Daily Devotional

When I Rest with My Fathers

by Simon Whitton

One of my favourite passages in 'The Lord of the Rings' is in the third book, during the great battle of Pelennor fields.  King Thoden is dying on the battlefield, the battle is not yet over, but he has played his part and fulfilled his duty with courage.  He says,

'My body is broken. I go to my fathers.
And even in their mighty company I shall not now be ashamed.
I felled the black serpent. A grim morn, and a glad day, and a golden sunset!'

The apostle Paul understood the importance of going to be with our fathers without shame.   This passage comes from the last chapter of the apostle Paul's final letter:

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV)

Paul gives us some insight into what he considered important about his life and approaching death.  He talks of a life that was an offering to God, poured out and used up for Him.  Paul did not shrink from the many trials of life, but had the courage to enter into the battle.  He persevered and kept the faith. As he drew near to his departure, it was with optimism, and even longing.

Let's look at the end of Jacob's life.

7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh,
8 Pharaoh asked him, "How old are you?"
9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers."
29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, "If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt,
30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.""I will do as you say," he said.
31"Swear to me," he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
Genesis 47:7-9, 29-31 (NIV)

Jacob also had a difficult life, but when the time drew near for him to die, his thoughts turned to his fathers who had gone on before him.  Jacob, like Paul, had much to be ashamed of from his earlier years; but they both finished well, and could look forward to when they rested with their fathers.

The years of our pilgrimage are few. With the days we have remaining, let's be poured out like an offering. Whatever our station in life, let's fulfill our calling and our duty to the King.  Fight the good fight, persevere and keep the faith.  Then as we draw near to those who have gone before us, we will have confidence that we can stand before the Lord, the righteous Judge, without shame.

Spend some time in prayer...

[1] Pg.143, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, J.R.R.Tolkien, 1965, Random House

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