Genesis 47:31b …and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
Confession: sometimes my body hurts for no reason whatsoever. I’m 39 years old – not sure how that crept up on me. My kids think I’m old. I think I’m young, and by most accounts I am. But some days I wake up and regardless of what my mind thinks, my body is pretty sure it is old. My shoulder hurts, my knee hurts, my back hurts. As my father-in-law says, “parts hurt.” My wife inquires as to what I did to strain these aching parts. “I slept” is my only logical explanation. Pretty pathetic, don’t you think?
I’ve got nothing on Israel, however. The guy was 147 years old when he died. His eyesight probably wasn’t all that good and most definitely, “parts hurt.” And as I read Genesis 47, there’s something remarkable that takes place with this 147 year old man. It’s a simple thing, so simple you might even miss it. But it’s also profound, so you can’t pass it up. It comes on the heels of a conversation with his son, Joseph. His heart is full like his life was. So he stood there leaning against his staff. Held up by a stick, he worshiped. There’s no lying around, no moping, no whining, no mention of aching body parts. Just an old man held up by a staff… worshiping.
Do we worship when our bodies are sore and our flesh is weak? Do we lay down, check out, and give up? Or do we stand in the strength that we have, hold ourselves up by a stick if necessary, and worship? There’s a story in Judges about a guy named Gideon. He was weak and afraid. But the angel of the Lord told him, “go in the strength that you have.” I can just see Israel on this day worshiping in the strength that he had. So like Israel, we have a choice to make. Will we worship in the strength that we have? Will we grab a stick if we need to and hold ourselves up, just so we can declare the greatness of God? I hope so. For that’s the kind of person I want to be.
*What inspires you about a 147 year old man worshiping?