Was thinking of offering to God my ability to work with MS Visio to come up with charts. Which is a skill of an IT Project Proposal Writer and a Ex Project Manager.
Initially this started out as an innocent assignment to prove to a friend that Joseph did not turn from a slave to the Prime minister of Egypt over night… But slowly, as I was charting it out.. the chart had more and more items added then I realised that its possible to guess the age of Isaac since Isaac was 60 years old before Jacob was born.. I remembered vaguely that it is possible to make an educated guess of Jacobs age when he fled from Canaan to his uncle Laban.
So I started to work back wards based on the fact that Israel went to Egypt at the age of 130 and he died at 147.
If we add 60 years to it, Isaac would have been 190 year old (he died at 180)
Give an estimate of 10 years (7 years of abundance and 3 years of famine before Jacobs food ran out)
We know that Joseph was made the prime minister at the age of 30, and he was sold off to Egypt at the age of 17.
And when I realised its meaningless to chart out Jacobs life without reference to the life of Isaac, I decided to insert the time line fo the 3 patriarchs side by side.
I wanted to insert Abraham’s life, but I feel that the chart will be too wordy and messy if I inserted Abraham’s life timechart is included.
Gradually my curiosity got the better of me and I charted out this entire chart. Then I was thinking.. rather than just presenting the chart a few people, I might as well post it up my blog at the same time.
One of the interesting fact I learnt was that, we tend to imagine Jacob as a scheming young boy when he coveted the birthright and the blessing of Esau.. but the actual fact is, Jacob is already approximately 70 years old when he ran away from home.. technically that makes him a scheming old man..
Jacob never viewed the Lord God as his God, even though he saw the vision at Bethel.. He simply vowed, “If God protected and takes care of me, till I return to Bethel safely, then I would offer up my tithes and build a altar for God”. Even though God watched over him during his stay at Laban’s place, God was still known as ” God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac”.. God was still not his God, and Jacob was approximately 90 years old when he said that.
When he returned to Canaan he refused to return to Bethel.. and he when he finally got there.. he fulfilled is vow, and build an altar called “El Elohe Israel” (The Lord, God of Israel).. (He should be slightly older than 90 years old by then)…
Bearing in mind he died at 147, we can say that he only walked with God from 90 years old to 147 years old, a total of 57 years, which is not even half of his life… It was no wonder that when he blessed the Pharaoh, and when the Pharaoh asked for his age, he replied
“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.” (Gen 47:9)
Yet Jacob was well aware that, before he loved God, God has protected and taken care of him all the days of his life. Therefore before he made this beautiful declaration about God while he blessed the sons of Joseph prior to his death.
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from all harm.
May He bless these boys…” (Gen 48:15-16)
And he died, worshiping God, holding on to his staff till his last breath.
Sometimes when I looked back at my life and wonder, if I can ever recount the number of times God has watched over and protected me in my life. I guess indeed everyone years have been few and difficult. I know that God is watching over me and I know for sure that this God who had been my shepherd all my life, and the Angel who has delivered me from all harm.
May we all learn to count the blessings that God has given us, and hold on to our faith till the end of our lives.