“And Joseph said to his brethren, ‘I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’” (Genesis 50:24-25).
When you die how much thought have you given to what is done with your body? If you plan to be buried, have you already picked out your burial plots as to wear your remains are to be laid?
Joseph had lived a faithful life in service to God. He had suffered much during his life such as being sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37:28) and being wrongfully imprisoned regarding something he had not done (Genesis 39:20). However, in the midst of his suffering he remained faithful to God. God blessed Joseph by giving him favor amongst those whom he found himself (Genesis 39:2, 4, 21). In fact, God would use Joseph to save Israel from the coming famine by working in Joseph’s life so Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, would promote him to be in charge of preparing for and administering food during a great famine (Genesis 41:39-57). During the famine, Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt in search of food and Joseph provides it for them along with revealing himself to them (Genesis 45:3-8). He invites them, along with their father Jacob, to come and live in Egypt (Genesis 45:9-15). His brothers go back, get their father, and come back to Egypt and they experience a wonderful family reunion (Genesis 46:26-30). Joseph had certainly lived a full life in which he walked both in the valley of sorrows and on the mountaintops of great joys!
When Joseph was in the midst of all the suffering he experienced, what had enabled him to hold on and not give up? As he found himself sold in slavery by his own brothers or in the prison dungeon for a crime he did not commit, why did he not just “throw in the towel” or even start blaming God for allowing these things to happen to him? It was his hope in God. He clung to his hope that God would sustain him through these terrible trials and provide for him a better future. What was his hope?
Joseph’s hope was that God would give His people Israel the Promised Land of Canaan and a Savior to save the world. This hope was based on promises God had made to Joseph’s great grandfather Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:4-5, 13-16; 22:15-18), his grandfather Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5), and his own father Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). Joseph’s belief in these promises of God is evident from the instructions he gives regarding what is to be done with his bones when he dies. Along with his father Jacob (cf. Genesis 47:29-30), as the opening verses above indicate, he did not want his bones left in Egypt. He wanted them to be buried in the Promised Land of Canaan (Genesis 50:24-25). Even as Joseph lay dying, his hope in God’s fulfilling His promises sustained him!
As I go through the ups and downs of life do I cling to the promises God has made to me regarding my future? As Christians, through the blood of Christ, God has saved us from our sins (Matthew 26:28). We also have hope that our bones will not be left here on earth, but will be resurrected from the grave (John 11:25-26). Today, I will cling to God’s promises and allow them to sustain me!
“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil (Hebrews 6:17-19).