In Genesis 48, Jacob is a very old man–147 years old, to be exact (47:28). He was ill (48:1), and he knew that the time was drawing near that he must die (47:29). In Genesis 48:15, this old man makes a remarkable statement as he is blessing the sons of Joseph.
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
__ the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day…”
That’s a profound reality worth meditating upon today: the almighty Creator of the universe is willing to be the perfectly compassionate, gracious, protective shepherd of my life. If you know Jacob’s story, you know that at times he had been a self-seeking, manipulative, stubborn “sheep,” living up to the literal meaning of his name (He cheats) on more than one occasion.
And yet, the God of his fathers was willing to rescue, cleanse, and provide for him. It took Jacob longer than some to realize that fact. Running, wrestling, fearful confrontations, and dark nights of the soul were hurdles that had to be cleared. But when Jacob was willing to yield, submit, and embrace God as his God (33:20), he came to realize that the perfect shepherd had been there all along.
Not one of us knows exactly when our time on this earth will end. What we can know is that the gracious shepherd hasn’t given up on us. Though we have wandered far from his perfect will for our lives, he is willing to rescue. Though we have wallowed in the mud and muck of selfish stubbornness, he is willing to cleanse. Though we bear the self-inflicted scrapes and scars of our own foolishness, the perfect shepherd is willing to heal and restore.
“The God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day.” I want to be able to confidently say those words at the end of my own time on this earth. Today is a good day to remind myself that it’s possible, but only if I am willing to yield, submit, and embrace God as my God.