“So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, ‘My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.’ Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, ‘How many are the days of the years of your life?’ And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 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 sojourning.’ And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh.” Genesis 47:1,7-10
“We are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.” 1 Chronicles 29:15
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13
The patriarch Jacob, third generation nomad in Canaan, had borne 12 sons who would lead the tribes of the nation Israel. When he traveled during a famine to Egypt, and Pharaoh asked his age, he described his years as a sojourning… a wandering, a temporary stay without settling on the land of earth. The measure of his days was one of faith that they would last forever. His was a heavenly home, and every day here was a step toward that place of eternal promise.
What is the measure of a life? It can be counted in the steps we walk in faith, the days we live by faith, the graces we extend and the love we share because of the saving faith we have received from God. Our living here is a sojourning, a series of temporary stops to sweeten relationships, provide meaningful industry, serve the needy, nourish the hungry with truth that satisfies. We are led and fed so we can lead and feed, making a difference for life now and life to come.
As the Lord Jesus both leads and follows, hemming me in behind and before with His powerful presence, what am I doing and giving for His sake? How is my faith in forever evidenced in the here and now of His kingdom? How well does the joy set before me inspire present joy within and spilling over? (Psalm 139:5; Hebrews 12:3)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.” Psalm 23:1,3,6
My Shepherd, as I sojourn with You here on earth, may I never forget I am merely a guest, preparing to dwell in Your house forever. Teach me here the manners of heaven, and may I so live them out that those I encounter come to greet Your promises with my same certain hope. (Psalm 39:12)