The time had come––time for him to go. The old man had been looking forward to it.
- He wanted to get rid of the way of the human frailties that were holding him back.
- He wanted to rise above those stumbling blocks, which were keeping him earthbound.
- He wanted to walk through the door of eternity
But He had one more task to do. The job was not yet complete, and so he waited while they assembled around him.
As he lay there waiting, his memory went back to back then, and he began to examine the priceless treasures he had stored in his treasure chest of memories.
Yes, he thought as he saw the first memory popped out of his trove. What a precious jewel it was––the stone he had laid his head on. It was the cornerstone of life, and he had slept there without knowing. The revelation came in the form of a dream, and he had seen the stairs and heard the voice. Frightened he had awoken and sat thinking about the dreadfulness of what he had seen. As the acknowledgement of what it was came into his consciousness, he took up the stone he had laid his head on and built an altar, and he dared to make a vow:
If God will be with me,
And will keep me in this way that I go,
And will give me bread to eat,
And raiments to put on,
So that I come again to my father's house in peace,
Then shall the LORD be my God:
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house:
And of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
And he called that place Bethel, the house of God.
The old man smiled. Had he, the liar, the cheater, really dared to bargain with Creator of the universe, the Creator of all mankind? And yet God has taken him up on his dare and had fulfilled his part of the bargain.
A weary sigh escaped his lips, and he turned his head to the left. As he looked toward the wall of the tent he saw another priceless memory, and his tired heart was revived. His eyes saw how he was weighted down with the burden of the upcoming encounter with his brother.
He had spent twenty years away from his homeland
- Working for a man that had tricked him into marrying his older daughter first,
- A man who had made him worked an additional seven years for his youngest daughter,
- A man who had made him worked six more years taking care of his cattle and farming his land.
Twenty long hard years!
He had had
- No contact with his homeland,
- No mail,
- No ideas of what had taken place in the land of his birth.
He had only a Vow.
His wives and his children he had brought to safety. It was here where the most precious of his stones would be gathered. He was alone and isolated. He had no one when the man appeared. He wrestled for his life. The battle was heated, fierce and hard, yet the man continued to wrestle with him. Daybreak was about to appear, the sun was beginning to rise when the man touched the hollow of his thigh and knocked it out of its joint. Yet, he was determined not to let him go.
"Let me go, for the day breaks."
"I will not let you go, except you bless me."
"What is your name?"
"Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince have you power with God and with men and have prevailed."
Jacob asked him, "Tell me I pray, your name."
Wherefore is it that you do ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.
The old man chuckled.
- Peniel was where he discovered it was not all about him.
- At Peniel, he found true repentance.
- It was at Peniel when he discovered the faithfulness of the God he had made a vow to twenty years before.
The day had finally come. Home going and the old man received the strength to sit up, and he sat on the side of his bed. Standing around him in a semi-circle was the nation of Israel, twelve tribes and the old man prophesied. This was the final stone to go into his treasure trove of memories. This stone he would look at when he walked over.
Can't you see him people? Jacob, the Father of a nation fulfilling his last mission before crossing over. He sat up and begin to bless:
The nation, which was chosen by God to be a blessing to anyone who blesses it,
The nation that God chose as his entry into the world forty-two generations, later, The nation that is the cornerstone of salvation for all mankind.
Look at those twelve sons standing before their father as they received their verdicts for their future!
Jacob said, "Gather yourselves together, and hear, you sons of Jacob; and listen unto Israel your father."
Reuben you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed; then defiled it: you went up to my couch.
Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self will they dug down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
Judah, you are he whom your brethren shall praise: your hand shall be in the neck of your enemies; your father's children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, you are gone up: you stooped down, you couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse you up?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea, and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that bites the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
Then Jacob called out loud, "I have waited for your salvation, O LORD."
Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.
Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.
Naptali is a hind let loose: he gives goodly words.
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel). Even by the God of your father who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of the deep that lie under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb; The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey and at night he shall divide the spoil.
Can't you see Jacob sitting on the side of his bed fulfilling his last task on his list of things to do?
Can't you see him, when he finished prophesying?
A smile came on his face. He had finished his commands.
He took one more look at all of them, and then he gathered up his feet and laid them on the bed.
With one deep sigh, he looked towards heaven and yielded his spirit up to the LORD.
O Death, where is your sting?