsteps and walking in step with God. Overflowing with the Holy Spirit, to not keep it to ourselves but to share it freely, with anyone who has it not, freely, for everyone who needs light in their lives, freely, for everyone we come across on our pilgrimage, our journey with Christ.
Spend some time thinking about your pilgrimage, realise that it’s already begun, and look forward with gladness in your hearts because the glory of God surrounds us, even when we see it not.