To Die Well

By faith Jacob, when he was dying blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.  Hebrews 11:21

Once strong masculine hands are now twisted around his staff unable to loosen its grip.

Unable or unwilling?

As long as Jacob had breath and his heart still beat, he would grasp that staff and worship His God.

As a young man Jacob fled his home with only his staff.  His staff was in his hand when he wooed his beloved Rachel.  I imagine they carved their initials deep into its bark to symbolize their undying love.

I wonder how many times Jacob bashed his staff against the boulders of afflictions hurled at him from Laben or pounded the earth over his frustrations at the injustice of Leah.

That staff staved off danger from the beasts that threatened his family and his flocks.  It supported little hands as his children and then grandchildren wobbled to walk.

After an all-night angelic wrestling match, I wonder how much that staff bent to hold his limped weight for the rest of his steps on this earth?

Somehow I suspect that after his beloved Rachel died, that staff shortened in stature as Jacob drug it along side his broken-hearted body.

I imagine the notches marking the growth of his blessed Joseph covered by hideous indentions as he bit hard into that wood in hopeless attempts to silence his sorrows when Joseph was lost to him.

That staff told his life.  That staff was a symbol of the faithfulness of God.

In Genesis 32:9-12  we hear Jacob pray, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant,  I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become….

Now at the end of his life, his eyes beheld a resurrected Joseph.  His feeble gnarly hands blessed his descendants.  His grasped tightened as he replayed every chip, notch and bend of his life engrained in his staff.

Absent from the stage were choirs, instrumentalists, priests, or Bibles.  In this scene, there is a man grasping as tight to his cherished staff as his dying body grasped his adoring heart.

One other was there.  His God.

Worship is the response of an adoring heart to the magnificence of God.  In the highest sense of the word, it is the occupation of the created with the Creator Himself.  It is the pure joy of magnifying the One whose name is above every other name.  Dr. Henry Blackaby

Jacob worshiped because his God was there with Him in every memory of his past and in every promise of his future.  He could worship for he had the assurance of the mighty hand of God holding him tight.  His staff was proof God had never left him or forsaken him.

What in your life is equivalent to Jacob’s staff?  What bears the bends of bruises of your life?  What reminds you of His faithfulness through the years?

For me it is my Bible.  I bought it over 20 years ago, the day after God revived my heart.  He took an arrogant selfish heart and created in it an undying passion for Him and His holiness.  Through the years, I have recorded personal messages in the margins, crinkled the pages with my tears, and wore the book ragged until it nearly falls apart in my hands.

But every time I open it and read, God is there, and I worship.

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5 responses

  1. I appreciate your careful look at the tangible mundanes in the sinner-saints’ struggles. Elyse also spoke at a women’s retreat at my church about 10 years ago in CA. I agree absolutely with the call to revisit afresh the Mt of Olives, Golgotha… The Old Story must stay new in our heart, right?

    I imagine you’ll understand, spirit to spirit:

    http://aholisticjourney.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/faith-and-suffering/

    I wish you continued blessings in the ministry!

    1. Blessings to you! I’ll spend time on your blog. Thanks for the link.

  2. I have always been intrigued by this verse in Hebrews where Jacob worshiped while leaning on his staff. I have written a blog post on it and would like to use your picture of the old man’s hands holding the staff. Would you mind and how should I give credit?

    http://www.versesfrommama.blogspot.com

    1. Sandra, I’m so sorry. I searched free stock photos, Google, and Pinterest for images and I failed to post the origin of this photo. I don’t care if you use it but I’m not the originator.

      1. Thanks, Sheila. Keep up the good work.

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