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Our Borrowed Years

Philosophy View of Years

The earth takes time to make one revolution around the sun.

The 365 days (or 366 days in leap years) starting from the first of January is used for reckoning time in ordinary circumstances.

One's age or time of life.

Biblical View of Years

But if he cannot restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that he bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee, it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.

Leviticus 25: 28 KJV

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past and as a watch in the night.

Psalm 90: 4 KJV

The orbital period of a planetary body is one year or annum; during a year, the seasons change, bringing variations in the weather and the length of daylight, as well as changes in flora and soil fertility. The phrase can also refer to any extended timeframe or cycle, including the Great Year.

In Old Testament times, long life was considered a sign of God’s favor and was linked, very definitely, to obedience. God spoke to Solomon at the beginning of his reign, promising that if he followed him and obeyed his commands as his father David did, he would give him a long life.

And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David, your father, did, I will give you a long life.

1st Kings 3:14 NIV

The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Proverbs 10:27 NIV

According to the book of Genesis 47:8, When Pharaoh met Jacob, his only recorded question was how old are you?

Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?” Genesis 47:8 NIV

Pharaoh’s query may have been prompted by appropriate awe in the presence of such an aged man. The Egyptians had minimal life expectancy and connected longevity with “the blessing of the gods.” Jacob answered Pharaoh’s question saying that he was not nearly as old as many of his ancestors.

Jacob knew that, in the end, it was not a question of how many years God gave us but of how we lived them. A long life may not necessarily mean a good or happy life, even if we enjoy God's favor. It meant a hard life for Jacob, but he did not allow his later years to be bitter.

When Jacob was 130 years old, he blessed Pharaoh. Seventeen years later, as he lay dying, Jacob gathered his twelve sons around him and blessed them (although some of his blessings got mixed reviews because he gave appropriate blessings to each son depending on how he had lived. He blessed Joseph’s children and asked the Lord to bless them.

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

Genesis 49:28 NIV

the Angel who has delivered me from all harm, may he bless these boys.

May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase significantly on the earth.”

Genesis 48:16 NIV

The point is that Jacob went to heaven, blessing everyone in sight. His old age was crowned with blessing and worship. Jacob bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. Jacob ended his days blessing God! All felt the impact of Jacob’s long Ministry, from Pharaoh to Joseph’s young sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob used his borrowed years for God as a blessing to those around him.

As children of the most high God, let us think or ask ourselves these questions.

  • So how do you and I live our lives, whatever the years bring?

  • Do we seek to live them, as Jacob did, growing our souls upward towards the light in the fertile soil of adversity?

  • Do we strive to be obedient, enriching other people's lives?



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