THE JACOB WHO KEPT HIS STANDING
He came to Egypt, saw Joseph, and settled in the land of Goshen. Then Joseph presented him unto Pharaoh. Genesis 47:7 says, "And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh." What a beautiful picture! Although Jacob was the father of the governor, humanly speaking, he was still a little lower than Pharaoh. Jacob was also a man fleeing from famine, a refugee. He came to the land of Pharaoh to look to Pharaoh for his food and his living. How much he needed to rely on Pharaoh! If this had been the former Jacob, what would he have done upon meeting Pharaoh? When he met his own brother, he humbly addressed him as "my lord" and referred to himself as "your servant." When he came to the king of Egypt, should he not have been even more flattering to Pharaoh? But he was totally different. Upon entering, he blessed Pharaoh. Hebrews 7:7 says, "But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater." Jacob did not have a sense that he was a refugee, a man fleeing from famine. He was not affected by Pharaoh’s high and great position. Although Egypt was the strongest country at that time and Pharaoh was the king of this great country, as well as Jacob’s benefactor, Jacob did not lose his standing in the presence of Pharaoh. Although to the world, Pharaoh’s position was high, Jacob knew that there was nothing lofty about it spiritually. Therefore, Jacob could bless Pharaoh. Jacob kept his spiritual standing. "And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a 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" (Gen. 47:8-9). Jacob spoke with much feeling: "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." He knew his own condition. He did not feel that he was great and capable at all. "And Jacob blessed Pharaoh" (v. 10). Before he left he blessed Pharaoh again. When we read this we can only say that Jacob was a lovable person.
By nature, Jacob was an emulous, selfish, and covetous person. Now in Egypt, having blessed Pharaoh and having the governor as his son, he had a good opportunity to gain recognition from Pharaoh and his son. But he did not do this. Just as the aged Jacob retreated to the background in the land of Canaan, he stepped back in Egypt. During those years, Jacob receded to the background in a simple way. If he had been the former Jacob, we do not know what he would have done with such a good opportunity. Previously, he looked for ways even when he had no way. When he met the miserly Laban, he could still find ways to squeeze something out of him. However, those days were gone. Jacob was not Jacob any longer. He had become Israel.
We must read the history of Jacob in his later years in the light of his condition in his early years. In the early years he was busy and calculating. But in his later years he did not speak much, and he was not active. He was the Israel who had receded to the background. This was the work of God. Many times, God’s greatest work consists of stopping us from our own activity, speaking, and proposals. God had completed His work in Jacob. Therefore, we now find Jacob saying nothing, doing nothing, and being stripped of everything.
(The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Chapter 11, by Watchman Nee)