Comfort and Encouragement
"By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff."††††††† (Hebrews 11:21)
Had I been given the task of choosing an example of faith to hold before us, by which to comfort and encourage Godís saints in this world, I would never have chosen Jacob; but God did; and I am thankful. The fact that Jacobís faith is held before us by the Spirit of God as an example of faith in Christ is a very great source of comfort and encouragement to me
You see Jacob was a man very much like me. He was a believer, but often very unbelieving. He was a righteous man, but often did things totally contrary to his true character. He was a man who loved God, but often appeared to love himself more than anything. Jacob was a faithful, faithful man, but often appeared unfaithful. He was a strong pillar of Godís church, but often seemed to be as fickle as the wind. He was a saint, robed in the righteousness of Christ, but often did that which was horribly sinful.
Perhaps you are thinking, ďHow do those facts comfort and encourage you?Ē Ė Jacob is with Christ in glory! As he left this world, the Holy Spirit tells us he left here worshipping God.
Jacob is with Christ in glory because God chose him. He is seated with Christ in heaven because Christ redeemed him. He is with Christ because God the Holy Spirit called him. Jacob entered heavenly glory by grace alone. The Lord God kept him by his grace, giving him faith to the end, enabling that poor sinner to trust Christ until he at last drew his last breath and obtained that salvation which his brother Esau despised.
This is my prayer: -- O Lord, my God, let me die like Jacob. Give me grace to die like this, looking to Christ. Nothing will give us peace in the hour of death like a clear, firm view of Christ, the Angel of the Covenant, and Godís covenant grace in him. If we would leave a rich heritage for those who follow us, let us leave with them the gospel of Godís free grace in Christ. When we come to death let us rejoice in God our Savior and leave here worshipping God, leaning upon our Staff Ė Christ CRUCIFIED!
Why do we mourn departing friends, or shake at deathís alarms?
Tis but the voice that Jesus sends, to call them to His arms.
Are not we tending upward too, as fast as time can move?
Nor should we wish our hours more slow, to keep us from our love.
The graves of all the saints He blest, and softened every bed;
Where should the dying members rest, but with their dying Head?
Thence He arose, ascending high, and showed our feet the way;
Up to the Lord our flesh shall fly, at the great rising day.