"SHINETH MORE AND MORE UNTO THE PERFECT DAY"
Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen years. His days on earth were coming to an end. During the time he lived in the land of Goshen, not much happened to him; he just lived a simple life. However, he did not become rusty during those seventeen years; he was progressing all the time. Day by day he shone brighter and brighter. Indeed he shone more and more unto the perfect day. His death marked the time of the zenith of his shining. We pray that God would give us an ending similar to his.
Genesis 47:28-30 says, "And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was a hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said."
It is interesting to note that while Jacob was in the land of Egypt, he never told his son what kind of dwelling or living he wanted. But now he said to his son, "I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace." He did not care about eating and clothing in the land of Egypt. He was not bothered by these things. He accepted whatever his son gave him. However, regarding his burial place after his death, he was very particular because this was related to God’s promise, the land of God’s promise, and the kingdom God would establish. Previously, Jacob was a man who only cared for his own profit. However, now he was not concerned about personal comfort, but about the covenant between God and His house, that is, the position which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob occupied in God’s testimony. The former Jacob was a crafty person who upbraided his sons Simeon and Levi. The present Jacob mildly called his son Joseph to come. Previously, when Joseph told Jacob about his dream of the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him, Jacob rebuked him and said to him, "Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?" (Gen. 37:10). Now he called his son and gently, not disapprovingly, said, "If now I have found grace in thy sight..." This man was indeed mature. He said, "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt." He uttered the most important things with the most tender words. He said, "But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace." These words show us that God had constituted a new character in Jacob.
The following words are very precious: "And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head" (v. 31). "Upon the bed’s head" corresponds to "leaning on the top of his staff," which is quoted in the book of Hebrews (11:21). We believe that since the time he became lame he carried a staff. On the one hand, the staff spoke of his lameness. On the other hand, it indicated that he was a sojourner. Now he worshipped God while leaning on the top of his staff. By this he was saying to God, "Everything that You have done with me is the best that could be. Therefore, I worship You."
(The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Chapter 11, by Watchman Nee)