There have been times during this pandemic when I’ve wondered what I’m doing. Family, friends and church members are practitioners & leaders in the NHS and Schools, heroically and self-sacrificially keeping the country afloat. Meanwhile the church building is closed, except for foodbank storage and distribution and some small support group activities and I’m preaching, blogging & podcasting from the caravan.
It’s great to see the way church members are supporting one another and caring for their neighbours & it’s lovely to see 100 or so still faithfully turning up for the Sunday Zoom. I’m also aware that the civil servants, community volunteers, scientists and donors who attend groups and services at churches like ours rely on church for the spiritual strength to do what they do. But there have still been days when I’ve been niggled by the feeling that I am not contributing enough to putting an end to this pandemic.
Which is why I was relieved to read in Genesis 47:7 recently that Jacob blessed Pharaoh. For all his importance as a patriarch of the Jewish and Christian faiths, Jacob was a nobody from nowhere. A consumer of emergency aid with a dysfunctional family and some serious moral skeletons in his closet. Jacob comes to Egypt and blesses the king of the Southern superpower. Probably the most powerful man on earth at the time. Unlike his blessings on his children and grandchildren, the words of Jacob’s blessing on Pharaoh are not recorded. Perhaps some words about God’s favour and forgiveness. Perhaps some inkling of God’s future for Egypt. Perhaps an affirmation of Pharaohs’ part in the fulfilment of the promises of God to Jacob’s ancestors. All translated by Joseph or some other court official from Jacob’s obscure semitic dialect into the civilised language of court. This would, of course, all be hot air to Pharaoh if it hadn’t been for the God-inspired prescience of Jacob’s favourite son. God led Joseph to save Pharaoh and resettle Jacob in Egypt. Jacob reminded Pharaoh that Joseph’s leadership was God’s promise in fulfilment.
Maybe I’m just here to speak God’s blessing to you. To remind you of his promises, his presence and his forgiveness, his future. If like Pharaoh you have encountered God’s people from our church or any other church serving God in their various spheres of life, you will already know that this is not just hot air. It is life-changing truth. Either way, you should know that God loves you. That he has good plans and purposes for you and that his friendship and forgiveness are available to you. Whether you are nobody from nowhere or whether you are the king of the world, may you know God’s blessing at this time.