The Discipline of Life
Genesis 47:9
And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years…

Few and evil, yet 130 years; and how many blessings temporal and spiritual had been received during their course. We need not suppose him unthankful. But blessings do not of themselves make a man happy. Some worm may be at the root. And in Jacob's case early faults cast a shadow over his whole life. The remembrance of early deceit, his natural shrinking from danger, his family cares, his mourning for Rachel (Genesis 48:7) and for Joseph, gave a tinge of melancholy not entirely to be taken away even by receiving his son as it were from the dead. The retrospect of his life seemed that of a suffering man.

I. ABIDING SORROW IS THE FRUIT OF EARLY FAULTS, THOUGH REPENTED OF (1 Corinthians 15:9). It does not necessarily imply separation from God, or doubt of personal salvation. If "a godly sorrow," it works repentance, i.e. a more complete turning to God. But just as early neglect of the laws affecting bodily health produces a lasting effect, however carefully these laws may be attended to in after years, so neglect of God's moral and spiritual laws produces sorrow, varying in kind, and in the channel by which it comes, but bearing witness to the truth of God's unceasing watchfulness.

II. THE DISCIPLINE OF LIFE IS NOT IN ANGER, BUT FOR OUR PURIFICATION. Thus suffering may be a blessing. But for sorrow Jacob might have sunk into taking his ease. His besetting danger was worldly carefulness (Genesis 30:41). So sorrow, from outward circumstances or from inward reflection, often brings us nearer God. It teaches the vanity of earth that we may realize the blessedness of the inheritance above; that frail and weary we may cling more closely to the promises of the rest which remaineth (Hebrews 4:9).

III. THIS LIFE IS INTENDED TO BE A PILGRIMAGE, NOT A REST. Its blessedness consists not in present enjoyment, but in preparation for the rest to come (Luke 12:20, 21). We are reminded that there is a goal to be reached, a prize to be won (1 Corinthians 9:24; 1 Peter 1:3-9), and that the time is short, that we may put forth all our efforts (Ecclesiastes 9:10) to overcome Besetting faults and snares of worldliness. A pilgrim (Hebrews 11:14) is seeking a country not yet reached. The remembrance of this keeps the life Godward. True faith will work patience and activity; true hope will work cheerfulness under hindrances, and, if need be, under sufferings. And the love of Christ (John 14:2, 3), and the consciousness that we are his, will constrain us "to walk even as he walked." For what are you striving? to lade yourself with thick clay? To gain honor, renown, admiration, bodily enjoyment? or as a pilgrim (Numbers 10:29) walking in Christ's way, and doing Christ's work? - M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

WEB: Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred 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."

The Days of Our Pilgrimage
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